“Wow! What an experience!” says Pastor Gladwin Prince, reflecting on the April 9 Lead Like Jesus Encounter in Gauteng, South Africa. “This past weekend stirred so many emotions and brought the realization of our need to emulate Christ’s example to the forefront.”
Pastor Gladwin says that while the entire event was impactful, there was one particular exercise that was especially profound in his own life. Toward the end of the Encounter, each of the 48 church, community and corporate leaders in attendance were asked to consider one thing they would have liked to have heard in their past – whether that was from a parent, teacher, pastor or other leader. He was amazed as one-by-one, these seemingly confident men and women expressed words of acceptance, acknowledgement or love they had always longed to hear.
“This was a very emotional experience,” says Gladwin. “I sensed there were many delegates with deep hurt caused by various factors in their past. However, the restorative grace from our Heavenly Father made it possible for many (if not all) to be delivered from the chains that had kept them in bondage until then. The release, forgiveness, acceptance, etc., was very evident after that exercise.”
He was so touched by the event, that Pastor Gladwin was inspired to share that same hope-filled message with his congregation the following Sunday.
“God released in my spirit the importance of relationships at home, with a particular focus on that of the father with his offspring,” explains Pastor Gladwin. And just as had happened in the Encounter, he was amazed to see God at work in his church.
“Here again, evidence of deep hurt was witnessed, especially amongst our teenage sons who were wrestling with absent fathers or fathers with no or little interest in family life.”
Gladwin continues to be in awe of the way God has used the Encounter to speak into his own life – and how it has inspired and equipped him to share that transformation with others.
“I believe that God is taking us on a path of restorative grace, where we can correct our past failures and have a walk and talk that is more Christ-like,” says Gladwin. “This is a journey and not the destination. I believe the restoring process has started in all earnest, and that God is preparing us for great things to come.”