Japan (MNN) — The 1st century church shared everything to accomplish Kingdom growth. Why shouldn't 21st century ministries do the same?
A strategic partnership uniting Asian Access and SIM USA was recently formed with the aim of sending more church-planting missionaries to Japan.
"In this unique season, the needs are phenomenal," explains Asian Access president Joe Handley. "We're seeing response rates to Christ like I've never seen in my lifetime. The need for people to go and help plant churches is significant. Japanese pastors across the country, and particularly in the regions most affected by the tsunami and the nuclear plant disaster, have huge vision to plant churches, and they've asked us for our help."
Openness to the Gospel has increased since a March 2011 tsunami ravaged one of the least-reached areas of Japan, which happens to be one of the least-reached nations with the Gospel in the world.
Plans for the SIM partnership started long before the tsunami hit, though. Asian Access went through a three-year process of examining organizations' DNA, vision, mission and core values.
Handley says Asian Access felt led to form a partnership with another organization partially for economic reasons, hoping to be better Kingdom stewards. But the ministry also needed someone to help them with a big project: "To establish a church planting network that would establish 1,000 churches across Japan."
According to the agreement–which is not a merger, but a way of truly doing mission together–SIM will partner with Asian Access to recruit and send missionaries to Japan to plant churches. Asian Access will still be the key leader on the field and will manage the work and oversee missionary care.
Handley is confident in the decision. "SIM has been around for many years. It's a very stable organization, and they had the economy of scale to come alongside of us and help us do the very things we were looking for."
Asian Access prayerfully decided on a partnership with SIM, and God blessed their timing. People are more open to the Gospel than ever following such devastation in Japan, and now Asian Access is more prepared than ever to share the Truth with them.
Pray for this new partnership to be a catalyst for Kingdom growth in Japan. Pray that the Lord would guide SIM and Asian Access as they steward their resources to come alongside churches and pastors in Japan. Pray also that the financial resources to establish 1,000 churches by 2020 would come available.
If you would like to get involved in the work Asian Access and SIM are doing in Japan, visit go2japan.org.