Pastor Rick Warren Announces Historic 2015 All Africa Purpose Driven Church Conference in Rwanda
Event to be first of five continent-wide gatherings by 2020
KIGALI, Rwanda, August 11, 2014 – Dr. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California and best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life, today announced at a press conference in Kigali, Rwanda plans to host the All Africa Purpose Driven Church Congress August 6-10, 2015.
This historic and unprecedented gathering of pastors and church leaders from all 54 African nations, will be held in conjunction with Rwanda Shima Imana, a Day of Thanksgiving to celebrate reconciliation and gratitude on the anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. It 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.
“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.”
The PEACE Plan works worldwide to Promote reconciliation, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick and Educate the next generation, through a massive effort to mobilize millions of Christians to combat the five global evil giants of spiritual emptiness, self-centered leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic disease and illiteracy/education. Since its founding, Saddleback has sent over 23,000 members to implement The PEACE Plan in all 197 nations of the world.
“Most nations are validated by their strength in exports; Rwanda can become famous for exporting leadership,” Warren said. “Rwanda should be the leadership and innovation capital of the continent of Africa. That is why I am calling leaders from across the continent to come to Rwanda next year to learn. The strength of Rwanda is not in the ground; it’s in the people.”
Through The PEACE Plan in Rwanda, Saddleback Church has worked together with the public, private and faith sectors of the nation – what it calls the three-legged stool of churches, government and businesses – to help lower the poverty rate, empty orphanages, provide healthcare, train pastors and provide education.
“What makes The PEACE Plan unique is that it is done by local churches, in local churches, in the community,” said Warren. “I could take you to 10 million villages around the world where the only thing there is the church. The church is the biggest organization on the planet and has most potential to do good if mobilized.”
Over 3,200 pastors have completed a three-year intensive training in the purpose-driven PEACE Plan. These churches now offer everything from micro-savings clubs to preschools to programs training farmers how to double their crops on the same amount of land.
For more information about Saddleback’s work in Rwanda or The PEACE Plan, visit http://www.saddleback.com or http://www.thepeaceplan.com. For additional information about Rwanda Shima Imana, visit http://www.shimaimana.rw.
Founded in 1980 by the Warrens, Saddleback Church has nine locations throughout Southern California, four international campuses, as well as an online campus, and is one of the most influential churches in the nation.
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