This past week there was a very special ILI event going on in East Africa. Two simultaneous conferences for pastors and emerging leaders took place in Bujumbura, Burundi. On the second day of the training event, the organizers reported that leaders from rival tribal groups, who have long been enemies, washed each other’s feet (pictured below) as an act of servant leadership. Tears were shed, relationships were mended, and reconciliation took place in a deeply spiritual atmosphere.
A Bit of Recent Burundi History
With a population roughly equal to Belgium, Burundi has been plagued by ethnic violence and political instability since its independence in 1962. In the last couple years, after the election of the country’s president to a third term, which defies the country’s constitution. These circumstances have made it impossible to have regular leadership trainings in the country in the last few years, but as conditions have improved, our team finally decided to organize this event.
In the movie “Remember the Titans,” which is based on real facts, black and white American high school football players come together and unite the community around the sport. There is great opposition and even violent incidents, but in the end, the community comes together to cheer on the courageous young men of the sports team.
In war, soldiers of different races, political persuasions, and religions fight alongside each other against a common enemy and to protect each other’s lives. To the soldier on the frontline, whose life is in danger, the color of the skin or religious affiliation of the man who watches his back matters very little.
ILI is not a ministry specialized in promoting Church unity, but under the banner of ILI, leaders of the most diverse denominations come together to be equipped to accelerate the spread of the Gospel. This is one of the beautiful side-effects of the ILI vision and Eight Core Values.
Common Vision and Common Goals
ILI is not a tribal reconciliation ministry, but when faithful and passionate leaders get together around one common vision – to accelerate the spread of the Gospel, and a common mission – to train and mobilize leaders of leaders to reach the lost, walls that separate us mean little and come down.
Many things try to separate us, create division, and erect walls to divide us. Biblical visionary leadership can unite us despite our differences as it focuses our minds and hearts in the pursuit of a common goal that comes directly from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself – to build the Kingdom of God on Earth.