Asia Forum for Leaders

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Many churches in Asia were facing a crisis in the fast-changing early years of the 21st-century. Most Asian churches had been started by Western missionaries who left behind their Western traditional models for church growth. Such models were outdated in the 21st century and churches were stagnant and becoming irrelevant to the new generation of Asians. Dr. Paul Choo, who had been preaching in many such churches, sensed the need for for Asian Christian leaders to gather together to learn biblical strategies to meet these challenges. So in 2017, after much discussion with other Asian leaders, the idea of starting an Asian Forum for Leaders was mooted.


AFL aims to organize forums on relevant topics for Asian pastors and leaders to learn from experts and from each other.


On September 20, 2016, a new program was launched to train existing leaders to be better leaders. The target groups for such training were community and religious leaders—especially those who are already recognised as leaders in their respective fields. There are few leadership programs tailored for the needs of these leaders in Asia. With leaders who already have much experience to share, the method of training most suitable for them is a “forum”—where they gather to listen to experts and then share their experiences in the forum and learn from one another. This new program was called Asia Forum for Leaders.

It was launched by holding a mini-forum in the Goducate Training Center, Iloilo, Philippines, for 24 barangay (village) leaders.

The next day 90 church leaders from Iloilo Province gathered for a 3-day forum. There were sessions on leadership planning, strategy, and implementation, and practical sessions on livelihood projects (eg. vermicomposting, detergent making) for their communities. Those who were interested were given enough African night crawlers to start their own vermicomposting projects. The main speakers were Dr Paul Choo from Singapore, Pastor Leo Decinal from Laguna, and Engineer Jeru Samilo from Iloilo.

The feedback from the leaders was very positive, and another forum was then planned for 150 church leaders in Feb 2017.

Thereafter, AFL conducted forums 3-4 times a year – each time gathering about 100 pastors and church leaders for 2-3 days in different locations to learn from experts and from each other. The Covid19 pandemic in 2019 put a halt to all such on-site forums.

So Dr Paul Choo started monthly online AFL forums. The topics covered were:

May 2020 – Christian leadership in post-Covid Asia

June 2020 – Practical Covid19 Ministry Ideas from Practitioners.

July 2020 – Practical Collaboration Techniques with Practitioners.

August 2020 – Develop a VUCA Mindset Now.

August 2020 – Countering the Effects of VUCA.

September 2020 – Growing your Church in a time of Pandemic.

October 2020 – Pandemic is an Opportunity for Financial Growth.

November 2020 – The Vital 7 C’s for Effective Pastoral Leadership.

December 2920 – 7 steps for your Breakthrough in 2021.


Dr Paul Choo also decided to start weekly “Coffee Talks” to serve as mini-AFL forums in August 2020. These weekly “coffee talks” were attended regularly by about 50 pastors. Most of the topics were related to the need to adjust existing ministries to the problems caused by the pandemic.

The experience gained from the on-site forums and the coffee-talks convinced Dr. Paul Choo there was a need for a more systematic and comprehensive leadership training program for both pastors and leaders. This led him to design and develop the Master of Ministry program.

However, he also realized that the 2 -year Master of Ministry program, needed to be supplemented by ongoing forums, as graduates of the MMin program would need to have ongoing training in this fast-changing 21st Century.

The experience of AFL convinced Dr Choo that the traditional “front-loaded” type of education provided by most educational institutions cannot meet the needs of this century. So AFL will continue to provide useful forums for Asian pastors and leaders.

A much needed forum on “Covid Vaccines and Treatment – What every Pastor/Church Leader must Know” was organized by AFL in October 2021.

More AFL forums will be organized as new challenges surface and new tech are developed.