Pastor Rick Warren announces plans for the All Africa Purpose
Driven Church Congress to be held Aug. 6-10, 2015. Warren made the announcement during a press conference held in Kigali, Rwanda, Aug. 11, 2014.
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest,
California, and author of The Purpose Driven Life , announced
plans earlier this week at a press conference in Kigali, Rwanda,
to host an unprecedented gathering of pastors and church
leaders from all 54 African nations in conjunction with a national day of Thanksgiving next year.
The All Africa Purpose Driven Church Congress, which is
planned for August 6-10, 2015, will be held during Rwanda
Shima Imana, a relatively new celebration in Rwanda, a "Day of
Thanksgiving" to celebrate reconciliation and gratitude on the
anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.
The conference 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, organizers said.
"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."
President of Rwanda, His Excellency Paul Kagame,(R) joined
Pastor Rick Warren Saturday evening for Kwibuka 20, a special
service at Saddleback Church to honor the victims of the Rwanda
genocide 20 years later and celebrate the partnership and efforts of The PEACE Plan in Rwanda over the past 10 years, April 26, 2014.
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
"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, according to church officials. 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
"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
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.
The media site AllAfrica.com reports that Rwanda Shima Imana
is a national Christian Thanksgiving Day and was "inaugurated
in 2012, by Peace Plan, a brainchild of Pastor Warren, with a
presence in most Christian churches in Rwanda."
"It is a day when believers come together to thank God for the
progress made in the country and the Church so far," according
The 3rd annual Thanksgiving crusade is this Sunday (Aug. 17),
at the Amahoro stadium. Warren is a member of the Rwanda
Presidential Advisory Council and would like to see Rwanda
Shima Imana a public holiday, "just as [Thanksgiving] is in some
other countries, including the US, Japan, and the Netherlands,"
"It is my prayer that this day becomes a national holiday just as
it is in some parts of the world," Warren said. "Twenty years
after the Genocide, we are now a new Rwanda. We have seen the
country develop and have nothing to hold against God, other
than celebrating what He has done for our country."