Understanding that at the heart of all that we do as a Region, lies the foundational objective of establishing a spiritual environment wherein Jesus is lifted up as the one after whom lives are modeled, and where God is given the liberty to bring about ongoing purity of heart and holiness revival to our members, churches, and leaders; the Asia-Pacific Region seeks to strategically align all of its activities through the lens of the following priorities:
Making Christlike disciples in the Nations lies at the core of all that we do. It’s our identity, not just a slogan, and it is a lifestyle that should be intentionally practiced by all who call themselves Nazarene.
As we look for the Ancient Ways, we will find Jesus and His methodologies. Consequently, the Region exists to assist pastors and laity alike make Christlike disciples in the nations through training and resourcing based on best-practices, and materials that are practical, applicable and contextually adaptable.
Through an intentional strategy for discipleship built upon small group models, the region’s potential for leadership development and growth will be maximized.
Intentional Leadership Development
The future of the church is largely dependent upon the character and competencies of those who are entrusted with the leadership thereof. It is often stated that everything rises and falls on leadership. For the church to be relevant in today’s world, the Asia-Pacific Region needs its leaders to be in touch with the world in which they live. While our faith is unchanging, the way that we package and communicate that faith into society needs to change.
As a response to this need, a dual emphasis will be placed on the retooling of existing leaders and the identifying and development of emerging leaders, with ongoing training and orientation for those assuming leadership assignments. To assist the districts and local churches, the Region will promote the concept of field wide Leadership Development Initiatives, with specific focus placed on emerging leaders 35 years of age and younger.
Leadership Development (servant type) of all involved in any form of ministry leadership or oversight on the Region, shall become a central consideration to all that we do. Emerging leaders need to be identified and nurtured. Existing leaders need to be given further education and encouraged to mentor and actively integrate emerging leaders. Leadership Development of young emerging leaders (35 years of age and younger), youth and children shall be of priority.
Cohesive Education & Ministerial Preparation
Cohesive Education / Ministerial Preparation involves the establishment of an integrated Nazarene educational system across the Region that facilitates the training and qualification of Nazarene leaders, both clergy and lay. This system, which begins with discipleship in the local church, is to ensure that ministerial preparation is accessible, applicable, affordable and approved as a course of study leading to ordination for those pursuing a call to full-time ministry. To accomplish this, we must utilize twenty-first-century strategies of outcomes based on educational delivery within the context of new communities of learning.
As part of its objective, ministerial preparation must provide the clergy and laity alike with new tools and training to help them overcome the apparent obstacles of bi-vocationalism, language, distance, and culture. While the tools of the past were good, they need to be reformatted for today. Specifically, pastors need to be equipped and retooled to deal with the possibilities, problems and paradigm shifts encountered in this new era. Such training can take the form of vocational and continuing education through classes, seminars, and workshops.
Understanding that the World Evangelism Fund support of residential educational institutions is not a viable long-term solution, a sustainable educational system that addresses an organic approach to evangelism needs to be developed and constantly updated. Such a reshaped educational approach will require Regional commitment, determination, clear thinking and the inclusion of key stakeholders in developing the solution.
Communication that Connects
A connected church must learn to communicate effectively, in a way that connects the intended message with the intended audience. From a regional perspective, this means that we need to have effective communication within our Regional structure, to our denominational structure, and to those who sacrificially contribute to the Missio Dei. We need to learn to communicate in appropriate ways that connect so that confidence in the mission can be maintained.
To this end, the Region shall provide and maintain an effective communication system that uses contemporary and emerging media to keep all constituents informed of the work in the Region and beyond, along with presenting the opportunities to partner in ministry and in prayer.
Church Multiplication and Expansion
Church planting happens as a result of strategic prayer, planning, and collaboration. The time has come for the reprioritization of strategic expansion into areas of existing districts, nations and fields that are thus far untouched or insignificantly impacted. While entering new nations is always a worthy consideration, momentum commences with small steps in the Jerusalems and Judeas of our people and congregations. From there, the Lord will raise up those called to Samaria and the uttermost ends of the earth.
The Asia-Pacific Region is of immense diversity, and the full impact of the gospel has yet to be made. Church growth statistics demonstrate that the most effective way to evangelize is through the multiplication of churches. Healthy churches should be reproducing churches who in their turn plant churches. If the Region is going to take the Gospel into areas beyond the current reach of the evangelistic effort of the Church, it will be through the establishment of the Church, meaning the establishment of new and creatively structured communities of faith who follow Jesus and who understand their role in taking the Good News to their own in contextually relevant ways.
As an indication of their health, Nazarene churches should constantly be engaged in the objective of planting and nurturing of at least one new missional church per quadrennium as a part of the AP Region’s DNA and as a minimal goal for each local congregation. Emphasis needs to be given to reaching cities with populations in excess of a million people.
A church is a dynamic entity that constantly changes and shifts as a result of demographics and culture. To be fresh and relevant in society, ongoing development is required. A district is composed of the sum of the local congregations in its geographical area of responsibility. A healthy district emerges as a result of the sum of its healthy churches.
One of the main functions of the Region is the development of the local church into a healthy missional entity. For that to happen, emphasis must be placed on district development at all levels. For leaders to succeed in their respective assignments, time and resources need to be invested in the development and training of key individuals and by leading each district through ongoing evaluation and training to move it from strength to strength.
Continued focus on planting and development of missional churches in each Field must be a regional priority. Included in this, is envisioning where the church needs to let go, as well as assisting established churches transition from attractional to missional models.
Jesus’ words to the disciples nearly 2000 years ago still resonate today: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:37) The Mobilization of cross-cultural workers for the vast unreached and under-reached Harvest Fields of the Asia-Pacific Region must remain a clear regional priority. In obedience to the Great Commission, we will work with sending districts and countries to Discover, Develop, and Deploy those whom God is calling, to make Christlike disciples, and to establish communities and networks of Faith where the Church is not yet. Since we believe the principle that the needed workers can be found in the Harvest, we will increase our focus on Mobilizing those whom God is calling from within the Asia-Pacific Region.
Also, the Ministry is about people. As a Region, we will develop systems and initiatives that develop and care holistically for all the cross-cultural workers and their families serving on the Region. The nature of this care should be proactive in nature and could take the form of workshops, retreats, continuing education, counseling, pastoral touch, childcare, personal development opportunities, etc.? Where not available internally, external entities will be engaged to provide the needed care. Where national sending agencies do exist, the Region will work with the agency to ensure that the members sent by that entity receive care of the same nature.
The mission of God is holistic. Increasingly, ministries of compassion have become part of the work of the Region, often serving as the bridge into unreached areas. This holism is healthy and crucial to the gospel.
The goal of the Region is that every local church to be actively contributing to its community through acts of compassion and that every Nazarene be a Good Samaritan. To ensure that compassion becomes part of the lifestyle of every Nazarene, intentional training will be given in the areas of capacity building, leadership development, health, water and sanitation, and disaster relief.
All that the Region does must be for the glory of God and the expansion of His Kingdom. The priority of Operational Effectiveness is to ensure through systems management that the right things get done properly. Efficiency and effectiveness must be the hallmark of our administrative network, while strategic planning for maximum transformational impact must be visible in all budgets and planning documents.
Given congregational and cultural shifts, intentional engagement with potential partners outside our WEF structure must be nurtured. Personal relationships must be fostered with people who desire to give in more strategic and personally satisfying ways while intentionally communicating the critical importance of WEF.
Focus on the following key areas will help keep things in perspective:
- Keeping the emphasis on using our resources and talents in areas where the Gospel is not yet proclaimed or received.
- Keeping the missional developmental emphasis of the districts focused on reaching out and discipleship through relational ministries.
- Maximizing the use of technology to increase touch and reduce the turn around time for matters needing the attention or input of others.
- Finding creative ways to meet the financial needs of our fields and personnel while also being able to help facilitate the calling to “come and serve” that our Lord is placing on many people’s lives.