The theme of Spiritual Leadership Conference Asia last week was “Striving Together for Asia and Beyond.” And this was more than a tagline—it was a phenomenal reality.
From the moment we landed in Manila, I could sense the spirit of unity and heart for revival among the Filipino pastors who worked together to help us host the conference. From coordinating transportation (for hundreds of guests) to opening their churches and Bible college dorms for guests to putting on major local church outreach weekends, the spirit to strive together and the tireless effort behind it was inspiring and encouraging.
Additionally, as I visited, went soulwinning with, and preached in various churches that weekend before the conference, I was blessed by the passion for church planting and missions throughout Asia and the 10/40 window in these churches.
As for a report on the conference, it’s hard to even know where to begin—except to say that God worked mightily and answered prayer. We truly could sense the prayers of God’s people throughout the week.
A few highlights, all related to the prayer requests we gave before the conference, include the following:
Hundreds of people saved: As I shared in the previous post, the outreach events throughout the Philippines the weekend preceding the conference were used by God beyond our expectations. Right around 750 people trusted Christ as their Saviour in approximately sixty youth rallies and church services as well as through personal one-on-one outreach.
Strategic partnerships forged: The day before the conference, we held a roundtable to connect businessmen with missionaries and to foster partnerships related to getting the gospel into countries that do not allow missionary visas. It was encouraging to see pastors, missionaries, and businessmen all coming together for missions as we discussed the needs, challenges, and opportunities for missions in specific nations.
Over 5,000 delegates from 49 countries, including 300 missionaries: It was an incredible blessing to serve God’s servants who are laboring across the world, including in some of the most hostile nations to the gospel. I wish you could have heard their stories of the doors God is opening for them, the risks they are gladly taking, and the church planting that is happening in spiritually needy places.
A 320-voice, 140-piece international choir and orchestra: Churches from across the Philippines sent their choir and orchestra members to sing in the conference. What a joy it was in each evening service to hear these combined choirs sing to the Lord.
Biblical preaching and testimonies: In each of the three evening services, we had two messages. Additionally, on Tuesday evening, Kim Phuc, “the girl in the picture” on the cover of Time magazine during the Vietnam War, shared her testimony. You could sense the openness and receptivity to God’s Word during the preaching services.
I have never attended a conference where every message not only spoke to my heart, but ripped at my heart. In the coming weeks, I plan to carve out time to watch every single service again after it is posted online. (All of the services and sessions will be available for free download at slconferenceasia.com/media.)
Practical, biblical, well-attended sessions: One of the changes we made this year, at the request of delegates from the 2016 conference, was to schedule sessions all the way through 5:00 p.m. with a brief lunch break. Each session was well-attended, and most had in excess of 1,000 people with open Bibles and open notebooks eager to learn and apply.
Christian fellowship: One of the great blessings of a conference like this is for missionaries and pastors who serve in needy, often lonely, places to share spiritual fellowship with other leaders. I’m thankful for the opportunities the last week provided for fellowship with our missionaries, friends, and West Coast Baptist College alumni. I’m also thankful for the friendships other Christian leaders were able to forge with one another.
Seeing West Coast Baptist College alumni serving in Asia: We were thankful that so many of our alumni who are serving in Asia and the 10/40 window were able to attend the conference. It was an incredible blessing to hear first-hand, in person reports of what God is doing through their church planting efforts. Some of the graduates are serving in restricted nations and asked us specifically not to post their pictures online. I praise the Lord for their labors in bringing the gospel and planting churches in some of the most spiritually-dark places in the world.
An opportunity to make resources available: One of the great highlights of the conference for me was to be able to make some Bible commentary sets available for free to over one hundred local church Bible colleges and institutes throughout Asia. Additionally, we shipped thousands of books from Striving Together Publications which we made available at greatly discounted prices. To get these resources into the hands of leaders who are preaching the gospel in places I may never have the opportunity to go was a privilege.
Over 150 who surrendered to a call to ministry: Pray for these men who surrendered to preach the gospel and women who sensed God calling them into ministry. May God use them to make an impact for the sake of the gospel!
Since before the conference began, we’ve been praying that God would use it to bring long-lasting fruit to His glory. Experiencing how God met with us and how He worked in hearts throughout this week leads me to believe that He is answering these prayers. I’m praying that millions of souls will come to Christ in the coming years as a result of this conference.
Thank you for your prayers. God is doing great things in Asia, and it is a privilege to be a part!