Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, Day Two

On Friday I posted about the first day of the Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit.  Day two of the Summit was pretty heavy.  It started out with a session on tough callings, where Bill Hybels said something ironically profound about the church in America: “we are addicted to the narcotic of growth and success.”  In many ways this phenomenon began as a result of the success and popularity of Willow Creek, Saddle Back, and other mega-churches.  Hybels then admitted that pastoring a church in an affluent suburb is not a difficult calling, that there are many whose calling dwarfs his in difficulty.

I found this to be an interesting juxtaposition of sessions, considering the last speaker of the previous day was Steven Furtick who was introduced as pastoring a church that has grown from a few couples to over ten thousand in the span of five years.  While Furtick mentioned that the highlight reels that we so often see at conferences are no where near what it is like to experience the backstage of our own ministries… the number and size references kept coming throughout the course of his message.  Contrast this to Wes Stafford sharing about a pastor in southeast Asia who had survived two government attempts at electrocution praying for American Christians because in our comfortable way of life, we have forgotten to know what true minute by minute dependence on God is like, followed by Mamma Maggie Gobran who cares for the very least in Cairo.  It was quite a day.

To sum up the experience of day two at the Global Leadership Summit, I laughed a good bit, I cried like a middle school girl, and I learned much:

  • Mama Maggie Gobran.  I am not sure how to describe Mama Maggie well.  Her words were simple, humble, and impacting.  I feel like the words that I would use to describe her presence and message have been overdone, and have lost the meaning needed to truly communicate the power with which she communicated the importance of silence and simplicity.  There is no question that Mama Maggie walks closely with Jesus, her very countenance reminded me of the radiance of Moses in Exodus 34.  As she finished her message, there were no dry eyes in the place… it was pretty intense.
  • John Dickson.  Later in the day, after we had adequate time to regain our composure from Mama Maggie, John Dickson spoke on the topic of Humility.  Much of the day centered on this topic with Henry Cloud preceded this session by talking about wise men, foolish men, and evil men (humility being a mark of the wise men).  I wrote down three notes from Dickson’s session that I have been soaking on since:
    • You don’t need the keys to the Kingdom to have impact for the Kingdom.
    • Are you ok with leading without titular authority?
    • You don’t need to win back a Christian nation to win a nation for Christ.
  • Patrick Lencioni.  In the interest of full disclosure, I need to admit right now that I have a fairly significant mancrush on Patrick Lencioni.  When I heard that he would be replacing Howard Schultz, I was pretty excited.  Lencioni spoke about the need for vulnerability in leadership and how our fears of rejection, embarrassment, and being inferior keep us from being able to truly lead well, and serve the world around us.  Add to that wisdom a tangent on passing gas (and how his wife flatulates) that had the entire place rolling on the floor, and it was quite the session.  If you haven’t read Lencioni’s latest book Getting Naked, you really need to.  It walks through the power and need for vulnerability incredibly well.

Day two was pretty intense, but then Erwin McManus came out and told us that Solomon was wrong… there are new things under the sun, and that we, the people of God, need to be at the forefront of creating new things for the world around us.  His call to stop waiting on others to create a better future and start being God’s agents of restoration was a perfect end to the Global Leadership Summit.

What were YOUR biggest take aways from this year’s Global Leadership Summit?


About the Author: Matt Steen

I love Jesus, Theresa (my wife), the Redskins & Capitals, and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ (while working on my MDiv and MBA at Baylor University). When not studying, I serve church leaders through and am the Director of Connections for Harris Creek Baptist Church's Downtown Campus.