South Sudan 2013 Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit
The first GLS in South Sudan was held at the First Baptist Church of Kajo Kija with 167 in attendance on August 17, 2013. This "one day" was gathered by nine different church organizations in the area.
We headed over to the church and started setup. We had to string extension cords to get the power where we needed it. We had to relocate the soundboard to get it near the computer. Then we plugged in the video projector wondering if it had made the long trip in good condition. It fired up and was bright on the wall. Then it shut off suddenly. This happened 5 of 6 more times. We stopped and tried to solve the problem. Different generators were tried, we waited until we could get everyone off of the system. The same thing happened. The prayer team prayed. We started over. This time we removed a regulating device that is like a surge protector that protects
the system plugged into it and then everything worked almost perfectly. After another hour of testing it only shut off once. This is our big concern for tomorrow, that the video projector and the electrical system work together to show the images with excellence. We bought a sheet to fashion a screen if they did not have one. They had a small one, so we were looking at the sheet, but the pastor said, 'No, we will paint the wall.' They cleaned the wall and painted it in about an hour. So now we have a brilliant wall and a great image. On the way to the airport I stopped by a Radio Shack after a prompting by God, or a tickle in my brain depending on how one sees the issue, and bought an adaptor for sound that was exactly what I needed to make it work he sound is great.
We set up the registration area and also found out that while we have 135 confirmed registrations, they are expecting 200! We have food coming for 200, but we only brought 175 student books because when we left they thought we would have 150. Pray for loaves and fishes. from dayword.org
We got up very early to be on site very early. People were already waiting to register. People started to flow into the building and were excited about the conference. We lead off right on time with Bill Hybels, 'Holy Discontent'. It was slow getting people into groups and into the process time after the talk, but once they 'got it' things started to move. We took a break and were ready for Session 2. A worship team dove in with amazing, energetic and powerful worship. Then we watched John Ortberg, "A leader's greatest fear." It is the story of the nagging problems of ego centric instead of servant centric leadership. People were very connected to the talk.
Lunch for the participants was hot and abundant and looked great, but the organizing committee recommended that we eat at our guest house food specially prepared for our wimpy digestive systems. Jim Palmer, who can eat anything, wanted to stay. When we got back the house was rocking as they had started up worship without us and were having a great time. We launched into a talk by Rick Warren, 'Leadership is Stewardship.' Rick asks the question, "What is in your hand?" God wants to use you to further his Kingdom and knows that whatever you have is what He can use. Process time seemed to be going smoothly now. Many people came to our prayer area with heavy burdens and felt encouraged by the power of prayer over and with them. The last session started with worship again with passion and joy. The last talk was Wayne Cordeiro, 'Dead Leader Running.' He talked about the overwhelming stress of ministry and the pressure to get things done and the end of that burn out in his life that almost cost him everything. People all through the room were deeply moved. We concluded the conference with a charge from Bill Hybels that was icing on the cake. The organizing committee, that did such a great job, was recognized. They were from 10 different church organizations representing multiple denominations. It really was a beautiful picture of unity in a very war torn area. After the conference we met with the committee. They each wanted a chance to talk to us and thank us. They thanked the people who had the initial vision (Bill and team) of bringing this to the world and were very impacted that people had cared about this from so far away. Other members thank our team for coming. They all wanted us to thank our churches back home for their investment in this process. Two people stuck out for me. One, Gonda - he said he was a dead leader running, because of the war. He is so exhausted and shut down emotionally and felt like had a resurrection in his life from the talk. Another talked about how difficult the days have been and that many times he has thought about quitting, but also felt and infusion of energy. The all wanted to know how to bring the conference to more people. For many years the country has been torn and the people in the S. want to impact the northern area. When they have something really good in this area they say, 'Maybe next year in Juba.' We are looking for partners and friends to help the S. Sudan team take the Summit to Juba in a major 2 day event that could touch the leaders of the country. They say they need leaders for their country where so many have been lost to civil war. They think this could help the country.
Pictures of the first Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit in S. Sudan. August 2013.