Over 4,000 people revealed their hunger for leadership training at EQUIP's first ever Million Leaders Mandate (MLM) Conference in Hong Kong, adding to the more than 1.3 million leaders across the globe that have been in training since 2003.
"Key leaders in Hong Kong have repeatedly stated that their most urgent need is for leadership training and resources," said Doug Carter, executive vice president of Public Affairs for EQUIP, who is currently in-route back from Hong Kong. "The conference of over 4,000 in Hong Kong underscores the desperate hunger on the part of pastors and other leaders for leadership training."
The conference is a part of EQUIP's global initiative to train millions of Christians worldwide to fulfill the Great Commission effectively in every nation. The training campaign is already active in more than 80 countries and is darting towards its second million leaders goal.
Held at the Grand Hall, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, founder of EQUIP Dr. John C. Maxwell and the other two associate trainers Ron McManus and G. L. Johnson were presented on the May 27-28 Conference.
In Hong Kong, EQUIP staff hear over and over, "This is what we have been missing," noted EQUIP's Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Tom Atema.
The most recent conference in Hong Kong follows the mandate's launch in several key regions of Asia including the Philippines, Indonesia and India where more than 400,000 leaders have been trained. This past weekend saw thousands more who were highly educated and in key leadership roles on university campuses and in churches. And, according to Carter, "they get it."
"China now needs millions of leaders today. In the business world as China becomes a world power, it needs leadership, and we believe the window of opportunity is now!" Carter exclaimed.
The Million Leaders Mandate kicked off in Asia in 2003 because of its high population and largest number of unreached people groups. According to Atema, the launch in China was delayed until the right partnerships were in place. But now it's "full-speed ahead."
The Hong Kong Conference is organized by the MLM Hong Kong Conference Steering Committee. It is sponsored by YMCA Hong Kong, Network J International, American Assemblies of God, Ecclesia Ministries Limited and Kingdom Ministries.
The Hong Kong group is committed to becoming better equipped as leaders themselves and to raising up other leaders in a training process that has stretched further and more quickly than expected as the need for leadership equipping has clearly revealed itself around the world.
"What would the world look like if there were 5 million Biblical-based servant leaders on five continents?" Atema excitedly posed.
In his own personal view, Atema commented on the rapid evangelism that is active among churches everywhere except the American church.
"While the American church by and large debates the color of the carpet, how big is big, and fight over the color of the curtains and hold meetings based on 'my right,' the church around the world, especially in Africa, is busy evangelizing the lost! At the current conversion rate, 3,000 an hour around the world are coming to Christ, and we need all the leaders we can train.
"EQUIP can not do it alone," Atema continued, "nor do we want to, in fact I believe the American church is not called upon to meet the needs of the African church or any other church, but it is called on to partner with the church in Africa and around the world, wherever God has given your church a passion to fulfill the Great Commission globally. That is why daily EQUIP helps Christians partner together. It is through these partnerships that the job will get done."
[Editor's note: Lillian Kwon reported from New York for this article and Claudia Cheng from San Francisco.]