Over halfway through 2021, there are regular features in each of our environments that were unimaginable eighteen months ago. From the masks that may permanently live in our purses or glove compartments, to ubiquitous bottles of hand sanitizer or vaccination cards in many wallets, we’re seeing the consequences of a global pandemic now woven into the fabric of our daily lives.

While conditions are slowing, particularly in the US, COVID-19 continues to hit countries around the world. It’s been a season of suffering for many, and certainly one of upheaval, change, and uncertainty.

But even in this season of upheaval, the hope of the Gospel prevails. The Virtual Haggai Leader Experience (VHLE) – initially a project in the works before COVID-19 but launched in 2020 when it became clear virtual equipping was more necessary than ever – has now revolutionized our approach to ending Gospel poverty.

As soon as travel restrictions began in the Spring of 2020, regional Haggai groups began to do in their ministries what many had been forced to do at work: they moved their programs to a digital platform.

In nations across the globe, the work to equip new Haggai leaders continued. In July of 2020, a group in Mexico re-planned their in-person event to digitally equip 26 new leaders. And in Indonesia, a virtual Haggai seminar sparked the beginning of a Christian counseling crisis line.

In the Fall of 2020, Haggai’s international faculty and leadership launched the very first VHLE. Through virtual equipping, Haggai leaders are now able to immediately apply what they learn at work, in their families, and their communities, and are not hindered by visa or country restrictions. As many countries are still closed to travel due to COVID-19, the VHLE is more vital than ever. While we look forward to the opportunity to equip leaders again face-to-face, this new approach has opened doors to share the Gospel with exponentially more people than we could have previously imagined.

  • From August 2020 through July 2021, 16 international Haggai Leader Experiences (HLEs) have equipped 337 new leaders.
  • Sixty countries have been represented in the new group of leaders, and in some cases, these leaders would have never received the travel visas necessary for the in-person experience.
  • Since the pivot to virtual seminars last year, 3,770 leaders from 87 countries have been equipped in 163 national and regional HLEs, making a total of 4,107 leaders from 98 countries.

It is evident that this innovative virtual equipping is not just a substitute; it is a unique, transformative experience in and of itself. Held over 12 weeks, the VHLE features the same world-class faculty members. It is collaborative and interactive, helping leaders form deep connections with other believers from all over the world.

“The VHLE provided key knowledge and methods in advancing the Gospel. Joining the VHLE will give you opportunities to learn alongside brothers and sisters around the world.” – Paris Chardpaison, Thailand

Today, you can help equip leaders like Paris through Venture, our monthly giving community. Click here to learn more.