I’ve just got back from two days in Stafford at the Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit. The Summit happens each summer at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, USA. It is hosted by Willow’s Senior Pastor, Bill Hybels and is beamed live around the USA and then later, in the autumn, taken all over the world by means of local conferences showing the DVD recordings of the talks. My nearest location was Stafford, so a few of us from Derby headed off to Rising Brook Baptist Church to learn together and be encouraged in our roles.
Although I’ve been to many Willow Creek conferences over the years and read many of Bill Hybels’ books, I had never been to the Leadership Summit before. One reason for this is that I doubted whether a conference that had all the teaching on video screen would be as good as a “live” one. I have to say my doubts were completely unnecessary. This was one of the best leadership conferences I’ve ever been to. I will try to blog some more details as I reflect upon the sessions over the next few weeks and months, but here is a taster to start with…
The conference featured a mix of Christian pastors & business leaders and non-Christian business leaders. This was a fascinating mix and gave a real variety to the teaching and lessons learnt.
Bill Hybels opened the conference by talking about how to help people move from A to B in their Christian life, or in the life of a church. He went on to expand what he looks for in the staff he hires – the 3C’s of character, competency and chemistry. I’ve read much of what he’s said on this before, but he added another C, culture. More on this to come!
Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and How the mighty fall was the next speaker. This highly respected business leader whose books I have read and enjoyed was a captivating speaker and he encouraged us to never, ever give up, and also to have a “stop doing” list as well as a “to-do” list.
One of the most helpful talks was by Jeff Manion, Senior Pastor of Ada Bible Church. He talked about “the land between”, i.e. the time and space between what we hope for/God speaks to us about and seeing it fulfilled. What a helpful and practical message. Certainly more on this to follow.
Hearing Blake Mycoskie, founder of Toms Shoes was fascinating and inspiring. Here was a Christian who had set up a company with the aim of giving away a pair of shoes for every pair sold. To date, they have given away over 1,000,000 pairs of shoes to children in need. It all started with an idea, and the desire to make it easy for people to participate.
What idea is God speaking to you about today? It may not be to set up a company, it maybe something quite different, but what is it, and how are you going to respond?