New Asian Access CEO Joe Handley (left) takes the baton of leadership from predecessor Doug Birdsall (right).
Asia (MNN) ― On October 9 the baton of leadership for Asian Access was passed to new CEO, Joe Handley. Handley becomes the 4th president in the ministry's 40-year history.
Former Asian Access president Doug Birdsall stepped down on September 30, 2007 after 16 years as president to dedicate himself as Executive Chair of the Lausanne Committe for World Evangelization (LCWE), a position he has held since 2004.
Handley says his journey to Asian Access began when a pastor friend asked, "Joe, where can you have the most kingdom influence?" Handley responded, "That's really a God question."
But that question stayed the back of his mind for months. A few months later, another friend said, "I have a theology of ‘uncomfortable.' You and I live in fairly comfortable environments, and one of our jobs is to challenge our congregations to walk by faith, and to step out in faith and be willing to be a little uncomfortable for God." This was followed by a message from another pastor on "living by faith."
Then, last fall, evangelist Luis
Bush encouraged him to investigate Asian Access because they were looking for a
new President. Following some investigation into their
mission, and prayer, Handley contacted them.
However, the search committee indicated they were already in the final stages of choosing a candidate. Was it too late? Had he misunderstood the direction God was leading him?
Even as the doubts crept in, the next day, outgoing president Doug Birdsall called Handley. "We're not sure where the Lord is calling us for the future," he said to Handley. "I was praying the other night, and I got this sense that maybe there's a missions pastor that would be good at this job. And the next day, I saw your resume, and that's why I'm calling you."
The fit with Asian Access is "hand in glove" with Handley's passion for raising up a new generation to influence the world for Christ. "They had transitioned in their ministry from various approaches to evangelism, to focusing on leadership development and multiplying churches across Asia. God has wired me and used me in ministry to come alongside of leaders around the world and help facilitate the church-planting movement."
Handley says because the foundation is solid, the way is clear to grow. "The Lord has taken us from Japan and taken us into eight countries across Asia. Our vision is to see a vibrant community of servant leaders with vision, character and competence leading the church across Asia. But our dream is to be in 20."
It's a large undertaking, and one that requires prayer. "It's kind of our dream," says Handley, to respond to the requests already received from believers on other continents, "for people who are interested in coming alongside leaders, doing leadership development, learning how to disciple others, and then multiplying others for the Great Commission."