A blog i wrote while in Rwanda april of 2008 and never published….
Relationship is the Key….
We just wrapped up our three days pastors conference, it was phenomenal. Lives were changed. All of our team preached, and taught on many different leadership topics. It was life changing for the pastors and their teams and it was life changing for me and our team. We had right at one hundred pastors representing over 50 churches.
One of the things I taught them is a Jon Maxwell maxim, which is to say, “Leadership is influence, and influence comes through relationship. I have just read Pastor Kirk’s notes for this weekend’s services and that is basically what he is communicating. We can lead, “persuade,” “Influence” others without having relationship.
I love it when we are able to teach something and exhibit it all at that same time; it creates such an authenticity that everyone is impacted by it. I have made some great connections on this trip, and begun some great relationships. I have to say Rwandese people are the most resilient people I have every experienced personally. The team and I were discussing one night about the fact that sometimes we in America have something happen to us in life, and it shuts down our future we cease to be functional people, and here we are standing in front of young men and women, who have suffered the worst of travesty’s and they are praising God, they are testifying of His power. They’re not perfect and they have their issues like everyone else, but they just keep moving. Keep your eyes on Rwanda, God is starting something wonderful. I truly believe what is happening there will impact the world.
Like it does usually when you go to a third world country it brings things into perspective and it makes us realize how good we have it, and reprimands us for whining so much. What I am saying is not to de-legitimize real problems In your life or mine, but it is to say, take a look around, you don’t have to look very far to gain perspective.
I taught on relationship and how important it is, and God set me up with some great new friends. Friends that I will have for the rest of my life, young men and men my age who have a heart to change things. These men don’t think like the average person in Africa, they have a new way of thinking, it’s a new breed. Pastor Jackson, the man who worked as our point person for the Rwanda portion of the trip. He is a go getter by anyone’s standards. I say this without equivocation he would put a lot of pastors I know in the states to shame in vision, passion, faith, tenacity and plain old bull dog persistence.
I won’t try to put all of his stories in this blog, but I will put them in later blogs. They will encourage you and build your faith. I also, met a young man who interpreted for me, he is one of the best interpreters in the nation. He is a brilliant young man named Henry, he has stories as well that will make you want to stand up and shout. I also, began a relationship with a young man of 26 years of age who has a real heart for unity in the church and orphans, he is one. His Dad died in the war in Rwanda in 1990, and his mother died when he was born. He has real compassion on orphans. He has an organization called together as one.
I received the great privilege of speaking a special session just for them. I walked in and wanted them to speak to me. It reminded me of our church. They were all young adults and some teenagers, and they are absolutely passionate about making a change. They are renting an office building themselves and they have three goals. One is to evangelize, use their talents of dance, singing and preaching to impact the globe, many of them are orphans. Second, they are working on getting land and building a children’s home. Third they want to bring Christian Television to Rwanda, and with that host and coordinate big conferences. They have already invited me to bring our worship team and come back and speak in the big stadium which they believe they can fill 20,000 people.
They had such passion, such grace and humility, and they are serious about changing the world. I was so inspired! They are not talking about changing the world, they are changing the world. They aren’t victims they don’t think like that at all, they think it is their responsibility to do something and so they are.
My relationship with them, and theirs with our team and the relationship we built with the rest of the pastors, has given us influence with them, and affected them and us. Relationship is key, and if we are going to reach people, if we are going to lead people in a positive way, we must not be afraid, or threatened, or fear to take a risk to have a relationship.