Last Friday evening and Saturday Prince George held a Global Leadership Summit created by the Leadership Centre Willow Creek Canada. Several churches in the city worked together to sponsor the event held at the Lakewood Alliance Church. About 125 people registered to attend the Summit which is a shorter version of a larger similar simulcast event held by the Association in various cities in the U.S. and Canada each year in August. The purpose of the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) and the larger annual event is to equip Christian leaders with more effective tools for leadership in a whole variety of contexts.
The Summit is a high quality event profiling some of the best International leaders through their speaking presentations or through interviews. In the GLS this year, Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of the Willow Creek Church in Chicago, provided the key-note address on how to manage in the midst of rough seas and rogue waves. Using the recent economic depression as a rogue-wave illustration he spoke of the philosophical, economical, relational and personal impact of this experience. Rogue waves test a leader’s ability to manage constructively in these matters when they occur. To navigate these experiences successfully, we need to be willing to change how we think about our concern for others, our own finances, and our emotional well-being. By vigilant means of spiritual disciplines we need to be prepared for these challenges.
Wess Stafford, president of Compassion International shared a most moving account of how God redeemed his experience of child-hood abuse in an African residential mission school for a vision to alleviate suffering among the poor children of the world. His conviction is that while children are the greatest victims of poverty in the world, properly cared for they can become our greatest resource for change. His story hi-lights the tremendous importance of forgiveness in dealing with the pain of our lives caused by the abuse of others.
David Gergen, the well-known political analyst for CNN and PBS, in an interview with Bill Hybels, had a lot of practical things to say about the nature of leadership including the need to step back occasionally to get perspective on what we are leading. Defining leadership as persuading others to work with others on shared goals, he emphasized the significance of personal character traits in leadership such as self-discipline, physical fitness, daily reflection, and living in loving relationships.
For me, one of the most forceful and articulate speakers was Gary Hamel who leads significantly in Management Innovation for businesses and for the Church. The biggest problem for most organizations, businesses and the church, he believes, is that they fail to deal forthrightly with their own lack of progress. To overcome inertia, leaders must be ruthless in asking tough questions about what is really happening, must be willing to question established ideas and beliefs, and must be prepared to listen to the people they are trying to lead. Applied to most churches this means that pastors and church leaders have to get serious about their lack of progress, influence, and growth; have to be willing to change the way they think and do things; and have to open their hearts and minds to the creative thinking of people in the church. Authoritarian structures of leadership in churches must give way to those that are more genuinely democratic.