April 12, 2004
Los Angeles, CA — The first Asian American Leadership Conference was held on March 29-31, 2004 at Young Nak Presbyterian Church. Louis Lee of MESA, Pastor Paul Lee of Ocean View Church and founder of KEMPA, and Navigator’s Asian American Ministries Coordinator Tom Steers have been working diligently to plan and prepare for this nation-wide conference.
What was once an idea to unite the Korean-American EM (English Ministry) leaders has become a nation-wide Asian-American conference. Pastor Paul Lee, who initiated the event, saw a burden for a lot of the Asian-American pastors and wanted to have this type of large-scale mentoring conference. “There was a good two and a half years spent on planning,” Pastor Paul Lee noted. “It all started with my intention of having a mentoring conference and Louis’ own ideas as well. He got involved heavily and we talked about it and this was a good opportunity to come together and get to know each other.”
“There are actually several different Asian-American leaders praying for this event. Pastor Paul and myself tried to move a little bit more than dreaming and praying,” said Louis Lee, coordinator for the conference.
Louis Lee, whose expertise is conducting conferences and planning and preparing them, spearheaded this project along with Tom Steers of Navigators. The three core planning team members met and prayed and had desired to have this event as early as Feb. of 2003, but there were many conflicting conferences and they decided to postpone the event.
“The extra year has been by God’s divine timing; it gave us time to network. Participation is higher now than it would have been,” commented Louis Lee.
Over 60 partners participating in this event include many organizations such as AACF (Asian-American Christian Fellowship), CEMC (Chinese Evangel Mission Church), FWCC (Faith Walk Community Church), KEMPA (Korean English Ministry Pastors Association), LCC (Lighthouse Christian Fellowship), PK (Promise Keepers), and YNEM (Young Nak English Ministries), to mention a few.
The conference held a total of seven workshops. These include Church Planting, Gender and Ministry General Leadership Issues, Mission, Pastoral Ministry, Worship, Youth Ministry.
Speakers Jack Hayford, Ken Fong, David Gibbons, and Joanne Jung gave keynote speeches to encourage and revitalize the Asian-American leaders. Ken Fong, senior pastor at Evergreen Baptist Church in LA, said, “This is a time in my life to give back…I want this this time to be a reminder to all that even in the midst of all this culture and reality, we are pursuing the Kingdom of God.”
Joanne Jung, a professor in the Biblical Studies Department at Biola University, noted, “I want people to recognize whether they don’t know or understand, or even have forgotten about their life in Christ.”
Both Professor Jung and Pastor Fong agreed that this conference is a time for encouragement and mentoring. Both speakers are not as involved with the Asian-American community anymore. They wish for this time to not only be for Asian-Americans but that they may “go out to other places,” said Pastor Fong.
“I expect to see God do a work nationwide and worldwide. Not just by what I have to say but what the conference is about and pursuing,” said Professor Jung.
This conference is to revive and renew the attendants. Counseling sessions have also been conducted to mentor and encourage participants. For more information visit www.aalc2004.org.
Last notes and aftermath of the AALC
Over 400 pastors, church leaders, and seminary alumnus and professors attended this national AALC event. In the last two days of the conference, three other keynote speakers gave messages. One of the speakers, Pastor Ken Fong, spoke about the urgency to know the commission of the church, not as individual churches, but as a whole.
His message which came last was a reminder to the leaders to focus on the whole point of a church. He compared it to the game of golf: “The point of golf is to advance the ball to the hole in the smallest amount of strokes.”
“We as a church are forgetting the whole point of being a church and only focusing on the swing-tips,” he continued. “Think of it as the merchant seeking the pearl, not just the pearl itself, but the actual process of adventure; the pursuit.”
He also noted that strategically churches have been doing three things: “react, respond, and anticipate,” but we must go on creating. Make a 21st century ark. Although it may seem ridiculous, they are the vessels which God designed to save the world.”
Another keynote speaker, David Gibbons, talked about the big “Four.” Four different topics which encompassed the theme of choosing what God wants from you over what you want for yourself.
He explained, “It’s not about us; it is about the Kingdom of God. It is not about our own churches, but the Church of God as a whole.”
Many of the attendants were encouraged and picked up a few pointers on leading. There were also many workshops that helped show a clearer picture of how to deal with certain situations and even advice on planting churches.
The response was overwhelmingly positive towards the speakers, worship, workshops, and the fellowship.
Although plans and preparations have not yet been initiated for the next Leadership Conference, many are praying for future AALC events, nationally and even regionally.
For more information visit www.mesanetwork.org .
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