Today I’m very pleased to feature this guest post from Gary Schwammlein, the executive vice-president of Willow Creek Association’s International Ministry. In addition to helping to serve church leaders in Canada, Gary works around the world and has a front row seat to see how God is using the Global Leadership Summit to stir up leaders everywhere.
In today’s post Gary reports on a powerful movement of God being unleashed in Uganda, Lithuania, and Norway.
“Creating the Uganda We Need”
What I heard and experienced in Uganda has marked me deeply. The following story came from the GLS held in Northern Uganda. The Summit session by Wess Stafford, “Leveraging Your Past,” has had an indescribable impact on many of the attendees. People in the northeastern part of Uganda have lived in an ongoing war for 20 years, suffering horrible treatment at the hands of rebels and government soldiers alike. After this session, people could not stop offering forgiveness to those who had wronged them. One pastor shared his own story: Groups of soldiers entered his home and raped his wife repeatedly while he was forced to watch and clap his hands while it was happening. She went insane and ran away, never to be seen again. For years he carried hatred in his heart toward these people, but after the “Leveraging Your Past” session he was able to forgive them, and for the first time in many years he was free of hatred and seeking revenge.
As a result of the GLS in Uganda under the overall theme “Creating the Uganda We Need”, many, many people stepped forward to forgive people who had deeply wronged them.
Planning for tomorrow in Lithuania
“This past weekend we had the Global Leadership Summit. Last year we had 300 participants and this year 520. We closed the registration down two weeks before the event because we ran out of space. We had to turn people away. This conference is my dream come true – church leaders, business, and political leaders sit together and learn about servant leadership. It is interesting to note that many non-believing business leaders found the most spiritual talks of the GLS to be the most invigorating and useful. It is becoming an evangelistic tool. The mayor of Klaipeda greeted all participants at the beginning of the event. The choir of the prayer group of the Lithuanian Parliament said that we should think about holding the GLS in the Parliament and promised his full support in doing it. I have never seen such diverse denominational groups having so much fun together. The Holy Spirit worked deeply in the hearts of many. Many churches send their full elder boards and church boards. We laughed and cried together. That was very powerful. Over 100 of the participants have already registered for next year’s conference. That is a very high number for Lithuania, where most people don’t plan for tomorrow, let alone for next year. Praise God. Next year we are planning to do two sites – Klaipeda on November 16-17, and Vilnius on November 23-24.” – GLS leader, Lithuania
Building the Church in Norway
As a result of attending the GLS some years ago, this church started a building program. Very uncommon in Norway. Normally we hear only about churches closing. It will be open for services in January, 2012!“We depend all on the Cross, and in our new church, the Cross actually carries the building. If you take away the Cross, the building/church will fall, collapse. Thank you for all of your effort and struggle to once again bless us in this very important way. You all made a difference!!!! I cannot express how important the GLS is for me personally and for our church.”- GLS leader, Norway
In Africa, Europe, and so many other places around the world, Willow Creek Community Church and the Willow Creek Association have impacted the world in ways that would fill volumes. Thank you to all of you who make it possible. What a gift, that God allows us to play a role in this incredible movement!
Vice President, International
Willow Creek Association
To view the original post on WCA’s blog click here.