Thanks so much for your prayers! We had 21 students from Recife and the greater metropolitan area and even a group of five from Rio de Janeiro for our first online leadership training seminar!
As I’ve mentioned before the International Leadership Institute (ILI) equips and trains leaders in their eight core values of Intimacy With God, Passion For The Harvest, Visionary Leadership, Culturally Relevant Evangelism, Multiplication Of Leaders, Family Priority, Faithful Stewardship, Integrity.
With the help of co-workers like Bio Nascimento and a group of pastors I meet with in a mentoring group we have been organizing and hosting ILI retreats in our region since 2014. Normally these retreats are held at a campsite or center where we’ll have a large meeting room for the lessons as well as breakout small group encounters to apply the ILI principals in our personal lives. It’s a very effective way to make sure the values we are sharing really take hold in a practical way.
With all the restrictions of quarantine due to the Covid19 crisis we had to reorganize plans for our spring retreat. By God’s grace, with just a couple of weeks of reorganization and training in using the Zoom online conferencing application we were able to connect with these 21 leaders from Recife and Rio de Janeiro.
Like all of you I have found the quarantine restrictions limiting and frustrating in many ways. But, as we prayerfully seek guidance I know the Lord will show us new ways to minister and serve, and often with some amazing benefits. One of the serendipities of an online conference like this one is leaders from locations with limited resources were able to connect with our seminar and many who might never have been able to participate in an ILI were able to do so.
The group of pastors I meet with weekly (currently online meetings), faced a bit of a challenge transitioning to teaching through an online platform. With some practice sessions they adapted to this new model and are already seeing how online meetings like this will allow us to take training, equipping and mentoring resources to church leaders we might only have been able to connect with once or twice a year.
Obviously we’re all looking forward to getting back to face to face personal encounters. Online mentoring and discipleship isn’t a substitute for personal contact. But, we’re seeing how it can be a useful addition to our ministry toolbox. I’d like to give a special thanks to Mike Oakes who got me to my first ILI seven years ago and also began hosting Zoom meetings with our missionaries long before the quarantines hit. Mike, you paved the way for a lot of this to happen!
Elecir Brito, one of the participants from Rio de Janeiro helps coordinate missionaries for a missions organization planting churches in Europe. Their group already has plans to host an online ILI in the next month and will possibly roll out this training to their missionaries all over the continent. Praise the Lord!
Thanks again for all your prayers and support!