Each year around October/November the Global Leadership Summit inspires and challenges thousands of people at venues throughout South Africa with practical tools for upgrading their leadership both inside and outside the church.
The Karoo town of Graaff-Reient which held its first GLS last year will host one of 20 summit events around the country on November 3 and 4 — reflecting a trend of extending the event beyond the traditional big centres.
Gateway News asked Richard Bremner leader of Karoo Community Church about their GLS journey.
Bremner’s own spiritual and leadership journey proved interesting. His mother — as an act of faith — dedicated him to the Lord before he was born in 1958 while doctors and clergy prepared her for the expected loss of her baby due to health complications.
Bremner had a happy Christian upbringing and his mother, now 89, told him he would be a minister one day.
But Bremner had his own life plans. In the mid 90s his marriage failed and business conditions were hard and he had not been to church for 15 years.
He recognised his need to return to the Lord and began an intensive spiritual journey that eventually led him to Graaff-Reinet in 2008 — as a Methodist Church minister. In 2012 he founded the Karoo Community Church.
Years before, in Cape Town, he had attended GLS summits which — through the messages, fellowship and networking opportunities — he said always inspired him and encouraged him to become a better leader. In 2012 he reconnected with the GLS — attending the summit hosted at Harvest Christian Church in Port Elizabeth.
It was at the 2012 GLS that he discerned God saying that he needed to bring the GLS to the Karoo.
“As backdrop to this, stationed in ministry in a rural area like the Karoo, is difficult. Rural areas offer very few opportunities for clergy to network, fellowship and access opportunities to develop their leadership, as such opportunities are nearly always offered in major urban areas.
“Local Lay church leadership as well as local business owners, managers too, have few such opportunities. This was my experience and bringing the GLS to the Karoo would serve to powerfully impact the leaders within Church and business alike,” Bremner said.
During this period his church developed ties with Harvest and they joined the Church of The Nations (COTN) family.
“The call to bring the GLS was still there and with the promise of full support from the experienced team at Harvest, Willow Creek SA (WCSA) were courageous in agreeing to launch the first ever rural GLS.
“I also understood that whilst the Karoo Community Church would take responsibility for the GLS, that we wanted it to be owned by all our churches. I saw this as a Kingdom event for the Karoo and believed that it was important that we build on our fellowship and common vision to grow the Kingdom.
“With the support of Harvest, and in particular Andrew Greeff and Mary Villinger, plans were made for our first event which took place in November 2016. Andrew has been extensively deployed by WCSA to assist with the GLS in a number of African states.
“Andrew is an accomplished sound engineer plus more and also a Spirit-led Worship pastor. Andrew served our GLS as the Producer and took responsibility for all the audiovisual aspects of the summit. Some of the Harvest worship team travelled to Graaff-Reinet and were supplemented by members of the AOG church here in Graaff-Reinet,” he said.
While the GLS was unknown in Graaff-Reinet, 200 delegates attended the first event.
“Our volunteer team consisted of 50 people, comprising of members of Harvest, the AOG as well as the Karoo Community Church. The GLS was a truly blessed event and impacted all the delegates as well as those who served,” said Bremner.
Comments from attendees included: “Brilliant!! Please come back to the Karoo! Our leaders at every level desperately need GLS!!!”; “I’ve gained new knowledge and skills.”; I had an absolutely fantastic experience!”; I am so blessed to get the chance to develop in leadership – I have learnt a lot and hope all leaders will change and add value to everyone they lead.”; It changed me – bettered me and challenged me – It’s a privilege to attend. Thank you.”; “Encouraged me to be the leader God created me to be!”; “The summit has been very inspirational to me as I am leading a large number of subordinates at work as a young man. Every session has been an eye-opener to me.”; “Everything about this GLS was truly a blessing. I have been challenged, inspired and convicted. The volunteers were 5 star!”
Registration for all 20 GLS events in South Africa can be completed online at www.willowsaonline.co.za. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.
More information about the GLS is available at www.willowcreeksa.co.za. For the Graaff-Reinet event which will be at the Botanics venue, you can find out more by contacting Richard Bremner on 0837787639 or by visiting firstname.lastname@example.org