Friday Session 4: Sam Adeyemi

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One of my favorite aspects of GLS is how it introduces westerners to world class non western leaders. Several years ago, Sam Adeyemi spoke at GLS. I had never heard of him before and was blown away by his leadership teaching. I was excited to hear from Sam again and he did not disappoint. 

– In leadership,  you don’t attract who you want, you attract who you are.

– Leadership works when there is alignment between the sense of identity of the leader and that of the followers.

– If a group of robbers had the opportunity to elect a leader, would they elect a police man? No, they would elect a more experienced and sophisticated robber. The policeman’s ability to help a robber transition from robber to citizen is what leadership is about – leading them to someone they have never been before.

– The miracle of leadership is this internal change. At this point, I was saying, “Thank you God for a GLS speaker who is showing the power of the gospel and how it fits leadership.” I missed a couple of sessions on Thursday, but from my experience Sam was the first speaker to show the power of the gospel to transform AND also the first to show that all leadership starts with heart transformation. 

– Unleashing the potential of followers, especially those who are ‘less than ideal’ is the miracle of leadership.  Yaas! Gospel alert! Jesus was all about transforming the ‘less than ideal.’ I am a ‘less than ideal.’ 

– Real and sustainable change in people’s life begins with a change in their sense of identity.  In Christ you are a new creation. The old has gone. The new has come. Please excuse me while I go find some tissues. 

– One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is a new belief they have about himself or herself.

– ‘Sometimes where you are used to is not where you belong to. What you believe is where you belong.’ Sam is talking about the power of poverty and trauma to condition people into a rigid way of seeing themselves, but how none of us belong ‘where we are used to being.’ Powerful stuff.

– People have self limiting beliefs that have been shaped by history and experiences. Changing people from the inside out makes leadership truly transformational.

– Matt 13:15: ‘See with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and then I will heal them.’  Whatever people see and hear consistently over time will enter their hearts and put their lives on autopilot.

– To change hearts, change what people see and hear. I’m thinking of our friends in Kenya and Compton who live this. 

— Describe your vision over and over. We should all have new identities in your vision. I like that Sam made sure we understood that the leader, too, has a new identity in the vision. 

– ‘Never push anyone because of me. If you’re going to push anyone, push me.’ Sam is speaking about African honor culture and how it infects African churches – people all defer to the pastor, the pastor has huge power to the point that he can have “security” push people out of the way as he walks down an aisle. This is huge – we kept bumping into this in Kenya and it is so destructive. 

– Seeing a big crowd makes you think you are a big guy. It is not because I am special that they are here. It is because they are special that I am here.

Some final tips:

1. set up a structured training system. Is your training system capable of creating the ideal people to fulfill the vision? Restructure your training to accomplish the vision through people.

2. Follow me as I follow Christ. Paul had a high standard and asked his people to reach a high standard. As you grow, tell your followers

3. Reinvent yourself over and over. You die at one level to evolve to another.

– In my culture, many pastors struggle to hand over power. But we train people, release them, bless them, we say to our church people, ‘if yo feel led to go with them, go with them. You are still part of us. We are all in this together.’

The GLS then transitioned to yet another excellent, profound, moving testimony, this one featuring a brave bishop in Milwaukee who stepped into a riot situation with the power of peace. 

– ‘God did not take our fear away, but he gave us his grace.’

Also, this from Bill Hybels, ‘if you’re not giving to your local church, don’t give to this, your first obligation is to your local church and then you can give to other things.’

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