Rick Warren meets with Kenyan government leaders on day of cabinet restructure and challenges Church and Business Leaders to unity and renewal in wake

Rick Warren meets with Kenyan government leaders on day of cabinet restructure and challenges Church and Business Leaders to unity and renewal in wake of recent election

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

NAIROBI, KENYA (ANS) -- Pastor Rick Warren completed a 12-day trip to Africa Monday with a whirlwind visit to Nairobi, Kenya, where he met with the vice president and speaker of the House of Parliament and addressed separate groups of top church and business leaders.

Pastor Rick Warren recently outlined his PEACE plan in Nairobi, Kenya.

According to A. Larry Ross Communications, Warren was invited to meet with leadership from both parties on the day President Mwai Kibaki was working to appoint an expanded cabinet of opposition leaders to complete a coalition government in the wake of violence following national elections last December that left 1,500 dead and displaced 300,000 other Kenyans as refugees in their own country.

"God's purpose for this nation is greater than the pain you are going through now," Warren told Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.

"From the outside it looks like pain, but from God's perspective, it looks like labor before new birth. Don't look at what you've lost; look at what is left. Kenya is still a vibrant nation, and out of this will come new life for the country and its people."

Warren then shared with Mr. Musyoka his vision for the P.E.A.C.E Plan through which he is mobilizing volunteers from the U.S. in Rwanda, Uganda and other African nations to address the five global giants of spiritual emptiness, ego-centric leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic disease and crippling illiteracy.

The vice president said that his government would officially welcome that emphasis in his country as well and sealed that invitation with a handshake.

During a subsequent meeting at the Statehouse with Mr. Kenneth Marende, speaker of the house of parliament, Warren outlined biblical principles of leadership and how they apply to Kenya's current crisis. Marende asked Warren to return for a day of training on that curriculum for all Parliamentarians on his next visit to Nairobi.

Warren later encouraged and challenged a group of bishops and denominational heads in the critical leadership opportunity before them.

"It is good to be with the fathers of the church in Kenya, meeting together in harmony and unity when so many things in your country are in crisis," he said. "This could be the Kenyan church's finest hour, and a step toward revival -- not to retreat, not to divide, but to shine.

"We must never let politics or anything else divide us," said Warren. "Our message is, 'Overcome evil with good.' You don't overcome evil by protesting, marching or demonstrating.

"God is softening the hearts of people across this country; don't miss this opportunity by focusing on politics," Warren explained. "There is only one thing that will unite this nation, and it is not politics - it is the Church, your church.

"People are most interested in spiritual things when they are in transition or tension," Warren added. "Don't look at it as a breakdown, but rather as a breakthrough. This opportunity for renewal and revival will depend on where you lead your people. You need to help them lay things down and pray them up and to build bridges, not walls.

Warren concluded: "Despite our different denominations, we need to speak with one voice the answer to this predicament. We need boldness to proclaim love in the midst of hate; unity in the middle of disunity; direction in the center of confusion; understanding where there has been misunderstanding; and forgiveness in the face of hurt and pain."

When the Kenyan church leaders heard about their counterparts in neighboring countries uniting together to make Rwanda and Uganda Purpose Driven nations by conducting "40 Days of Purpose" training in most of their churches, they, too, invited. Warren and his team back to make Kenya the third country to embrace these principles on a national scale.

As he did in both Uganda and Rwanda earlier on the trip, Warren concluded his visit before departing for the U.S. by addressing a dinner of successful business leaders, encouraging them to use their resources and influence for God and for good.

"You don't have to see eye-to-eye to move forward," Warren said. "At this point, what is needed is for someone to absorb the pain. Retaliation only leads to escalation and never makes the problem better. What is needed now is for people to not identify with a particular tribe or party, but with the mantra, 'I am Kenyan.'"

Warren left Nairobi for Washington, D.C., where he will give the closing plenary address at the national preaching conference on Tuesday evening. Next week, April 16 and 17, he will conduct nine pastors' rallies in all five boroughs of New York City in preparation for a city-wide "40 Days of Purpose" campaign in September.

For more information about Rick Warren, including downloadable photos from his Rwanda trip, please visit www.RickWarrenNews.com.

Larry Ross: 972.267.1111
Whitney Kelley: 972.267.1111

** Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent of ANS, is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station. Michael's involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- Michael Ireland Media Missionary (MIMM) -- of ACT International at: Artists in Christian Testimony (ACT) International.