Asia (MNN/ANA) — For the last three decades, Asian Access’ constituency has been pastors.
A2 has focused on emerging leaders, those who teach leaders, and leaders with potential rather than potential leaders. Today, they’ve honed that process and have expanded into 11 countries in Asia.
As different Asian nations began emerging as economic forces, A2 leadership started thinking about broader Gospel impact in the business world. Asian Access board member David Kim says Christian business leaders began asking themselves, “How are we relevant? How do we bring our faith to places like the marketplace where most of us spend our time Monday through Friday?”
Kim is implementing a divine strategy for a critical time. “In the 21st century, there is a movement toward integrating faith and work in a conscious way.”
Then one day, a business leader in Hong Kong heard A2 President Joe Handley explain the Asian Access leadership development model. He was intrigued as Joe talked about bringing together 12 pastors who meet quarterly and move together through a two-year transformational process.
The business leader began to envision how this learning community model could help him rise to another level of leadership where he could purposefully use his business to advance the Kingdom. When Joe finished his presentation, the business leader approached him with these words: “Joe, what you raise money to do for pastors, I would pay you to do for me.”
That was a game-changer. Kim explains, “I think the traditional sense of Church is now being questioned, and how do we bring more relevance to the church in the 21st century? We believe that perhaps an area for us to explore is in the business/professional world.” In terms of producing disciples and disciplers, he began to wonder, ‘Why re-invent the wheel?’ “Take what Asian Access has been able to do for the last 46 years or so, and take that methodology and teaching of leadership development to emerging leaders that would be outside the normal, typical pastoral track–in this case, emerging leaders from the business/professional world.”
A2 will incorporate a holistic curriculum that will be tailored to the business sector. Topics will include theology of work, kingdom leader formation, missional small groups in the workplace, and more. It’s a baby step toward bigger aspirations for training. “We had been testing the waters, praying and meeting with various key emerging leaders in Asia, and we hope to launch a pilot program in the spring of 2015 with two cities in mind: one would be Seoul, and the other would be Hong Kong.”
Some of the questions they will help business leaders answer: “What does it mean to be a gospel-centered CEO? What does it mean to run a gospel-centric organization? What does it mean to have a Christ-like family life? What does it mean to be a discipler?” Simply put, it’s the same vision, but a broader scope.
Really, this is the Asian Century. Kim explains, “We believe that Asia has a specific role and place in the kingdom, given its growing prominence. So I think that the 21st century will definitely be the Century of Asia, and I think there will be much to learn but also much to share from a leadership point of view.”
The need for a vibrant community of servant leaders with vision, character, and competence leading the body of Christ across Asia has never been greater. However, there are some issues they’re expecting to face. First, Kim notes, “A particular challenge is going to be cultural context: what may work in leadership development in the U.S. may not necessarily transfer well to Asia.” That particular problem goes both ways. “What works well from a pastoral leadership development may not necessarily transfer well to the business context.”
Training Christian business men and women in developing nations increases economic and spiritual capital throughout the world. Kim explains this is why prayer support has to undergird the whole endeavor. “Through entrepreneurship and the marketplace, they can be a change agent for both a cultural as well as church renewal in those particular areas.”
It’s training to help leaders recognize and be prepared for the moment in which they are called to exercise their abilities “for such a time as this.”