Once again this weekend I had the privilege of sharing in another Willow Creek Association sponsored Global Leadership Summit here in Prince George. It was held at the Lakewood Alliance Church with about 130 people participating. Here is a summary of some of the main points from each speaker that impacted me regarding pastoral leadership in a church.
Bill Hybels: From Here to There In leading people from “here” to “there” it’s better to take time to show the negatives about “here” before talking about the positives of “there.” In order to move people forward it takes a team of fantastic people working together. Assembling a team of terrific people is really the holy challenge of leadership. Look for character, competence, and chemistry (this latter also includes the ability to fit in with your particular leadership culture). Because people get bogged down in the middle third of the journey, they need encouragement about the vision through appropriate celebrations of past mile-markers.
Erwin McManus: Crave McManus demonstrated through interviews of a variety of people in Vancouver, many of who were not people of Christian faith, the importance of appealing to people’s soul needs. Though people reject religion and many religious ideas, they are interested in spirituality. Beyond their jobs and money, people are definitely looking for meaning, for real purpose to be fulfilled in their lives, and for love – the deep desire to belong. Though people are motivated to eat, drink, and breathe when food, water, and air are scarce, we need also to recognize people’s desparate intrinsic need for intimacy, meaning (significance), and destiny (purpose). Just as the men walking with Jesus on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24) did not recognize Him until later, so he is walking with everyone but is hidden from them until that special moment when he makes himself known through an act that connects them with Him. We too need to walk with people so that they will come to recognize Christ in our lives…
Jeff Manion: The Land Between We often find ourselves living in “the land between” just as Israel found itself in the wilderness for all those years. The “land between” is often characterized by the words, “for now.” Based on Numbers 11:4-20, Manion demonstrated how the “land between” is fertile ground for complaint, for melt-down (Moses), for God’s provision in unusual ways, for discipline, and for transformational growth. The wilderness is the best green house for transformational growth. It is there that trust can come to displace distrust and complaint….
Blake Mycoskie: Making Conscious Capitalism Work As the “chief shoe giver” of TOMS Shoes, a company that gives a pair of shoes away for every pair that is bought (now 600,000), Mycoskie says, “If we focus on giving the customer will do the advertizing for us. You need to incorporate giving into your company culture. Young people are passionate about experiencing meaning instead of mere profit.”
Jim Collins: Never, Ever, Give Up. The author of Good to Great, and Built to Last (in which he examines what makes great companies succeed) believes that greatness is not the matter of circumstance but of conscious choice. Very successful companies over time are characterized by higher values than mere financial prosperity. Great leaders work humbly for something bigger than themselves. They do not confuse faith (or optimism) with hard facts.
Jack Welch: Leader to Leader. As the CEO of General Electric for many years he lives by the importance of four words: authenticity, energy, candour, and differentiation. To be a good leader, you have to be genuinely real (not somebody else), you have to be able to help people feel the vision (even if this means abandoning your meeting agenda), you have to create an atmosphere of truth telling even if the truth hurts, and you have to be willing to make judgments about people’s performance ability. You have to have an appraisal system. The people who have the best ability are energetic, likeable, have good values, and have a gene to help people grow. They celebrate their people and are generous. Four times a year leaders should sit down with their people to talk about what’s good and what’s not. Don’t confuse acidic people with those who are able to offer good criticism because often these kind of people are smart and have a lot to offer.
Christine Caine: Leading on the Edge of Hope. A young wife and mother with a very difficult past, living in Australia, has discovered that Jesus Christ is well able to give us our most important identity and reason to live. We need to be careful not to lose sight of the needs of individual people in a world that is always talking about large numbers of people. For leaders hope is the oxygen they breathe. The Gospel was made to be taken into the darkness. If we believe in the miraculous power of God, then we shouldn’t avoid those places where this can be demonstrated.
Though some of the speakers were not necessarily speaking as Christian believers, they identified principles that are biblical and universally important in offering good leadership in general, and in the church in particular.