Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will. — Romans 12:2
Last Thursday and Friday here in our hall at GECHAAN we had our very first Global Leadership Summit. You see, for many years Dan and I were privileged to be able to attend a live satellite event and spend two days focusing on building our leadership capacity and skills.
We were listening to Bill Hybels talk about “God’s big task for you” in 2011, when we realized that God was indeed asking us to move out of our comfort zones and do something different. Dan wrote on his piece of broken pottery, “I am willing”, I wrote, “I am willing to stay or go”. Two months later we were asked to pray about coming to Nigeria and we knew that this was where God was leading us on our “big task”. You see the Summit experience has a very special place in our hearts and WE had experienced it before.
We assembled a team in our community to help us get the word out and invite community and church leaders to the event. Dan worked on this for months. We tried to explain the best we could and show our team clips from the summit. But unless you have seen something with your own eyes and truly experienced it, it is hard to explain and equally hard to understand how you can benefit or tell anyone else how they can benefit.
Dan and I were praying for at least a hundred people. We knew people would really benefit from listening and taking notes from such speakers as Bill Hybels, Jim Collins Horst Schulze, Albert Tate, Craig Groeschel. This year, for the first time that we remember there was a Nigerian speaker as well, Sam Adeyemi, the Founder and Senior Pastor of Daystar Christian Centre in Lagos.
Well, Thursday morning bright and early we set up for at least a hundred people. We knew people were really going to benefit and it is always a little interesting doing something totally new (which is the theme of our past couple of years it seems). We started on time and throughout the morning people drifted in. We had 37 people total attend our Global Leadership Summit in Gembu here.
Were we disappointed? At first I think, but the response and way that the participants were so blown away by the quality of speakers and what they learned about leading in their different areas of work was so awesome! To see heads shaking affirmatively and hear their insights was so awesome!
The biggest complaint is that they thought more people should have been there to experience this. Our next summit will be held in November and we believe there will be many there, just from the word of mouth from the people who took our words on faith, that they would gain from this experience.
This is a report on how our first summit experience in Gembu went, but I also have a point for this week as well: One of my favorite sayings from a talk I loved from years ago was, “Pigs don’t know pigs stink”. Think about it, you don’t know what you don’t know! Never take an opportunity that you have to learn for granted. Learn all you can, take the time to process your thoughts and move forward!
This morning over breakfast, Dan and I were talking about the dreams we have for GECHAAN and this area of Nigeria and what the future may hold for us here As we drank coffee, ate oatmeal and banana and laughed and talked, this idea came from our The Daily Love Talk Devotional Book that we read together in the morning by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott.
As we were talking, I was reminded of the goals and dreams that we used to have for ourselves, our family, our ministries, our life. You see, in our Amway days we were introduced to the idea of “dream building”. This was a concept pretty foreign to us at that time because we were kind of stuck in the “survive today” mode of life. Don’t get me wrong, we planned for our future, but we didn’t dream about what we wanted to do or who we wanted to influence, or what we wanted to change in this world. Our biggest dream was keeping our heads above water.
Tomorrow we are hosting the Global Leadership Summit here in Gembu in our hall. This is the first event that we are having strictly for uplifting, encouraging, and training leaders. We have experienced individually, and as a couple the joy of having common goals and dreams and working together to achieve them as a couple. We have also experienced many people inputting positive into our lives and good books and seminars teaching us leadership skills. For many years our dreams were separate and we worked on them separately. There is a beauty and intense satisfaction in working toward a goal together, as a couple and as a family.
I would encourage you married couples out there to find ONE thing that you can do together that you can make a difference in this great big World that God gave us. Sit down and discuss where you see this “dream” going. What can you contribute as a couple. What can you do together at whatever stage of life you are in. If you have young children, what can you do that involves them as well? Teenagers? What can you do as a family to better the world around you? Start teaching your children to dream. Dream about what they would like to see this world look like in the future and dream about the abilities God has given them that can make a difference out there.
My point for today is this: What would happen in your marriage, your family if you just did one thing together to serve others and make a difference in this world? What if you worked together toward the same goal, rather than many scattered, separate goals? What if you were intentional about working toward a common goal together? Are you stuck in survival mode? What can you do to get out of that cycle and get intentional? We are dreaming after 33 years of marriage, it couldn’t get better!
“Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won’t be faithful in large ones. If you cheat even a little, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” Luke 16:10
Servants do every task with equal dedication. Whatever they do, servants “do it with all their heart” Colossians 3:23
Today I want to focus on “the little things”. Here is a picture of our guard dog, Ruthie, you can see the joy on her doggie face as she is chomping on a new bone! She gets fed twice a day, fresh water, but the little treat of a bone just once in a while totally brightens her life!
This got me to contemplating the small things in life. I once supervised a teacher who would not clean up messes, (after leaving pre-schoolers with paint and no supervision) she would not do anything she thought a “teacher” should not do. It was beneath her to clean, change, or do anything else but teach. As you can imagine, this did not sit well with me as that is a small part of working with toddlers!
I believe in WHATEVER we do, we should do it with joy, it should not be beneath any of us to do whatever is needed in any situation in our path. Look at Jesus, HE was the one who washed the disciples feet as an example that no job was too menial for a true servant. As a mother, pre-school teacher, and director of ministries there have been many opportunities to practice this. I have to say, I have not always been the servant that I wished that I was. But God is showing me and growing me in ways I could never imagine in younger years.
People, God is making us into the leaders He wants us to be and I believe that the first step in that process is to be a “servant leader”. I know much has been said about servant leadership, but how much is truly practiced?
My point for today is this: Do you do WHATEVER IT TAKES with a cheerful heart and spirit? Do you do EVERYTHING like you work for the Creator of the Universe? Is there a heart-change or a humbling required?