(Photo : Christianity Daily) Asian American church leaders and lay people gathered on November 8, 2014 at the first annual Asian American Ministry Conference (AAMC) to discuss how to mentor and who to seek for mentorship.

The annual Asian American Ministry Conference will be taking place for the third time, this year under the theme, "Envision: Looking Toward the Future of the Asian American Church," on November 5 at Biola University.

While the first two conferences focused on the themes of mentorship and leadership respectively, this year, organizers hope to offer Asian American church leaders and members "more staying power, hope, and encouragement" for the cultural context of the churches that they are in, according to Dr. Benjamin Shin, the director of the Asian American Doctor of Ministry cohort at Biola's Talbot School of Theology, who is also one of the organizers of the conference.

"I don't think this is necessarily bad, but what I see happening as a trend is that a lot of Asian Americans are leaving the Asian churches and going to primarily white churches, thinking that the white church would be better," said Shin. "And in many ways, it is better, in that the white church often has better systems and programs. But I think people are thinking that the Asian church has nothing to offer."

"I see this conference as being a preview of the near future," Shin added. "If people stay in the Asian church and implement some of the things that we are going to offer; if we put these resources, talents, and abilities together, the future of the Asian American church will be dynamic."

The conference will feature Dr. Peter Cha, professor of church, culture, and society at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, as the main plenary speaker. Cha is also the co-author of 'Following Jesus without Dishonoring Your Parents: Asian American Discipleship,' and co-editor of 'Growing Healthy Asian American Churches.'

Workshops will explore various ministry topics, such as the need for partnerships in church planting, engaging in college ministry through the local church, global missions and reaching unreached people groups, children's and youth ministries, organizing church events, and Asian American leadership in multi-ethnic churches and ministries. This year's conference will also have a resource room with books specific to various ministries and cultural contexts. Other services such as financial advising and counseling will also be made available throughout the conference.

The early bird registration price for regular members is $25 and $20 for students until October 14. Thereafter, prices go up to $35 and $30 respectively. For more information, visit aamc.link.

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