Joe Handley of Asian Access says there’s a common thread: “In the midst of that situation, everyone is looking for leadership.”
Earlier this month, The Asia Foundation outlined “highs and lows” Asian nations faced in 2015, as well as expected challenges:
- National security in Afghanistan and Pakistan
- Political and governmental changes/transitions in Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam
- Economic changes/downturn in Afghanistan, China, India, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, and Mongolia
In Asia and throughout the world, Handley says current events can mostly be described by a familiar business and military acronym: VUCA. VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity.
“When we look at the spiritual landscape of what’s happening in Asia today,” Handley notes, “in all the volatility, people are hungry for something that will help them in their lives.”
Growing leadership in Asia
Leadership plays a critical role in calming frayed nerves, both in spiritual circles and other social strata. “Typically, we as people run to those types of leaders that look like King Saul: he looks like a strong leader; he’s someone that would make a ‘game-changing’ difference,” observes Handley.
“And yet, God looks in a completely different direction: He looks for a shepherd boy.”
In biblical times, as well as today, shepherds have little-to-no social significance. But, their skills of humble and gentle leadership are what Asian Access looks to replicate.
The ministry wants to come alongside “some unknown person that can really rise up as a shepherd-type leader, an upside-down kind of leader, a leader that the world might not fully recognize at first, but the kind of person who has a heart after God.”
From Japan in the east to Turkey in the west, from Mongolia in the north to Indonesia in the south, Asian Access equips and empowers leaders great and small to fulfill the Great Commission.
“It’s not just making disciples, but it’s making disciples of all nations. We focus on church planting for pastors, and for CEOs and businessmen to be missional change agents in what they do.”
Seeking shepherd-style leadership
Asian Access is currently working in 11 nations and hopes to expand its reach in 2016.
“We have five countries that are inviting us to come in, and we’re hoping to open two more this year,” Handley shares. “That will only happen with your prayer support, as you come alongside and pray for what God is doing in this volatile region of the world.
“Pray for these shepherd-like leaders, that they can lead the Church in ways that would be healthy, productive, and fruitful.”
If you’d like to help Asian Access train potential leaders, click here. “We’re shooting for those unknown shepherd-type leaders like King David, as opposed to the [King] Saul that most of the world looks for.”
Last but not least, “it costs funds to do this kind of work,” Handley shares. “We need your support to enable and empower [leaders with] these qualities.”