In September of this past year, Jana and I announced that we sensed God had called us to return to the USA to build ROC as a missionary sending organization. Since then a question in many of our minds is succession. How will CCR be led in our absence? If you have been with us at CCR we are preaching a series on “Calling.” In that series you are getting a sneak peak at the Bible texts our leaders have been wrestling through. We have been praying and meeting in small groups and as individuals to craft a succession plan. The time has come to reveal the plan.
Please turn with me to the book of Acts. Jesus tells his apostles “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).” Then the journey begins. Through the power of the Holy Spirit the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection is proclaimed through the world. Chapters come and go.
Acts closes with an awkward moment in Acts 28. Paul is under house arrest waiting trial in Rome. We are never told in Acts what happens. Our journey of faith is like this. My favorite commentators write that Acts closes with an unfinished story because we are still living in this age of unfinished stories. Paul closes with these words, “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen (Acts 28:29!”
This is the message. The gospel is being proclaimed. Human beings will move. We will come and go. Yet the Gospel will continue to be proclaimed until Jesus returns to this earth. Now we are in an awkward close of a chapter. The story is not over, but the journey continues. We live out the closing chapters of Acts today.
Steve Clark from our ROC Board in Oklahoma City is with us today. ROC is a young missionary sending organization. In many ways we have yet to fully discover what God has called us to. However, it is obvious we are too few and have too little resources for all that God has called us to do.
Let me ask for the ROC team to stand. You will notice we are just five missionary family units – Jamie Boiles, the Hixsons, the Jenkins, the Lindens, and the Shrecks.
This is the reason my family is leaving Rwanda. In order for all God intends to do to be accomplished we must leave and another must rise. Also, we must find more people and resources to join us in Rwanda. One of the primary reasons my family is locating in Chicago is because it is a city where Diaspora cluster. We hope we will grow partnering with Diaspora to build Rwanda.
As you can see these five families are far too few to do all the required work. ROC needs at least 10 to 20 missionary family units. In order for that to happen ROC needs a Team Leader responsible for nurturing the team and building a broad vision. I believe Bryan Hixson is the best choice to serve as the ROC team leader. I believe Holly’s passion for prayer and worship will nurture the team.
Also, since Alexis Hixson is with us let me say a word of blessing. Watch Alexis Hixson. History tells us that it is usually the children of missionaries who God uses to most show His glory. Watch Alexis Hixson. I believe God will work powerfully through her future life.
If you agree with me that the Hixsons are the best choice to serve as ROC Team Leader please join me in saying, “We need you mzee.”
“We need you mzee.”
In coming weeks you will see in certain ways less of Bryan and I. I will preach less. ROC needs to grow. In the process we will be less so ROC can be more. I will fulfill my constitutional responsibility at CCR and then relinquish CCR leadership to others.
Leading ROC is not the same as leading CCR. Churches thrive when they have a Vision Bearer. They struggle when no one is empowered to chart a vision forward. I believe in order for CCR to thrive it must have a Vision Bearer. I believe Brett Shreck is the best choice to lead CCR forward as the Senior Pastor.
The founding idea of CCR was a conversation Jana and I had in 1999 with the then Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Angelina Muganza. Her suggestion was for us to plant an English based church with a good children’s and youth program for Rwandans who had been scattered and returned to Rwanda. This was our founding vision. Brett and Keli have made that vision a reality by shepherding our children’s program.
Core to the CCR Vision is the idea of Spoken For. Can CCR develop a network of families who can immediately foster children in vulnerable situations until a long term forever family is found? Brett and Keli have taken this vision on in a very practical way. When a child was abandoned outside of our estate, the Shrecks said, “Yes, we will help.”
The future of CCR is in our youth. I believe CCR needs to be led by men with gray hair who embrace Rwanda’s youth and simply ask them to follow. A little less than two years ago, Brett was playing basketball and tore his Achilles tendon. For the last few months you will find Brett in the evenings at CCR playing basketball with young men. This takes courage.
You will notice that Brett and I have different personalities and spiritual gifts. This is how God makes us and it is for His glory. Brett is a skilled administrator. If you look in my office you will notice clutter. I believe CCR needs leadership that can provide greater organization. I believe Brett Shreck is the best choice for the role of CCR Senior Pastor.
If you agree with me that the Shrecks are the best choice to serve as the New CCR Senior Pastor please join me in saying, “We need you mzee.”
“We need you mzee.”
Next I would like to draw your attention to some other areas of essential CCR growth. First, we need to do a second service to handle growth. On our big attendance Sundays it is almost impossible to comfortably fit everyone. Our youth prefer a worship experience a little different from those of us a bit seasoned. Some also prefer to come to CCR at a different time. Though stretching us our second service is essential. Our second worship service at CCR would not have happened without Rusty’s leadership.
Also, as our numbers have grown we have a much greater need for community groups. Our pastors on staff cannot shepherd all the people who gather at CCR. Nor can all of us be known without a smaller more intimate gathering. I believe Rusty Linden is our best choice to lead CCR in areas of worship and community groups.
Some may see Rusty as young. However, he is the age I was at when people in this region first started calling me, “Mzee.”
If you agree with me that the Lindens are the best choice to serve as the CCR Pastor of Worship and Community Groups please join me in saying, “We need you mzee.”
“We need you mzee.”
Now let me share a secret with all of you. When our CCR leaders are meeting the one with the greatest spiritual gifts of vision bearing is our Youth Pastor, Moses Mbabaali. He has the greatest ability to sit quietly in a discussio
n, and then explain where Rwanda is going, what CCR must look like to meet Rwanda’s Vision, and practically
what CCR must do today to reach our future vision. Moses continues to convince me that the future of Rwanda led by our current youth will be very good. Those of us with gray hair must nurture the youth of Rwanda.
Moses will continue in the role of pastoring our youth, but will be nurtured for even greater leadership. He will preach more often and offer more vision guidance. We will place more leadership
responsibilities in his hands. We will also do this for our CCR youth.
If you agree with me that the Moses represents the future of CCR and we desire to nurture his leadership gifts join me in saying, “We need you mzee
“We need you mzee.”
I present to you, your new CCR leadership.