People of Faith: Rich Stearns
- Thursday, January 23, 2003
How do you manage to stay connected with God?
I have daily devotions privately and host World Vision's weekly chapel services. In addition, of course, I attend church regularly with my family.
What is the hardest lesson you've had to learn?
The hardest lesson I have had to learn is that too many people do not care about - or worse yet - choose to ignore the plight of the poor and suffering in our midst and around the world. In this regard, many Christians have not yet been able to answer the question, "Who is my neighbor?" and heed God's commandment to serve those less fortunate. It is a daunting task to change hearts, but I believe that such a commandment is directly linked to the Great Commission.
Who is a personal hero?
What book has had a great impact on your life?
In addition to the Bible, which has had the greatest impact on my life, I would have to say Bob Buford's Halftime, which I read while I was the CEO of Lenox. That book - and the Holy Spirit - helped launch the journey that brought me to World Vision in 1998.
What is the biggest issue facing your ministry - or the church today?
Clearly the biggest issue facing World Vision and the church today is the response to the AIDS pandemic. In Africa, more than 13 million children have been orphaned because one or both of their parents have died of AIDS. Worldwide, the number is more than 14 million, with China, India and Russia being the next "front" in the "war" on AIDS. World Vision has taken on this pandemic - and especially the plight or these orphaned children as a priority. The church, for the most part, has not. If Christians in the United States and throughout the world took on this plague as its most important cause, we could demonstrate the love of Christ in a very real and tangible way.
What do you look forward to in eternity?
I am looking forward to praising the Lord in word, deed and song. Just after I joined World Vision, I attended a special meeting with senior staff from throughout the organization and the international board. At our first plenary session, we each sang "Great is Thy Faithfulness" in our native language. It was very moving and, I believe, was the closest I will get to heaven while on earth.
Learn more about World Vision at www.worldvision.org
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