The history of Asian Access
Here are some significant past achievements of Asian Access...
Nearly 2,100 workers, primarily college students, participated in this program. Many of them went on to full-time Christian service as pastors and as missionaries, including several who are now in key leadership in organizations in Japan, such as Southern Baptist Mission Society, MTW (Mission to the World), Campus Crusade for Christ, TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission), SEND, American Baptists, etc.
Over 100 Summer Teams (750 people) served in Japan in this program which influenced the short-term team approach to summer missions that churches and schools in North America presently employ. This program is now known as j-Teams.
A leadership development partnership that has trained nearly 300 of Japan's top pastors. Though this group comprises just one percent (1%) of the evangelical ministers in Japan, they pastor over eleven percent (11%) of all the believers in the country. Their congregations account for a significant amount of the church growth that has taken place in Japan. The branch of this ministry formerly known as JCGI Network is now Asian Access/Japan.*
Though the JCGI Network* was a missionary initiative, it has been successfully transitioned into the hands of the Japan leaders. Nationally recognized pastors serve as members of the Board. The National Director, the Country Resource Coordinator, the Regional Deans, and every member of the staff is Japanese. The curriculum has been rewritten in Japanese by Japanese for Japanese.
Asian Access missionaries Mark and Sylvia Ramquist, initiated the work of Song Rise. This was for the purpose of using music as a form of evangelism among the youth culture in Japan. It also existed to train musicians in the local church and to enhance the quality of worship in Japanese congregations.
A major portion of the ministry is now in the hands of Eiji and Shoko Horii, who lead a group called The Japanese Continentals. The ministry is thriving as an indigenous ministry.
Today there are over 100 pastors, missionaries, and Christian workers in Japan who came to Christ through the witness and outreach of Asian Access.
In the early 90s, the Japan Church Growth Institute hosted a series of consultations with leading pastors throughout Japan with Dr. Ralph Neighbour, Jr.. His teaching represented a major paradigm shift for Japanese pastors. The cell church network is now being led by one of the most outstanding graduates of Asian Access' Japan Church Growth Institute. It is a preeminent model for innovative congregations across the country.
Asian Access' career missionary, Fred Cheney, initiated a creative approach to reaching men with the Gospel through the game of golf. Recognizing that most non-Christian men had very little interest in the church or any of the traditional forms of outreach of the Christian faith in Japan, Fred capitalized on their fanaticism for the game of golf. He began bringing Christian professionals who played on the PGA Tour to Japan for clinics, banquets, and for special golf outings. Today the work of Friendship Golf is in the hands of Japanese businessmen and pastors who have formed the Friendship Golf Association.
In 1996 Asian Access initiated a partnership with five visionary pastors and congregations in Yamagata to begin a new experiment in church multiplication. Long considered to be one of the most difficult challenges in Japan, church planting suddenly became easier by networking a group of churches together who would move through the experience of establishing new churches. Surprisingly these five churches were able to successfully establish five daughter churches within a period of just thirty months. A year later, each of the five churches initiated a process of beginning yet another round of church multiplication. Simultaneously, the five new congregations, which had been established, began preparing for reproducing themselves in church plants in their communities.
This church multiplication model has attracted attention across the country from leading pastors as well as from leaders of other mission organizations. Read one pastor's shocking claim about Asian Access' church multiplication strategy after being a part of such a network.
The A2 Leader Development Model has been expanded into ten additional countries, increasing the potential reach of our leader training to more places. Asian Access now operates in ten countries with vision to expand into 20 countries over the next few years.
The A2 Leader Development Model, which is proven effective among pastors of local churches, has been contextualized for the marketplace. In 2015, Asian Access launched its first-ever R&D project for CEOs in Seoul, South Korea. Renowned economist Peter Zhao said,
"This is exactly what Asia needs, an Asian Access for business leaders!"
Asian Access' presence in Japan has paralleled Japan's spectacular emergence and development as a world leader in trade, finance, and technology. The incorporation of Asian Access began in Japan in 1965, the year after Japan had hosted the summer Olympic Games. Ministry was launched in 1967. [top]
During the first fifteen years of the history of Language Institute For Evangelism, the focus was primarily on evangelism, and the staff was made up most exclusively of short-term missionaries who were teaching English conversation. Asian Access was a pioneer in the area of summer ministries. During the 70s and 80s, the ministry of Scrum Dendo (arm-in-arm evangelism) became widely-known at Christian colleges and churches all across the country. About 2,000 students participated in this pioneering summer ministry. A good number of them returned for period of one to three years to serve as year-round English teachers. They were involved in Asian Access' innovative strategy of using English conversation schools as centers for establishing new churches.
This ministry was an extremely fruitful one with thousands of students being exposed to the Gospel and many of them coming to faith in Christ. Today there are over 100 Japanese pastors, missionaries, and Christian workers who came to faith in Christ through the witness and outreach of Asian Access' English conversation centers.
The second distinct phase of Asian Access' was a second fifteen-year period from 1980 to 1995. During these years there was a significant influx of career missionaries. The majority of them had originally served on Asian Access' summer program or as one-to-three-year missionaries.
The name of the mission was changed from Language Institute for Evangelism (L.I.F.E.) to LIFE Ministries. The name change reflected the fact that the Mission was involved in more than its original focus on English teaching. During this time of influx of new staff, the Mission was characterized by an entrepreneurial spirit. Many new ministries were started to serve the more than 500 churches that made up LIFE Ministries' network across the country. The new ministries reflected the interest of the missionaries and also responded to opportunities that existed to serve the church in areas such as music, worship, sports, church planting, and leadership development. It was an exciting time of growth and a fruitful time of ministry.
A third phase in the work of LIFE Ministries began about 1995, when a decision was made to focus in the primary area of church multiplication and leader development. It was determined that this was the most strategic area in which the ministry could possibly be involved. It was also determined that it would most significantly maximize the relationships with more than 500 churches and national leaders that had been developed in the early years of the Mission's history.
A new tagline representing this new focus was adopted: "Starting and strengthening Japanese churches".
In the early 1990s, the 20/20 Vision was articulated as the integrating vision:
To deploy 100 church multiplication teams
With church multiplication as the singular objective of Asian Access, the most strategic means for accomplishing that vision was determined to be the selection, development and resourcing of Japan's most visionary pastors and congregations. To implement this strategy, Asian Access' leadership development program, the Japan Church Growth Institute (and later JCGI Network) was re-designed under complete Japanese leadership to take the results of fourteen years of investment in leaders and make it more widely accessible to pastors across the country. As such, Regional Training Networks were designed to be established in each of ten major regions of Japan. This ministry is now known as Asian Access/Japan and is flourishing under the leadership of a Board made up of national leaders, and this ministry has been led by former director, Rev. Hiroshi Kawasaki and now Takeshi Takazawa.
Asian Access/Japan participants are being selected and trained so that they can then become part of church multiplication networks throughout Japan. That work will be based upon Asian Access' innovative model of church planting networks that have been developed in an area in northern Japan, Yamagata.
In 1996, work was expanded outside of Japan for the first time, as the first pastor training session was launched in Mongolia. This expansion represents the fourth phase in our mission. Eleven other countries have since been added to the work since 1996, with a vision to be established in 20 countries as the Lord opens the doors.
In October 2002, the Board of Directors approved the new name Asian Access. (more about our new name...)
In 2015, Japan Church Growth Institute chose the new name, Asian Access/Japan. This aligned with our other countries that were already using this name (e.g., Asian Access/Cambodia, Asian Access/Mongolia, etc...). [top]
Asian Access designed a new way to recruit missionaries for Japan. go2japan was started in 2008 to leverage the power of the internet to raise awareness of the need for missionaries in Japan and to help find them. See this website here: www.go2japan.org... [top]
Strategic partnership just part of larger, collaborative vision
In 2011, a strategic partnership uniting Asian Access and SIM USA was launched, aiming to send more church-planting missionaries to Japan. By leveraging the strengths of the two mission-sending agencies, our two organizations began maximizing effectiveness toward the goal of planting 1,000 church congregations in Japan by 2020. This has been an award-winning, innovative partnership. Read more about this strategic partnership here... [top]
A2.business launched in 2014. Up until 2014, Asian Access had been on the forefront of leadership development, and our customer had been emerging kingdom leader pastors in Asia. But that was really never our mission. Instead, our mission has been to “identify, develop and release emerging kingdom leaders,” period. And emerging kingdom leaders is a landscape that has a much wider vista than pastors alone. In fact, we've always believed that emerging kingdom leaders in every sector of society are critical to our vision, “a vibrant community of servant leaders with vision, character and competence leading the Church across Asia.”
In 2014, Asian Access entered into the marketplace, taking our focus on missional outcomes that utilizes a transformational process, a vibrant learning community and an integrated curriculum to those who can shape their workplace, their community and their society. Read more about A2.business here... [top]
Insight, Perspective, and Vision from Kingdom Leaders in Asia In Their Own Words
Eastern Voices is a platform whereby leaders from Asia can be heard. They have much to add to the discussion. Leaders from the West can and should learn from leaders in the East.
Asian Access has been exploring invitations to bring its training model to places outside the borders of Asia and outside the boundaries of CHURCH and MARKETPLACE. So stay tuned for more updates here: https://asianaccess.org/blogcentre.