Growing Leaders in Asia

Whew! Just returned from a whirlwind week in Singapore. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to this beautiful nation—but it is unforgettable. Clean, colorful, manicured…and full of young leaders.

The population is made up of mostly Chinese and Malaysian descent, with a million ex-patriots living among them. These people are hospitable and respectful and mix well with Western culture. Because Singapore isn’t full of natural resources, the government has put lots of stock into human resources. They are highly focused on helping kids get a great education and become leaders. During our week there, we met with a number of groups…

1. The National Youth Council. This was a task force made up of youth professionals. They are commissioned by the MOE (Ministry of Education) to foster healthy adolescents in both family and school. Their focus this year is on mentoring.

2. Parents. We spoke to hundreds of parents on the topic: Nurturing the Leader Within Your Child. We discussed current research on this new generation and found moms/dads to be highly engaged and almost paranoid about being good parents.

3. Youth. We co-sponsored a “Habitudes Experience” for high school students. It’s a night of images, video, music, drama, interviews and small group discussion. The students were intelligent, motivated learners who saw themselves as leaders.

4. Mentors. On Saturday, we held an all-day event on “Becoming a Life-Giving Mentor.” It was attended by hundreds of staff—made up of teachers, youth pastors and older students. We processed how to foster developmental relationships.

5. Teachers/Administrators. We also met with school faculty and administrators from a number of schools who were interested in establishing a campus-wide leader development plan. We explored how Habitudes are used in dozens of nations, including Singapore.

6. Church leaders. Finally, we met with church leaders and taught some Habitudes to them as well. They are committed to reproduce other leaders as they return to their homes and churches. It was a receptive group of men and women.

One of the partners who sponsored this trip was ELA (Equipping Leaders in Asia). They are committed to enabling students to become life-giving leaders. They train leaders in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore. This was my sixth trip to Singapore and each time I go—my hope grows. The students are savvy, mature, quick learners and ready to embrace the Habitudes of a leader. The city/state is committed to doing things with excellence. The only downside is their need to:

a. Stay committed to work/life balance. Family can take a back seat.

b. Be organic and not allow leader training to become a “program.”

c. Keep relationships and results in a healthy tension.

There are many lessons America can learn from Singapore—and we observed many of those lessons in action during our trip. I love how each culture has something to teach other cultures, and Growing Leaders will enjoy working in Asia for years to come. If you’d like to see more pictures from the trip, go to my Facebook page:


Growing Leaders in Asia