“The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” - Matthew 13:31-32
Pastor T from a restricted access and persecuted country recently shared in Japan a concept behind a key principle of Asian Access: Small is Big!
He shared that he learned in bible school and seminary (bachelors degree to doctorate) to have a huge megachurch from schools in India, Korea and America. However, his world was turned upside down when he attended Asian Access leader development process.
Even if all the top pastors in his nation were to have a megachurch, it would be a drop in the bucket of really making a difference in his country. As they did studies, they learned that the average person in their country walks 2 hours one way to attend church every week. Some people walk more than 7 hours one way!
With this, they learned this principle from Tony and Felicity Dale who actually will be teaching in his country next week! This quote is taken from the back cover of their book, The Rabbit and the Elephant: Why Small Is the New Big for Today's Church:
If you put two elephants in a room together and close the door, in three years you may have one baby elephant. But when you put two rabbits together for the same amount of time. . . .
Pastor T, along with all the other participants, realized that their country would be better off having a church every three kilometers in their country so that they would be walking distance from everybody. The size of the church really didn’t matter. Today, Pastor T leads one of the larger churches in his country but he’s more concerned about trying to make disciples and seeing small, simple churches spring up so that the Gospel is accessible to more people.
In a similar fashion, Asian Access ministry operates on this basic premise: Small is Big! One of our council of reference members, Robert Coleman, wrote a classic book on evangelism The Master Plan of Evangelism where he points out that Jesus spent most of his time with the twelve disciples. So, on a similar scale, Asian Access carefully chooses 12-18 pastors, and now business leaders, to go through a 2-3 year dynamic learning process, where they learn in community together.
You see, Jesus’ words in the New Testament, highlighted in the verse above, point out that his kingdom is different: Small is the New Big! All it takes is the faith of a mustard seed and a movement can occur. You can even move mountains! (Luke 17:6)
Likewise, we at Asian Access are small. We focus on choosing the right 12-18 key pastors or leaders and by walking with them together “at the feet of Jesus” for a few years, we see remarkable fruit!
Do you want to move mountains? You might want to think and pray about Jesus counter-cultural, upside-down wisdom: Small is Big!
I’d love to hear your stories about how Jesus wisdom plays out in your life. Do share!
Joe & Silk Handley
- Robert Coleman's classic book on evangelism The Master Plan of Evangelism
- Check out the Dales' new book: The Rabbit and the Elephant: Why Small Is the New Big for Today's Church:
- Here's what Dr. Tony & Felicity Dale have to say about Asian Access...
"Felicity and I have had many trips with Asian Access to help develop pastoral leadership in countries that may be underdeveloped economically, but are hungry for the development of the church. What a privilege these trips have been. Meeting across denominational lines, with leaders from multiple denominations embodies the unity that Jesus prayed for and commanded in John 17. Watching those leaders not only embrace each other, but also embrace ideas that may have been outside of their experience so far, has been humbling and rewarding. The impact of these church movements will be far reaching in the development of these countries and of the body of Christ within these countries."