One of the most remarkable speakers at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit was Sam Adeyemi, founder and senior pastor of the Daystar Christian Centre in Nigeria. My expectations were not high. Of the ten richest pastors in the world, five are Africans and they are all Nigerians. This seems to be a predominant model for the way they do church in Nigeria!
Under Adeyemi’s leadership, Daystar Christian Centre grew from a handful of people in 1995 to more than 25,000 people weekly—with highly recognized community impact projects. Adeyemi founded Daystar Leadership Academy which is dedicated to releasing a new generation of leaders who will serve as catalysts in the transformation of Africa and the world.
You can read comprehensive notes on Pastor Adeyemi’s message at this link, but let me summarize two key ideas he shared.
First, Adeyemi understood that Christ was saying to him, “You will not find the definition of success for your ministry until you help the people I sent to you to succeed.” What a wonderful summary statement of servant leadership! The servant leader’s success is not measured by the number of people they lead but by the number of people they serve.
Second, he pointed out that “the object of leadership for many leaders is their own success, but the object of Christ’s leadership was the success of his followers.” In fact, Jesus said:
“ Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; . . . . Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:11-13, NIV)
Jesus desires that his followers not only do what he has done but that they multiply his ministry throughout the world. The work did not conclude with the ministry of Jesus but only started there. Like Jesus, the effective Christian leader seeks to empower those he or she serves to “do even greater things.”
Adeyemi concluded with this challenge: “If you seek a vision that will only benefit you, your vision will be small. If you seek a vision that will benefit a city, a nation, or a generation, you will receive a grander vision!”
Powerful words and a powerful message.