Our Missionaries Have a New Name!
For several years, you’ve become familiar with new ministry streams such as A3.business and Young Professionals. But today, I am excited to announce that our missionaries in Japan have a new descriptive name. They are now calling themselves “Missional Partners”.
In 1967, A3 launched in Japan as a missionary sending organization partnering with local Japanese churches. Our original call was to send North American young people to teach conversational English, partnering with Japanese churches for evangelism and church planting. There have been many ministry innovations in A3, but missionaries are still coming alongside Japanese churches and pastors to partner.
Today, A3 is a global network of leaders, but we always remember our roots. This is a significant A3 incarnational ministry that I want you to know about. And to announce their new name, as the word “missionary” has unfortunately for some begun to take on negative meanings.
Partnering with the Church in Japan to multiply disciples
Robert Adair, A3’s missionary director in Japan, and his team were brainstorming potential names that better reflect their role as cross-cultural workers within the broader A3 movement. The more they talked, the more one name rose to the top of their list.
“The name 'Missional Partners' sums up our ministry stream concisely and understandably. We are a team of cross-cultural workers partnering with the church in Japan and A3 Japan specifically to reach the 99% of Japanese people who do not know Christ. We are partnering with God, through the church in Japan for the sake of the gospel. The name is a natural continuation of ‘My vision is to empower your vision’* as well as Scrum Dendo the old summer program, plus the collaborative and evangelical focus A3 has had in Japan for over 56 years.
Missional Partners comprise the team of global workers collaborating directly with the church (in Japan) for the sake of the gospel. We believe that the Holy Spirit is leading the church in Japan and hope that our skills, gifts, talents, and resources can be used to help pursue the vision God has given the Church in Japan.”
Partnering with SIM International
I am thrilled that this unique missional partnership with SIM-USA in 2011 has now grown to include SIM International. It is possible to send Missional Partners to Japan from any country where SIM has a presence! Missions is from everywhere to everywhere. Our team on the ground in Japan will be more effective and more fully represent the global church as we receive "A3.MPs" from more countries outside of North America. We already have our first A3.MP from East Asia and are hoping to receive our second later this year.
And Robert reports that we have two units approved to come in the next year or so and several others moving through the inquiry process. By the end of July, we will already have ten potential A3.MPs in Japan from four countries on vision trips, exploring their call.
A3 + SIM = go2japan
If you know of anyone interested in serving as a Missional Partner in Japan, please send them to go2japan—a website for potential missionaries to explore Japan.
Join everyone in the A3 community as we celebrate this long-time ministry with a new name of Missional Partners.
With hope for Japan,
Joseph W. Handley, Jr., Ph.D.
- Read about the missional partnership between A3 and SIM
- go2japan: https://go2japan.org
- SIM International: https://sim.org
* My vision is to empower your vision." — Our founder Ken laid the foundation on solid ground with a keen focus on Christ-like leadership and a famous story from our history of asking Pastor Takaichi Murakami his vision for Japan. After Rev. Murakami shared for sometime, he turned to Ken saying, “What’s your vision as the missionary God sent to Japan?” And, Ken quickly added, “My vision is to empower your vision!” That foundation laid the groundwork for the deep seated values of A3: empowering indigenous leaders for the vision God had given them!