He desired to make a difference
On overseas trips he would meet dedicated Christian men and women who passionately desired to make a difference. Sadly, he often observed that they were making very little impact. As he evaluated the situation, he reached one troubling conclusion: Most lacked the practical leadership skills to see their God-given dreams become reality.
John and his brother, Larry, convened a meeting of several outstanding Christian leaders in Orlando, Florida in the summer of 1996. After a day of prayerful thought and planning, they agreed unanimously to establish EQUIP, a not-for-profit organization that would specialize in providing Biblical leadership training and resources in the international, academic and urban communities.
EQUIP grew steadily from 1997 until a fateful day in September of 2001. The events of September 11 changed America and the world forever, and it surely rocked EQUIP! Within days after the tragic attacks on our nation, the EQUIP mailbox was empty. Gift income dropped to a trickle. The EQUIP leadership team faced the disappointing and painful task of layoffs and downsizing.
Two significant events happened during these difficult days of struggle. First, our board of directors decided that EQUIP resources and personnel needed to be focused on just one target – developing effective servant-leaders in the international community. Secondly, John Maxwell challenged the EQUIP leadership team to design a strategy to train and provide leadership resources for one million leaders overseas before the end of 2008! During the darkest hour in the history of EQUIP, our founder kept the dream alive and our board of directors stayed the course!
The year 2002 was spent in planning for the launch of the new initiative to be called the Million Leaders Mandate. The plan called for the recruitment of leaders in North America who would volunteer their time, paying their own travel expenses, to go overseas every six months for three years to teach a group of leaders at a selected site. Each leader taught would be required to mentor 25 other leaders in his or her circle of influence.
In early 2003 the Million Leaders Mandate was launched in fourteen key cities of India, the Philippines and Indonesia. Leadership training was the core of our mission. We knew that leaders could only be trained through an insightful, focused process. Every leader covenanted with us to stay in the training process for a minimum of three years. We highly valued the power of partnership, always looking for ways to build strategic alliances with churches, marketplace leaders, other international non-profit organizations, and with key global influencers.
In September of 2003 we began the Million Leaders Mandate training in the Middle East. Subsequent years saw the launch of MLM in Africa, Europe, Latin America, the “Stan” counties and in China, the most populous nation on our planet.
In March of 2006, a full two years ahead of schedule, the goal of one million international leaders in training was reached! By June 1, 2006 more than 1.5 million leaders in over 100 nations were on the journey with us, and the EQUIP leadership curriculum had been translated into over 40 languages.
In June 2006 the EQUIP board of directors, meeting in Atlanta, approved a goal of training and resourcing five million leaders on five continents! Over the next few years, three volumes of curriculum were developed and translated into over 90 languages!
In June of 2015 on the island of Fiji in the South Pacific, leaders from the small island nation of Kiribati participated in the MLM training, taking us to the goal of training leaders from every nation – all 196 of them!
In 1996, God gave to John and Larry Maxwell a dream to see effective leaders fulfilling the Great Commission in every nation. As they shared the dream that burned in their hearts, God ignited a similar fire in the hearts of others – board members, staff, Associate Trainers, donors and international partners. As a result, in less than 20 years, over six million leaders were trained in every nation on our planet.
Having touched every nation across the globe, EQUIP laid a foundation of Biblical servant leadership by training leaders connected to the Church.
Currently, through our “Beyond Success” global evangelism initiative we are mobilizing leaders to add value, build relationships, and share their faith through transformation roundtables (small groups) worldwide. We are committed to the transformation of individuals, communities, and nations.