leadership summit, day one

I thoroughly enjoyed the Willow Creek Leadership Summit today.  Nine of us from Cityview are attending the simulcast at Coquitlam Alliance Church.  As always it took me a while to get adjusted to watching it on the big screen, but I settled into it about 30 minutes in.  At the end of the day I do wish that more of our leadership could have the opportunity to experience this together.  I deeply appreciate the earnestness and zeal for Jesus and for the leadership gift that can be caught from the staff of Willow.

I won’t try to summarize all of the content of the bio’s of each presenter.  You can get the bio of each presenter here.  

Bill Hybles started off slow but admitted as much.  Again I was moved by the content but also by the depth of care and passion he and others demonstrated for each other and for Jesus.  His focus was on HOW leaders make decisions.  “Leadership is about decision making.”  Indeed.  He presented a four-part framework that leaders use. 

  1. Does the Bible say anything about the matter?
  2. What would smart advisers advise?
  3. p/g/e  What have I learned from past Pains, Gaines, and Experiences?
  4. What is the Spirit prompting in me?

From there Bill moved onto the compression of learnings into short pithy phrases accelerate decision making for leaders.  He called these Axioms; which by the way is also the title of his most recent book.  But before considering the axioms, a few things that I took away from his talk.

I would like to journel more or chronicle not just my devotions and study, but also my decision-making processes and events.  In this way I can capture more of the voice of my own heart as I interact with God, His Word, His church, and His world.

Make a “trial decision” before d-day and “live with the decision” for a few days; does it bring life and peace or worry and anxiety?

When it (a decision) works well, thank everyone involved.  When a decision does not go well, blame no one; instead, take full responsibility–so learning can happen.

Axioms can influence the shaping of an organization’s culture by becoming code for values, behaviours, attitudes, and experiences that learn from the past but create desirable futures.

I am very challenged byGary Haugen’s talk.  Gary is the founder and direction or International Justice Ministry.  Wow!  “Leadership that matters to God is leadership that in endeavors that actually mater to God.”  Do Jesus and I actually share an interest in the same thing?  1.  God’s passion for the world.  2.  God’s passion for justice.

It is difficult for the world to believe that God is good because their life is filled with so much pain.  God’s plan for helping them know that He is good…is us.   “Let you light so shine before me that when they see your good deeds they will praise their Father in heaven.”

Injustice.  The Bible has in mind a particular kind of sin.  An abuse of power; to take from others life, liberty, dignity, and the fruit of their life and labours.  God has give us the work of justice.  If you want your leadership to matter, lead in the things that matter to God.  The problem is that we are intimidated by the size of the task, by the hard work of the task, and the danger of the task.  Four lessons for leading when the task is big, hard, scary.

1.  Leading when the task seems hopeless…we lead by re-centering the basis of our hope.

2.  When the task seems scary, threatening… we must be willing to exchange our safety for the experience of God.  Jesus came to make us brave.  We lead by revealing for people that Jesus came to make us brave not safe.

3.  How do we lead others on a more demanding climb?  Choose not to be safe, pursue deep sp. health, choose excellence, seize the joy!

I felt very challenged.  OK, so I’m forty and could settle in, play it safe, yearn to play more golf…but the truth is I am easily bored without a clear challenge before me and a deep need to pray and trust, abandon myself to God.  This is a timely message.

Bill Georgeblessed me by just being a good man.  I was reminded of the ancient greek concepts of man in society who is good and influential on the basis of such goodness.  Jesus has done a wonderful thing by raising Bill George up.  And I am thankful for him.  His motto and question for us, “Am I doing all that I can with my leadership to make the world a better place?” reminded me of my friend Harvey McKinnon, who also says much the same thing, and seeks out people who share that desire.  Bill George obviously loves Jesus and has gained much wisdom for us.  The matter of leading from who you are is such an adventure to get to and I appreciated his call for us to give thoughtful and deliberate work on drilling down to clarity about such. 

Leaders today must seek to Align people, Empower people, Serve people, and Collaborate with people.  George has 6 principles for people in leadership:  1.  Understand the purpose of your leadership.  2.  Gain Self-Awareness; 3. Practice good values.  4.  Follower you motivations–intrinsic and capabilities; 5.  Build a support team; 6. Lead an integrated life.

Most failed leaders…failed because they were not well grounded and failed to lead themselves.

Wendy Kopp, founder and leader for Teach for America was a fascinating study in reluctance to be highlighted publicly as the leader, but who has all the determination, passions, and learning openness to be a great leader.  This is particularly important I believe in our context as I feel that many around me in Vancouver have a reluctance to lead, but have both gifting and passion.  It is a mix I do not fully understand yet.  Well it’s a mix I am not sure about how to empower and encourage well.

She truly believes that sacrifice adds value to one’s life.  She believes that University graduates on the verge of graduation will respond to a clear, time-arced, call to extraordinary service and leadership in the city setting.  They place more people with leadership shape than just teacher shape.  They are looking to create a movement that creates extraordinary change in the education inequity that exists because of place of birth.  Public perception of the education challenge is that it is because of poverty, parental involvement, or home life.  Teacher perception after two years in Teach For America is that it is because of teacher quality, principle quality, and academic expectations.  “This is a solvable problem; if it is then we have a moral imperative to do so.”

John Burke blessed us by encouraging us that messy spiritual leadership is required to develop the messy soil or environment where people whose lives are a mess can be transformed by Jesus Christ.  He reminded us that God causes change, growth, or transformation (1 Corinthians 3:6-9).  Leadership is required to add the nutrients to the soil that create the most helpful environments for people to respond to God.  Three aims for leaders:

1.  Grace-giving acceptance.

2.  Authentic confessing community.

3.  Inspiring constant connection with God’s Spirit.

The 60/60 experiment reminded me of Laubach’s intention of being aware of the presence of God all the time

Efrem Smith of Sanctuary Covenant Church was singing the song of the multi-cultural,ethnic,techno,caring, global church as God’s response to a diverse world in Christ.  I was pumped!  Its Acts 11 and Antioch coming alive again!  So encouraging… God is not calling you to be a cultural expert…He is calling you to invaded by a force that makes you loving across cultures, race, class, and place.  Wahoooooooooo!

From 1 John 4:7 Efrem helped us see that

1.  We must become a beloved leader.  He refereced MLKing and the call to be a beloved community.  But before the community becomes beloved, the leaders must become beloved.  We must be invaded by the love of God through Jesus Christ.  If you can’t lead across race, class, and place, then you can’t lead today.

2.  We must be an abiding leader.  Vs. 12  We abide, dwell, where the hurting people are–the schools, parks, offices, recovery houses, because the love of Christ is dwelling in us.

3.  We must be confessing leaders.  Vs. 15.  Conses where we get it wrong.  We prefer our cultural, racial, place-ial comforts and that creates STORMS.  Jonah.  A storm is a high pressure coming down against a low pressure.  The storms around us–the high presure of what God wants to do hits the low pressure of what we want to do.  Race labels is not really who we are.

4.  God is working that we may have confidence…the perfecting leader.  Vs. 17  We must sometimes take an organic approach and at other times we must take a programic approach.  But you must be who you are…and who you really are in Christ is His child!


–a great day–and plenty to process–Oh, Lord please take the good seed sown in my heart and bring about the fruitfulness you intend.  AMEN!


One thought on “leadership summit, day one

  1. Hi Craig,

    Thanks for sharing your story about Wendy Kopp’s presentation at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. It was a fantastic conference overall, and we’re glad you found Wendy’s thoughts on the importance of service so valuable. We are so excited about continuing to grow our movement, and want leaders to join us. If you, or someone you know, is interested in learning more or joining our movement, please visit http://www.teachforamerica.org/jointhemovement.

    Ellie Campisano
    Recruitment Coordinator, Faith Community Relations Team

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