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23 asia retreat 2022_10
We finally held our first-ever ServeBeyond retreat in Asia!

After postponing for two years due to covid, we were able to gather Oct. 10-14 in Pattaya Thailand at the Pinnacle Grand Jomtien Resort for networking, encouragement, and relaxation. The majority of the eleven missionaries and mission leaders from Canada, Japan and Thailand who were able to attend (about half our number) had rarely if ever met in-person.

We connected with God by learning about Jesus’ post-resurrection Great Commission teachings. We also shared with one another about our lives and ministries, and prayed for each other. Read More…

Where is the Church?

“Thinking Theologically About Church Planting” series by Dale Little

This ostensibly simple question seems to be answered in three basic ways in writings on ecclesiology.[1] Contemporary publications about the Church, by the way, appear to be on the increase.[2] Roman Catholic and Orthodox folks would hold that a church exists where the sacraments are correctly administered by qualified personnel. The broad flow of Protestants could be said to believe that a church exists where there is correct Biblically based teaching. And perhaps, to select one group of Protestants, charismatically oriented believers might hold that a church exists where the Holy Spirit is active.
[1] For an example see Lesslie Newbigin, Household of God: Lectures on the Nature of the Church (London: SCM, 1952, 1964).
[2] For a helpful but irenic introduction to various contemporary ecclessiologies see Veli-Matti Karkkainen,
An Introduction to Ecclesiology: Ecumenical, Historical and Global Perspectives (Downers Grove, IVP, 2002).

There are elements of truth in all three of these answers. Read More…

The Methodology of Mission - Making Disciples

By Ike Agawin, ServeBeyond Director

Our Lord Jesus tells His disciples what the specific task of mission is to be: 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to follow all that I commanded you, and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

This is the focal point of the Great Commission. The highest priority of Jesus’ mission is evangelism. Jesus tells what specific outcome evangelism is to have – making disciples. What that means and how it is to be done is clarified by Jesus. An examination of Matthew 28:19-20 shows that this Scripture text consists of four verbs. It consists of an imperative tied to three accompanying participles. The central imperative or command is not the first verb to “go” but “make disciples.” The centerpiece of Jesus’ command is the making of disciples.

Click here to read Ike’s full blog post at

She Gave Everything

“Women of the Bible” series by Ann Little

In Mark 12:41-44 we see a very short story about a widow:
“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.”

The contrast between the rich people and the poor widow was startling. How happy the temple religious leaders must have been to see the offerings of the wealthy. They were noticed by everyone. However, no one noticed the widow as she quietly made her way to the treasury to give her two small coins. Read More…

Priority of the Word of God in Church Planting

“Thinking Theologically About Church Planting” series by Dale Little

The book of Acts has always been a rich resource for thinking biblically about mission. In 2002, Baker published David Pao’s Harvard Ph.D. dissertation, Acts and the Isaianic New Exodus. Pao argues that the priority Isaiah placed on the notion of the word of God is a hermeneutical key for understanding Acts. He tells us that the word of God, the logos, is the central theme of Acts. Read More…

Rebuilding Our Vision for Ministry

By Ike Agawin, ServeBeyond Director

Vision is crucial for organizational and leadership success. Without a clear vision, leaders and organizations will stagnate and go nowhere. If leaders do not see where they are going, they are unlikely to get there.

Vision can serve as a True North for organizations and help leaders keep their bearings as they lead their people forward. Any organization with no clear vision of where it is going is in danger of mission drift and being sidetracked and failing to accomplish its purpose. A leader or an organization without a vision to serve is at risk of becoming self-serving.

Click here to read Ike’s full blog post at

Jesus Broke a Sabbath Rule to Heal a Woman

“Women of the Bible” series by Ann Little

Luke 13:10-17
When I first moved to Japan and lived in Aichi-ken, I was curious about all the little old bent over ladies that I saw. I wondered, was this a result of carrying babies on their backs for many years, or long hours working out in the fields, or from many years of deep bowing? Knowing that they probably suffered pain, I also wondered at their ability to keep going and marveled at their strength and tenacity. In Luke 13 we read a very brief story about a women with a similar condition. Read More…

When Little is Big

“Thinking Theologically About Church Planting” series by Dale Little

Have you often found yourself wishing that the size of the Church of Jesus Christ in Japan might be bigger than it is? I have. Church planters in Japan and in other cultures resistant to the gospel can be encouraged to persevere in their ministry by understanding that small can be significant within God’s mission. [i]

[i] These thoughts were given in sermon format at Takayama Chapel (Shichigahama Machi, Miyagi-ken, Japan) on Aug. 10, 2003. I am indebted to the following article: George Vandervelde, “The Challenge of Evangelical Ecclesiology,” Evangelical Review of Theology (2003) 27:1, 4-26. Read More…

Building and Rebuilding the Foundation of Mission

By Ike Agawin, ServeBeyond Director

Japan is located in the world’s most active earthquake zone. Because of the many seismic activities that happen every year, constructing a skyscraper in Japan is a work of engineering. It is said that the foundation is the most critical aspect of building a skyscraper in Japan. The building foundation is very deep and made of cylinders of concrete, steel, or both that penetrate the earth until they reach a stable bedrock layer to prevent the building from sinking or toppling in an earthquake. The higher the building, the deeper the foundation.

The Lord has given the Body of Christ, a mandate for mission. It is essential to have a good foundation if we were to accomplish the task the Lord has commissioned us to do. There are critically important foundations the Church needs to recapture to build and rebuild. To do mission successfully, there are four essential foundations that we need to consider:

Click here to read Ike’s full blog post at

The Mother who was both Insulted and Praised by Jesus

“Women of the Bible” series by Ann Little

In Matthew 15:21-28 and Mark 7:24-29 we have a somewhat puzzling conversation between Jesus, the Jewish teacher, and a nameless foreign Gentile woman from Syro-Phoenicia.

What was this woman’s problem? Her daughter was possessed by an evil spirit that was trying to harm her. She no doubt spent most of her time protecting the child and neutralizing the evil as best as she could. What was a mother to do in such a situation? Her solution was to ask Jesus to heal her little girl. Read More…

Rebuilding the Church’s Missional Identity

By Ike Agawin, ServeBeyond Director

Dr. Darrel Guder coined the word “missional” in His book, “Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America.” In that book, he chose the term “missional” to talk about the missionary nature of the Church, that mission is not a program of the Church but rather the essence, purpose, action and character of the Church, all wrapped up in this larger understanding of God as a missionary God. God is engaged in the mission of redeeming all of creation and has commissioned His Church, the Grand Collective, to be on mission with Him.

Unfortunately, the term “missional” became so popular and became a cliché in our churches today.

Click here to read Ike’s full blog post at

Asia ServeBeyond Retreat

Pattaya 4
October 2022 in Pattaya Thailand
Pinnacle Grand Jomtien Resort

A time of networking, encouragement, and refreshment for ServeBeyond Asia personnel.

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Nurturing Communities of Faith

“Thinking Theologically About Church Planting” series by Dale Little

“Sensei (teacher), please bring a short biblical message at the beginning of our business meeting next week.” “Sensei, I feel as if God has abandoned me.” “Sensei, we’d like you to perform our engagement ceremony.” “Sensei, my mother was hospitalized yesterday. Please pray for her.” “Sensei, can you teach that twelve-week class on our doctrinal statement again?”

These kinds of requests and comments do not sound like the kinds that might be found on the forefront of evangelism. Nevertheless, the issues above typify discussions with people in my church plant. The issues often deal more with establishing the church plant than with evangelizing the lost. From a practical point of view, it seems that a major and necessary role of the church planting missionary is to provide care and nurture for the community of faith that the church planter is trying to coax into existence. Read More…

The Woman with an Alabaster Jar of Perfume

“Women of the Bible” series by Ann Little

There are four passages in the Bible that record a woman anointing Jesus’ head with perfume. The three in Matthew 26, Mark 14 and John 12 are all very similar. John clearly says that this is Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. However, in Luke 7:36-50 we read about a mysterious, nameless “immoral” woman, who became a lesson to the religious leaders on forgiveness and love. Read More…

The End of Mission

By Ike Agawin, ServeBeyond Director

Some people believe that mission is over. Jesus said in Matthew 24:14 that “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” The Gospel has indeed been preached to all the countries of the world, but Jesus is referring to the nations – the ethnic or people groups with their distinct cultures and languages. Almost half of the world’s population, representing many people groups, are yet to hear the Gospel.1 The Gospel has not been preached to them. Mission is not over, and the task of world evangelization is still in effect for the Church. But when will mission end?

Click here to read Ike’s full blog post at