While my day to day focus is on the poor, homeless, and chemically dependent, I know how vital it is for the expansion of the Kingdom that godly leaders be raised up to take the Gospel further in our time and to carry on in future generations the work we are doing now. Today’s post is about one of the ways we are working to accomplish that urgent task here in the Northeast of Brazil.
In the fall of 2013 Mike Oakes persuaded me to attend my first International Leadership Institute (ILI) conference in Rio de Janeiro. I had never heard of the ILI, wasn’t real clear on what the conference had to offer, and frankly didn’t think I had time to spare in my agenda for a five day conference, even one for leaders. I will always be thankful to Mike for getting me to that conference.
The ILI is an international non-denominational organization that hosts renewal conferences for leaders based around eight core biblical values:
– Intimacy with God
– A passion for the harvest
– Visionary leadership
– Culturally relevant evangelism
– Multiplication of leaders
– Family Priority
– Faithful stewardship
Through ILI conferences local leaders are encouraged and challenged to look to their own lives and how they are living out these biblical values and where they can improve. With sound, biblical teaching and a dynamic group interaction they discover how they can begin to grow again in Christ. But before those eight values are taken back to the local congregation, the aim is for the leaders themselves to look at their own walk with the Lord and see how they can improve at living out those core values in their own lives.
In every ILI conference I have been a part of I have seen faithful, godly servant leaders open up about how much they needed to work on their own intimacy with God and rekindle their passion for the lost. They rediscover the need to disciple and multiply gifts of leadership in others, to be more present and involved with their own families, more faithful in how they use their resources, and to renew their commitment to walk in integrity with the Lord.
I was so impressed with the experience I had at my first ILI in Rio that I volunteered to host an ILI in Recife the following year. By the Lord’s grace and with financial help from Mike Oakes and the ILI’s team in the U.S. we held our first conference in Recife in 2014. We had 40 participants. Since then we have hosted five other ILI conferences in Recife and inland with a total of over 150 participants to date.
The participants have ranged from pastors, elders and missionaries, to ministry leaders and monitors in the Christland program. We’ve had leaders from over a dozen different denominations participate.
You can imagine the potential for doctrinal conflicts in a gathering that diverse. Well, you would be amazed at the unity around those eight core values when the focus is not on how we are going to convince others of one position or another, but on how we are going to first live out more fully and more faithfully our personal walk with the Lord, our responsibility to our families, to use effectively the resources our Lord has given us, to reach the countless lost in our generation, and then to prayerfully help equip and inspire others to do the same.
If you know a church leader who could use a renewal retreat, I would encourage you to consider helping them to attend an ILI conference. Conferences are held literally all over the world and in many cities in the U.S. throughout the year. You can find out where on their site. If I can be of any help please let me know.
“Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” – Matthew 9:38
If the Kingdom is to grow, not only in this generation but in future ones, we need leaders who first walk in intimacy and integrity with the Lord, then call others to follow Him as well. The International Leadership Institute seminars are one of the ways we are contributing to that vital task. Thanks again for your prayers for our ministry!
Grace and peace,