What Leaders Can Learn from the Growing Church in Cuba

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Leadership nuggets can come across your path anytime, any place.

If you’re looking for them.

This was one of my huge take-aways from my recent visit to Havana, Cuba, where the Willow Creek Association has been supporting a group of local churches to help develop Christian leaders.

One of the friends I spent time with is Reverend Joel Dopico, the President of the Cuba Council of Churches.

And as he described the current changes in Cuba I was busily jotting down leadership nuggets I was picking up from this tremendous leader.

Scott with Reverend Dopico in front of GLS banner

1. “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality”

This classic quote from Max De Pree is being fully lived out by Reverend Dopico, as evidenced by the passion with which he seeks to clarify the spiritual condition of Cuba.

“Sometimes people in other countries think that Jesus Christ is not in Cuba. He never left Cuba,” Reverend Dopico said, with a warm smile. “Jesus Christ is in Cuba. The Cuban church is a powerful church, it is a growing church. And it is a church that was tested, and a church that has a great testimony of the Spirit of God in our lives.”

2.  Be quick to recognize moments of opportunity; and act fast.

The proposed policy changes discussed by President Obama have obvious implications for the church in Cuba. And Reverend Dopico has been quick to respond.

“This is a very important moment for the church in Cuba,” Reverend Dopico began, “It’s a time of opportunities but it is also a time of challenge. And we need to respond to the call of God.

It’s not just about what we want to do, but it’s about what God wants us to do.”

3.  Opportunities come to those who are prepared

For Reverend Dopico, this means that Christian leaders in Cuba must be equipped now, for whatever new opportunities come in the future.

“It is important that the churches be receiving capacity. It is very important that churches receive training, like the Leadership Summit.”

I came away from my conversation brimming with optimism for the future of the church in Cuba.

And I also came away with a strong reminder that you can find leadership nuggets anytime, and any place.

If you’re looking for them.

the author

Scott Cochrane

Vice President- International, Global Leadership Network. Love Jesus, Nora, Adam & Robin, Amy, Dave, Willow & Olive and John, Fiona & Will. Lifelong learner.


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