One Regent University doctoral student recently had the opportunity to encourage and influence thousands of Christian leaders across the world. Sam Adeyemi, ’17 (School of Business & Leadership) brought his church and ministry planting experience, and his passion for leadership, to center stage at the Willow Creek Association’s (WCA) 2015 Global Leadership Summit in August. A committee selected him to speak after hearing recommendations from those who attended past conferences and considering the leadership success of Adeyemi’s Daystar Ministries in Nigeria.
“I spoke on crushing the power chasm, the gap that exists between leaders and followers,” said Adeyemi. “Jesus lived in that kind of a culture where the powerful were very powerful and the powerless were very powerless. He crushed the power gaps between men and women, between adults and children, between leaders and followers. Power distance leaves followers with low self-esteem. They are unable to share their views. The leaders themselves are not accountable and run into scandals. I challenged everyone to rush those power gaps and give power away to their followers.”
Adeyemi shared this message from the conference’s broadcast site in Chicago. According to WCA, the two-day summit reaches more than 260,000 leaders in 700 cities across the world. Eventually, the program is converted into 45 different languages. Since 1995, the conference has sought to inspire, encourage and equip Christian leaders to create thriving local churches that are passionate about redeeming their communities for Christ.
“The Global Leadership Summit is one of the most strategic initiatives we engage in when it comes to our own leadership development,” said Bill Hybels, WCA. “No matter where you lead, the summit is a world-class experience to help you get better and embrace your grander, God-designed vision.”
Such a vision began for Adeyemi in 1994. That’s when he planted Daystar Ministries, a church to help people in Nigeria discover their potential so they could become role models and serve as examples to society. What started with 100 people slowly took off. It was when Adeyemi began focusing on training leaders, that the church’s scope of impact began to expand. Today, Daystar Christian Ministries is home to 25,000 church-goers on four Sunday morning services.
The church also offers leadership training to its members. Some have gone on to start their own, fast-growing ministries. Others have become leadership consultants who train church leaders. When Adeyemi sought to sharpen his own leadership skills, he turned to Regent University. To build upon his master’s degree, he enrolled into Regent’s online Doctorate of Strategic Leadership program.
“…The curriculum is practical,” said Adeyemi. “We are being trained to be consultants to organizations. The faculty are just exceptional, and of course, we learn with a biblical foundation, and that is priceless. When you are a believer in God and the Bible, the Bible is the most powerful leadership book in the world; what you want to be able to see is how the Bible applies to a contemporary issue.”
Adeyemi plans to graduate in 2017and continue his mission to create leading role models and change his nation’s culture. He says the Daystar Leadership Academy is already accomplishing this mission. It holds conferences and workshops in many areas of influence. Members have started schools. Others work in industry, music, comedy, acting, science and technology.
Adeyemi has put together a 20-year plan to serve as a leadership consultant for churches and government. He encourages other Christians to do the same, integrating the person and values of Christ to change the world.