Leadership Issues in Asia

Singapore Skyline
I just returned from Asia. Singapore to be exact.

Although I don’t feel like a novice in this part of the world, every cross-cultural experience generates fresh insight and understanding and this trip was no different. As I look at the enormous complexities facing the Christian movement in Asia, several observations and questions emerged such as:

The Church in Asia continues to step up in assuming its rightful place and contribution to the worldwide Christian movement.

One cannot help but be impressed by the zeal and passion that characterizes Asian Christianity.

In settings such as Singapore (where this trip was concentrated), materialism has steadily acquired a vice grip on the culture and exercises a stifling effect on the missional vision of the Church.

How can new generations of leadership emerge in contexts where status, shame and saving face are such predominant values?

Authoritarian leaders who abuse their followers are unfortunately the norm, not the exception in this part of the world. How can such a dysfunctional cultural paradigm be replaced by biblical, servant leadership?

Related to the fixation on status is the compulsive drive for formal education. Too many people are sidelined from an effective contribution to kingdom involvement because of perceived inadequacies due to a lack of formal and advanced education. Sad.

There is significant emotional wounding, particularly in the lives of children. The obsession to achieve exerts enormous pressure.


I realize these are gross generalizations and not all Asian cultures are the same. Nevertheless, while the Church throughout Asia continues to grow in influence and stature on the global scene, zeal cannot paper over some of these deeply rooted issues. Unless honestly faced by Asian leaders, such issues will limit the contribution their nations can make to the Christian movement and a transformational influence on their own societies.

3 Responses to “Leadership Issues in Asia”

  1. GuyMuse Says:

    I cannot help but comment how similar your Asia observations are to what we are seeing in Latin America. For the most part they are close to identical. Had you written the post about Ecuador, the country where we serve, I would say you nailed it pretty close!

  2. andre_y Says:

    I’m originally from that part of the world so I understand what you’re saying. Many of your observations are correct. A great part of the reason is cultural but the other part is that there is a strong charismatic/pentecostal influence that historically promotes experience of gifts/signs/wonders over christian character formed from sound doctrine.

    There is a lack of sound reformed doctrine focused on the gospel. If sound gospel centered doctrine is preached and accepted, biblical leadership can and will emerge.

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