ImageRecently I had the privilege to be part of a team who facilitated the MANI Emerging Leaders Gathering (ELG) for Southern Africa. It has indeed been an enriching experience as we explored the uniqueness of the ELG, how it relates to previous and coming generations, and how it sees itself in relation to Global Evangelisation.

Young people from various regions across Southern Africa gathered for two days in Pretoria under the banner of MANI – Movement for Africa National Initiatives. Their goal was to learn from each other, and to produce a continuous working document on who the ELG of Southern Africa is. This was done in relation to a broader strategy established in March this year when a small group of us gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to establish the Africa ELG network. The Southern Africa gathering was the first of five(5) regional gatherings that will take place in the coming months.

Although a thorough report will be released soon, I can share a few interesting discoveries:

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Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 3.44.22 PMRecently as I was stranded in Nairobi for three(3) days, I woke up at four in the morning to switch on the TV to see if there are any news on the fire that destroyed the International Arrivals Hall of the Nairobi Airport. Browsing between the few channels available I ended up watching an interview on Al Jazeera with Reza Aslan, author of the book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Provoked by his views and findings about Jesus, and the obvious hyped created by the devastating Fox interview he had a few days prior, I downloaded the book on my iPad and started to read.

With limited internet access available I tried to get a better understanding of who Aslan is, where he comes from, and why his obsession with Jesus; after all he claims to be a Muslim. In the opening of his book he explains how he founded Jesus at fifteen years of age and later converted to Islam due to, according to him, the more accurate way in which Islam describes God. Born in Iran and moved to the USA at age seven(7), Aslan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religions, a Masters of Theological Studies, a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa’s Writers Workshop, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction. He received his Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology, focusing in the history of religion, from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
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IMG_3300Heading back south I am compelled to reflect on what was to be one of the more interesting, yet unexplainable experiences ever. I am reminded of the words from a lecturer during mission training who said “when experiencing the unexpected, pause and ask why?”

For three days Christo and I were stuck in Nairobi as we were heading to Cameroon when the airport was on fire just as we arrived to catch our connecting flight. Fascinated by the experience we sad there most of the morning taking photos and making our own short video. Throughout the morning various media agencies approached as for photos, our stories, the experiences we had, and questioning as about our next steps from here. It was our moment of fame as news agencies such as BBC, CNN, KTN, Sky News, Al Jazeera, SABC and many other requested permission to interview us. My Facebook page quickly became a reference point as I posted the progress of the fire spreading through the building on regular intervals.

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EthiopiaDuring a recent visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I had the privilege of being part of the launching of an Emerging Leadership Network for Africa. This is a huge step in the right direction as I strongly believe the time for Africa to stand up and take its rightful place in the world of global missions has arrived.

Under the covering, leadership and guidance of the Movement for Africa National Initiatives (MANI), five of us gathered for three days to share stories from our own regions and our desire to see a more unified voice on the continent. On Saturday we had the opportunity to meet a group of younger leaders from Ethiopia and heard how they too desire a more unified platform from where they can be more effective in that which they are already doing.

Although much can be said on our time together, I thought it good to post a few comments made by these younger leaders as they viewed the way forward as an Emerging Leadership Generation (ELG).

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salt_of_the_earth11One of the more discussed topics currently circulating the mission world is that of the ‘global north vs the global south’. With many referring to the global south now leading the way as to how missions are to be done, the question from those in the global north are what their responsibility heron forward should be.

Calisto Odede of Nairobi, Kenya, refers to the people of the south as the ‘people from the 11th hour’. Reading from Matthew 20, he acknowledge the great momentum people from the north gave in spreading the gospel amongst those in the south. However, although those who came early have been part of the mission movement much longer, their responsibility is not greater than those who arrived on the 11th hour. As those of the south start to take their responsibility within God’s mission movement, they are not to be seen as late comers, but us fellow workers who are to receive the same payment at the end.

Stories of great missionary legends such as David Livingstone are well known in mission circles around the world, which is great. But how many people know the names of ‘Chuma’ and ‘Susi’? The unknown heroes who carried his body for five month to the coast where it was then taken to Britain. We would not have known about the story if it wasn’t for these two men; people from the 11th hour.

The situation in the South is changing, very quickly. The question is not as much how the global north is to adapt, or what the south is about to do, but rather how we are to ensure the gospel is taken from everywhere to everywhere?
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limp-bookEvery now and then I come across a book that forces me to stop, and reflect on my current leadership style; ‘Leading with a Limp’ is one of them. Most of the time people are encouraged to lead from a place of strength. Admitting to one’s weaknesses and struggles are often seen as inappropriate in our western culture, however Allender challenges this worldview. His book ‘Leading with a Limp’ reminds us that “if you are a leader, you’re in the battle of your life,” and therefore leading from your point of weakness might just be the edge you need. Allender summarizes it as follow, “to the degree you face and name and deal with your failures as a leader, to that same extent you will create an environment conducive to growing and retaining productive and committed colleagues”.

Married with three children, Dan B. Allender is the founder of Mars Hill Graduate School, Seattle. Previously served as the president, he is a professor in counseling, a therapist in private practice, and a popular speaker. He is the author of numerous books including ‘To Be Told’, ‘How Children Raise Parents’, ‘The Healing Path’, and ‘The Wounded Heart’.
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I just love the way John Adair begins his book by setting the parameters of his personal understanding of leadership. It is as if he invites you on a journey into the unknown, and explains the way you are going to get there. “It is the art of influencing a body of people to follow a certain course of action; the art of controlling them, directing them and getting the best out of them. A major part of leadership is Man-Management

‘How to Grow Leaders’ is an experiential story of Adair’s “personal odyssey” in his discovering of leadership. With many years of experience and often referred to as “one of Britain’s foremost authorities on leadership in organisations”, Adair recently received the title of Honorary Professor in recognition of his ‘outstanding research and contribution in the field of Leadership’ by the People’s Republic of China. Being the first professor in Leadership Studies at the University of Surrey, he has been the author of more than 30 books on the subject of leadership.
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