Joe Handley, president of Asian Access, shares this guest blog post about the generosity of the leaders who had gone before him. He has a wonderful challenge for each of us!
It is not often that successive leaders in one organization work well in collaboration and resourcing. So I find myself blessed to reap the investment from all three of my predecessors at Asian Access. They have laid a rich foundation for the ministry, which is not often seen in ministry and organizational leadership.
Each, in their own way, continues investing in the ministry and in me their successor. It is both inspiring to see and powerful to experience.
Our founder set our course in ideation that was way ahead of it's time and has even become more vogue in ministry the last 10-15 years. He stood on top of a hill overlooking Tokyo and asked a Japanese pastor his vision for the nation. After the pastor shared at length, he apologized and said, "Ken, you are the apostle God sent to Japan. What is your vision for our country?" Ken replied, "My vision is to empower your vision!" That spirit, now much more at the center of mission than it was 40 years ago, carries the ministry of Asian Access to this day. It continues to drive us. We are about developing leaders who multiply churches to unite the church, multiply leaders and congregations and extend the transforming power of the Gospel.
His immediate follower, Steve Hoke, helped shape and form the ministry into an effective organization. He took the entrepreneurial ethos and spirit to new heights by strengthening the systems and structure, so that Asian Access would have an enduring legacy. In addition, Steve continues investing in Asian Access in the same manner that Ken does: by sharing his wisdom and resources. Both men continue to share their vast contacts in ministry and fund development that are essential for a ministry to survive.
Fast forward to my immediate predecessor, Doug Birdsall. Doug had the keen insight and foresight to focus the ministry around that original call "to empower leaders". He discerned God's best for Asian Access in a season of great missional change. Through his able leadership, the mission focused and then was able to expand as that focus became a leading edge factor for ministry across Asia. Like the two before him, Doug shares his connections and resources well.
All three have mentored me over the past three-and-a-half years. They practice the principle of generational generosity Each, in their different ways, continues to build the ministry of Asian Access by encouraging, platforming, and blessing the next generation. They frequently call me to encourage or give sound advice and periodically are available for in-depth discipleship, mentoring or counsel. In addition, all share their wealth of wisdom and networks for the good of the ministry and for the strengthening of my generation.
I pray that I, in turn, will practice what they have done me by investing in the following generations. What a tremendous legacy Asian Access has in these remarkable leaders who continuously sow seeds into the mission long after they have stepped into new kingdom roles.
Who do you need to thank for investing in you? And how you can pay it forward to the next generation? Let me know your thoughts.