Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, and author of The Purpose Driven Life, announced plans earlier this week at a press conference in Kigali, Rwanda, to host an unprecedented gathering of pastors and church leaders from all 54 African nations in conjunction with a national day of Thanksgiving next year.
The All Africa Purpose Driven Church Congress, which is planned for August 6-10, 2015, will be held during Rwanda Shima Imana, a relatively new celebration in Rwanda, a “Day of Thanksgiving” to celebrate reconciliation and gratitude on the anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.
The conference will be the first of five annual continent-wide conferences to take place by 2020, with the second planned to be held in Latin America in 2016, organizers said.
“I have been to Rwanda many times but this is by far my most important trip,” said Warren. “This week I am bringing over 100 leaders from 30 African nations as well as Russia, China, India and the U.S. I want them to see what is happening in this country and to see the growth, development and progress that has been made in both this nation and its churches as we prepare for the 2015 gathering.”
Warren explained how the idea for The PEACE Plan was birthed in 2003 while he was speaking in South Africa, but two years later following a call from His Excellency Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda, it became a reality as the country became the first Purpose Driven nation.
“I have been working with and watching the churches of Rwanda for nearly 10 years, and I believe now is the time for them to be a model to the world,” Warren said. “It would be just like God to take a small nation like Rwanda on which the world turned its back 20 years ago in its greatest need and use it for God and for good.”
Warren emphasized that as leadership training begins this week in Rwanda and continues in 2015 with the continent-wide gathering, it will emphasize reconciliation, with Rwandan leaders sharing their stories of forgiveness and healing following the 1994 genocide, which took the lives of 1 million Rwandans and left 1 million children orphaned over the course of 100 days.
“I believe the secret to Middle East peace is in Rwanda,” said Warren. “World leaders should be studying Rwanda. This should be the model.”
The 12 pastors who serve on the Rwanda PEACE Plan Board of Directors joined Warren for today’s press conference along with eight of more than 25 leaders that serve as Master Trainers for PEACE.
“These men, whether you realize it or not, are world leaders,” Warren said. “What they are doing with churches in Rwanda is being watched by churches all around the world.”
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SOURCE: The Christian Post