A Taste of the 2009 Leadership Summit

Here are some notable quips from the 2009 Willow Creek Leadership Summit…

  1. Leadership in sync with the Spirit, results in life and peace. – Bill Hybels
  2. It’s not compassionate, to not be truthful. – Bill Hybels
  3. Organizations lose their influence when the rate of change outpaces the organization. – Gary Hamel
  4. God has crafted in all of us a story that can be redeemed for his glory. – Wes Stafford
  5. Forgiveness means giving up the right for revenge. – Wes Stafford
  6. You will not forget what you do not forgive. – Wes Stafford
  7. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. – David Gergen
  8. Faith gives our leadership a moral compass. – David Gergen
  9. Focus on what is working. Study it. Clone it. – Chip & Dan Heath
  10. We need to have a tolerance for failure. Failure can often be a stepping stone to success. – Chip & Dan Heath

A Taste of the 2008 Leadership Summit

Here are some notable quotes from the 2008 Leadership Summit…

  1. Facts are your friends. Are you courageous enough to face them?  – Bill Hybels
  2. Jesus did not ask the disciples for what he needed, he asked them for what they had. – Gary Haugen
  3. God will rescue us from all things petty, and lead us beyond our fear to courage. – Gary Haugen
  4. As leaders, we are giving people a gift to fundamentally make a difference in the life of another. – Wendy Kopp
  5. Spiritual leadership is all about creating the right soil for people to grow up into the people God intended them to be. – John Burke
  6. Jesus came for messy, broken people. – John Burke
  7. In order to reach people who no one is reaching, you need to do what no one else is doing. – Craig Groeschel
  8. Failure is often the first step to seeing God. – Craig Groeschel
  9. In community, we learn to be holy! – Chuck Colson
  10. Spiritual leadership is about getting more of God in my life, instead of getting more to lead. – Bill Hybels

Peter Pan

Last night was truly remarkable! We got to see Tony Award nominee Cathy Rigby take flight as Peter Pan in an all new production at the La Mirada Performing Arts Theater. Prior to the show, we even got to meet Cathy and snap a few photos with her.

This was Zach’s first Broadway show, and I don’t think we adequately prepared him or ourselves for what we were going to experience. It was truly amazing to see Cathy, who is almost 60 years old, take flight and prance around the stage with her awe-inspiring aerial feats. Cathy was just so much fun to watch and brought such enthusiasm and heart to this show. And it was super fun to watch Zach’s eyes light up, as together we experienced Peter Pan for the first time. We didn’t want the evening to end.

Below is a clip from Cathy Rigby as Peter Pan that has the same staging and costume from last night’s show! There are still some tickets for this weekend’s show and then they are off to the Fox Theater in Riverside and after that they’ll play the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles. I highly recommend going to experience the wonder and excitement of Peter Pan!

Lessons from Peter

A successful entrepreneur with a thriving fishing business, Peter was a natural leader who was willing to take risks. He was bold, impulsive and often stuck out his neck in pursuit of being with Jesus. This zealous side of Peter served him well, but it also got him into trouble. Throughout the Scriptures, we see Peter struggling to let go of his agenda and accept God’s agenda, and in doing so, he sets himself up for failure time and time again.

While Peter didn’t lack for motivation, he did refuse to deal with many of the “know” and “below” barriers that prevented him from being the man God intended. Aware of Peter’s tendencies, Jesus allowed Peter to put himself in positions to fail, because in doing so, Jesus knew that Peter would also put himself in positions to grow. Every time Peter failed, he learned something about life and every time he learned something, he grew. And in learning from his mistakes, Peter became a different man.

Presented with the same challenges and opportunities, we would likely respond like Peter, who boasted too much, prayed too little, acted too fast and followed too far away. However, the good news is that just like Peter, who learned from his mistakes, there is a gracious Father who wants to do the same wonderful work in our lives as well. But that takes a commitment on our part. First, to be courageous enough to face our own “know”, “go” and “below” barriers to spiritual growth. Second, to trust God’s plan and purpose for our lives.

Becoming the Person God Intended

The most important task of our life is not what we do, but who we become. Since we are God’s people, created for his plan and purposes, he knows what we are intended to be. And being in Christ and growing in him means we are moving towards God’s best version for us.

Peter’s full name at birth was Simon Bar-Jonah (Matthew 16:17), meaning “Simon, son of Jonah” (John 21:15-17). But as one of his disciples, Jesus gives Simon another name, Peter, which means “rock.” However, before God could do the work he desired through Peter, he first had to do a work in him. Over time God would take a fisherman with an ambivalent, vacillating and impulsive personality and shape him into a rock like leader. And in God’s training process, Peter learned that in spite of his weaknesses, the Lord wanted to use him and had great plans for him.

Similarly, as God grows you, he wants to use the situations of life to refine and shape us for the mission he has called us to. God made you to flourish and to produce blessing beyond yourself. Flourishing is God’s plan and gift, and when you flourish, you are in harmony with God, other people, creation and yourself. And it means you are becoming the person God had in mind when he created you. It is moving towards God’s best version of you.

Just like Peter, God has a purpose and plan for you, but he won’t discard the raw material. He just redirects it.

The Power of Community

Eugene Peterson, known for his work on The Message, was asked to speak to the question of why everyone should consider being in a small group. His response, profoundly expresses the power of community:

“We learn best when we’re learning with others. A small group is the perfect setup for discussion. Truth is ambiguous. It’s not clear. If you want to absolutely clear language you have to use mathematics. That’s the only absolutely clear language we have. Everything else is subject to tone, inflection, context and relationship between people. A group is where you can work out those ambiguities through discussion. The way you get the gospel is to forgive someone, help someone, build a relationship with someone. It has relationship in it. That takes practice. It goes beyond just knowing something.”

1980’s Film Alphabet

As a small group champion, I am always looking for fun ways to connect people and help break the ice. I recently stumbled upon some fun guessing games from graphic design artist Stephen Wildish, who has come up with some awesome minimalist alphabet posters featuring classic movies from the 80’s, 90’s and other film genres.

If your small group is looking to have some fun, print up this poster and divide your group into teams and see how many answers they can come up within a few minutes.

In the meantime, how many 80’s movies can you name from the poster above? Check to see if you’re right using the answer key provided after the break. Don’t peak!

Encouraging Others

We can uplift and affirm one another in a variety of ways. Here are eight ways to consider…

1. Speaking – Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are … sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” The number of ways we can encourage one another through our speech is almost limitless. One pastor friend never leaves a conversation without saying one positive thing to the person he’s talking to.

2. Writing –  The New Testament epistles are proof of the power of written communication. Sometimes a short note to someone who’s discouraged can mean so much. Think creatively. For example, there’s a staff member on our team that randomly leaves encouraging notes on people’s desks. It’s his way of saying, “I appreciate you.”

3. Being Present –  “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted,” says Psalm 34:18. Sometimes God asks us simply to be with others in person on his behalf. I have learned that you don’t have to say much. In fact, sometimes it’s better to say nothing. Our presence itself can be a deeply encouraging gift.

4. Touching – Jesus often touched people. Scientists are just starting to document the positive effects of touch, which God has known about all along. From a light touch on the forearm to a tight hug, these gestures encourage others wordlessly and are best expressed by those who have the love language of touch.

5. Praying –  The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:11, “You help us by your prayers.” Everyone can have this ministry. My wife Jennifer has this gift of encouragement. She’s a prayer warrior! My friend Jason, also asks the question, “How can I pray for you?” on his Facebook wall each week. What a great way to encourage someone by praying for them.

6. Showing Hospitality – “Practice hospitality,” says Romans 12:13. I recently attended a mixed small group leaders appreciation event for our leaders at SCG, hosted by our Mixed Groups Coordinators Jeff & Pam! It was in the small touches of decor, food and entertainment that they communicated that they appreciated their leaders.

7. Giving –  Proverbs 22:9 states that, “A generous man will himself be blessed.” God wants his people to share their lives with others—their time, their money, their possessions. Any of these can be used creatively to encourage others.

8. Helping – Common jobs and chores—housework, shuttling a friend to the airport, baby-sitting—are so appreciated in the ministry of encouragement. “Whatever you do,” says Colossians 3:23, “work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

So, what’s your encouragement style? And while we’re talking about it, thanks for taking time to read and interact with my blog. Your comments, Facebook likes and shared links are always appreciated.

The Kingdom of God

In the Kingdom of God…

…a person is lifted up by humbling himself, not by exalting himself in the eyes of others.

…strength is found through weakness, not by being confident in your own abilities.

…fullness comes by becoming empty, not by running after pleasure.

…life is gained by losing it, not by looking out for “number one.”

…riches come by giving them away, not by storing them up.

…greatness comes by becoming a servant, not by seeking power and celebrity.

by Roy Lessin, DaySpring Cards

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