Crown Center for Global Initiatives

Chinese Leadership Development Program

Crown College, in Minnesota, is part of a globally connected community. The four-year accredited, Christ-centered college has developed partnerships with organizations around the world, including an exciting venture with the nonprofit organization Global Partners in Hope (GPiH), called the Chinese Leadership Development Program. Part of the Crown Center for Global Initiatives, the Chinese Leadership Development Program is tailored to leaders at all levels of Chinese government, business and education.

Faculty members from Crown College recently developed leadership curriculum for ministry and business tracks used to train more than 1,000 Beijing-based business leaders. The Chinese Leadership Development Program innovatively expands on this important marketplace ministry work. The program pairs Crown’s accredited, Christ-centered ministry and business instruction with GPiH’s Christ-centered mission of “Bringing hope to communities around the world through partnerships between people who can help and people who need hope.”

The vision for the groundbreaking program is to provide Chinese participants with biblically-based, affordable and credentialed leadership development training. The sessions will also provide participants with vibrant, engaging and culturally relevant instruction. As a result of the program, leaders will be able to mentor and develop others in Christian-based business and non-profit ministry positions throughout China, East Asia and the world.

chinese-leadership“Our program is based on globalization, on the cross-pollination of ideas and practical theology,” explains Ian Vickers, chief executive officer of GPiH. “Through our partnership with Crown College, an accredited North American college that shares our Christian values, and whose faculty have a first-hand understanding of international marketplace ministry, we can develop leaders in China that are equipped to expertly interface with faith-based organizations and businesses from the United States and Europe.”

The Chinese Leadership Development Program offers two instructional tracks:

The Ministry Leadership track, designed for leaders in nonprofit organizations, fulfills a need for Chinese leadership in practical theology and service. The program trains participants in personal and spiritual formation, leadership development, mentoring and developing other leaders so they may grow their own faith-based communities in word and deed.

The Business Leadership track, designed for middle-management leaders, provides training in biblical principles, business language and terminology, relationship building and strategic management. With these tools, participants will be equipped to successfully interact with multinational organizations based in countries outside of China.

Dr. Joel Wiggins, President of Crown College, has conducted leadership-training sessions in more than a dozen countries. “Leadership in China has looked at and values GPiH’s programs, and gives us a network of relationships to go forward with the Chinese Leadership Development Program through our Center for Global Initiatives,” says Dr. Wiggins. “It’s such a fantastic opportunity for marketplace ministry multiplication. The leaders we work with will be conducting their ministry in a setting very different from that in the U.S.”

GPiH China Vision from Gabriel Jasso on Vimeo.


Ian Vickers – Chief Executive Officer, Global Partners in Hope
Education: M.A. Leadership; B.S., International Studies, Crown College

A global thinker connected with at least one person on every continent, Mr. Vickers is committed to developing faith-based leaders who will make a difference in the world. He started Global Partners in Hope in 2008, after innovating several other nonprofit organizations in the United States and Europe. From 1992 to 2001, Mr. Vickers was based in Paris, France, where he led a team focused on training and equipping European pastors.

He’s worked with nonprofit organizations for more than 25 years, bringing basic medical access to developing counties, coordinating humanitarian assistance, conducting leadership development in France and the U.S., and personally leading teams into West Africa, Brazil, Cuba, Asia, China and Europe.

Donald O. Young, D.D. – Vice President of International Operations, Global Partners in Hope
Education: Toccoa Falls College

During his long career in international leadership, Young has served in more than 35 countries around the world. In addition, he served as a missionary with the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) for 15 years in Ivory Coast, Africa, and pastored churches for 14 years in Alabama and Wyoming. Young served the C&MA as the director of Missionary Candidates, and is on the Board of Managers. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Young led the C&MA’s recovery efforts in Waveland, Miss. In addition to working with GPiH, Young is a board member of the Kairos Foundation, and the regional director for the College of Prayer in Asia.

Jay Steele, Ph.D. – Professor of Business Administration, Chair of Crown’s Business Department
Education: Ph.D., University of Minnesota; M.Div., Ashland Theological Seminary; M.B.A., Baldwin-Wallace College; B.S. Physics, Baldwin-Wallace College

As the former pastor of King Road Alliance in Ashland, Ohio, and as a former systems and sales support analyst for Nixdorf Computer in Cleveland, Steele is perfectly suited to teach accounting, finance and economics from a faith-based perspective. His definition of academic excellence is not only mastery of a discipline, but also the integration of faith into that discipline. He intentionally incorporates ethics into all his curricula, which sets his teaching apart from that of other business professors. A professor at Crown since 1986, Steele says students’ greatest takeaways from his classes include: learning to appreciate a solid biblical foundation throughout all coursework and the tools to enter a broad spectrum of business opportunities. Steele is a member of the American Accounting Association.

Jim Nichols, D.B.A. – Associate Professor of Business Administration
Education: D.B.A., Anderson University; M.B.A., University of Dallas; B.S., Iowa State University

Nichols worked more than 30 years in the corporate sector, with experience in domestic and international sales and marketing, small business ownership and corporate planning, before he began teaching undergraduate business courses. He joined Crown College in 2001, integrating the Bible into his course curriculum, showing how business and ministry co-exist for students dedicated to making a difference in the world. He teaches a range of business courses and is actively involved in business-as-mission at the college, church and denominational levels. For Nichols, the hallmark of academic excellence is teaching students to think critically about a problem and strategize potential solutions. He is a member of the American Management Association and the Christian Business Faculty Association.