Here are a few brief, but poignant quotes from Dr. Ajith Fernando's tremendous message:
"A genuine Christian is committed to unity, to teamwork, and to mission."
— Ajith Fernando
"Truth is more important than personal honour. Truth is more important than politics within the Church."
"We are committed to Truth and to God's glory. And we strive for unity."
"One of the principles of a happy marriage is that there are no winners in a battle.
Ajith Fernando: "The Way of Unity" [A2|50th Day 2 Keynote]...
The story of this lady was amazing. She lived just 1.5 kilometers from the ocean (about a mile) and the tsunami took everything. Soon after, the gentlemen standing next to her, started a house fellowship not too long after retiring from work. He was inspired by his church to start another church after he retired from a great career. Did it matter that he is not a pastor? No. Did it matter that he had received no significant theological training? No. Rather, his pastor saw his gifts and invested in him for years. From the Asian Access training, he developed a plan to empower lay leaders to start churches so that they could reach the Japanese people. He knew there was no way you could reach Japan through just the clergy alone. So, he raised up several business leaders to begin starting house churches in his region.
One of the principles in Asian Access is that healthy churches grow. It’s why we spend so much time investing in key leaders’ personal walk with God and their growth in him. Because, when we are deeply embedded with Christ, we are naturally very fruitful. Many of those leaders were on display in Tohoku (Northeast Japan) for a few days at Vision Festa, a gathering of pastors, missionaries and NGO leaders coming together to share God’s vision for Japan. I was deeply touched by them and many pictured in these photos are key partners of Asian Access/Japan. They shared about Strawberry Patch Evangelism. That even small little strawberry plants are quick to reproduce because they shoot stems into the soil nearby and next thing you know you have an entire patch. And, they shared about Pomegranate church planting where a single fruit has hundreds of seeds to spread around and start new fellowships...
The lady sharing in this picture was saved by a bridge in her local fishing village. She was driving back to her home where her husband’s family has led a fishing business for several generations. As she drove onto the bridge, the tsunami swept away most of her friends, their homes, and their cars. The town was devastated and all she could do is sit there and watch her friends get swept away. Her husband, just a few minutes earlier was able to marshal a few people to several boats he owned and fled into the sea before the waves crushed the village. He’s standing in this picture to her right. He was gone for three days at sea and she had no idea where he was or if the tsunami took his life. They were both saved that day… For a purpose! God had a plan for them and their village. Pastor Kishinami, who...
A few weeks ago, I was in a SE Asian country teaching as part of our two-year cohort. It was such a joy spending time with the pastors and seeing how eager they were to learn. One pastor, whom I’ll call NV to protect his identity, quickly came up to me sharing that he had already taken what he learned in the first session a few months prior and was sharing it in several contexts. Here’s what he later shared with me:
“All the lessons of the first session were really significant to me and others whom I reproduced it. My purpose is to contribute for the revival at the very heart of the capital city, so, since 2008, I have 2 trips each year on May and October for pastoral training for all pastors and church workers for churches of 8 denominations, including the government sanctioned church in three large cities (they came from many cities at N region). Last May I trained SHAPE and TIMELINE for over 120 pastors and main workers. They all said that it was so good and they will continue to retrain at their local churches. I plan to retrain the session "the heart of the ministry" next Oct.”
I’ve been inspired by pastors in Japan this past week. 70 or more gathered in Northern Japan for a movement called Vision Festa. It’s a movement of people with a passion for church planting and I’m eager to share their stories… Those will come later though. For now, why is church planting so important? When so many people are down on the local church these days, why would I believe church planting is so important and why are these leaders coalescing around this fresh vision? Missiologist Peter Wagner once said, “Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven.” Pastor Tim Keller picked up on this theme as well. Check out his post on the same subject, Why Church Planting? Everywhere I have gone, I’ve seen these truths displayed...
Joe Handley | My bio
Ever since joining Asian Access as president in 2008, I've been having the time of my life. In this blog, I hope to share some stories that will encourage you to engage with this ministry. At Asian Access, we change the few, who change the many.