Asian Access' mission statement is to "identify, develop and release leaders." We consider those three verbs to be core competencies. They are at the heart of what God has called us to do. Each of them is a challenge unto itself. But it is the final one that can be the most emotionally challenging. . .
We've all experienced the emotions of releasing someone we love. I remember the first day my son went to kindergarten. My wife and I cried as we walked back from dropping him off. We had released him for the first time to someone else's care. It was difficult. But we knew it was the right thing for him. Now he is going to be a senior in high school. We are one year away from releasing him again.
Today as Asian Access released our president, Doug Birdsall, to devote 100% of his organizational leadership to Lausanne, I think many of us find this releasing thing difficult. It is so much easier to keep people within than to send them out. As Doug shared with all of us his decision to leave Asian Access, I felt a deep sadness mixed with a deeper joy. Sad that we would lose such a gifted and talented leader--a true friend, but joyful that he is released to a new role in the kingdom which will have a wide ranging effect on world evangelization.
So I find myself reflecting on the last 24 years that I have ministered together with Doug in Asian Access. He picked me up at the airport the first day I traveled to Japan to launch a whole new era of my life. He believed in me enough to ask me to serve next to him when he became president back in June of 1991. I've shed some tears today. But releasing is what we are all about; releasing leaders to unite the church, multiply the church, and transform the world through the power of the gospel. Praise God that he allows us the privilege, even when it is hard to do.
For Immediate Release (06.12.07)
Asian Access President Plans to Step Down in September; Interim President Named.
Douglas Birdsall resigns to focus on Lausanne movement
GLENDORA, CA (A2) June 12, 2007 - Asian Access, an evangelical mission organization announced today that the organization’s third president, Rev. S. Douglas Birdsall, will be stepping down on September 30, 2007.Birdsall, who assumed the position in 1991, is also the Executive International Chair of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE). He cited the need to focus exclusively on Lausanne movement as the primary reason for stepping down as president of Asian Access. However, he will continue on as an Asian Access missionary, seconded to LCWE and will also continue as a member of the Asian Access board of directors.“After much thought and prayer, I realized that I could no longer effectively lead both organizations. I remain committed to the people and the vision of Asian Access. I am grateful for the evidence of God’s provident Hand in using everything I’ve experienced up to this point to prepare me for this new role with Lausanne. I want to give it my all.
by Doug Birdsall, President of Asian Access (1991-2007)...
When I returned from our Asian Access 40th anniversary celebrations in Malaysia two months ago, I drafted a letter to give you a fresh report. However, it was so full of superlatives that I found it to be "over the top" even for a person of my temperament.So, I have taken time to reflect and gain perspective.During these weeks, we have received e-mails from many of the participants from across Asia.We have also enjoyed reading prayer letters from many of our missionaries in Japan and our staff in the U.S. to see how they reported on our 40th Anniversary festivities.