Willow Creek Leadership Summit 2008, Day Two

Here are my notes from the second day. Unfortunately I was quite tired on day two, so my notes (and my ability to absorb everything) likely suffered for it. The second day also had a couple of sessions that were harder to take notes on – namely Chuck Colson and Brad Anderson.

IT: How Leaders Can Get IT and Keep IT – Craig Groeschel

  • He told the story of the starting of his church: Lifechurch.tv started in a two-car garage
  • 13 sites across the US, 25,000 people reached every week, one online
  • Some churches have IT, some don’t have IT
  • God makes IT happen…IT is from him, by him, and for His glory
  • It’s rare for one person to bring IT, but it’s common for one person to kill IT
  • Wherever you see IT, lives are transformed
  • The early church had IT…when people tried to kill IT, IT spread
  • Acts 2:42-47
  • Four qualities that are most often there when IT is present
  • Churches with IT have ministries that have razor-sharp focus. More ministries are not always better. Better ministries are better. What can we be the very best at in our ministries? In order to reach people that no one is reaching, you’ll have to do things that no one is doing. They do weekend worship, small groups, kid’s ministry, student ministry, missions. They don’t do concerts, men’s ministries, women’s ministries, single adult ministries, and many other things. What are you doing that you need to stop doing?
  • Churches with IT see opportunities where others seem problems. We have everything we need to do what God wants us to do. What is God trying to show us through our greatest limitation?
  • Organizations that have IT are willing to fail. Failure is part of the process in finding God. Peter failed many times at the beginning before he made powerful strides for God. If God is speaking to you, have the courage to get out of the boat (like Peter did). If you fail, shake it off and step up. What has God called us to do what we’re afraid to attempt?
  • Organizations that have IT are led by people that have IT. You need to have IT for your ministry to get IT. When you have IT it draws others. It’s easy to get distracted and focus on the results of IT rather than IT itself. He lost IT when he became a full-time pastor and a part-time follower of Christ.
  • If you don’t have IT, what are you going to do to get IT?

Defending The Faith – Chuck Colson

  • The Great Commission isn’t about making converts, it’s about making disciples
  • In the Marines, the lieutenant surveys the field, then serves the troops. They are given the vision. Then they are told “Follow me”
  • If you are a leader, your job is not to pander to your people, your job is to lead them to the truth
  • In a recent survey, 57% of evangelical Christians said that Christianity is not the only truth faith
  • Stop blaming the culture when everything goes wrong
  • What is Christianity? A conversation? A religion? A relationship? It’s all of these
  • Everything in the world is under the domain of Christ – He’s claimed it all
  • What are the basics tenants of faith? God Is. He has spoken. The fall happened – we’re what’s wrong with the world today. Jesus was God incarnate on earth. God is three persons in one. We are called to be holy so that the world will know we follow the one true God.
  • Christianity is the only religion that is rationally sustainable
  • Tell your people the truth then equip them

Risk Taking, Barrier Breaking, Bold Leadership – Catherine Rohr

  • She runs a prison entrepreneurship program (PEP, www.peo.org). She left a $200 K/year job in private equity to launch her prison ministry
  • 1 out of 15 people in the US go to prison in their lifetime, over 50% return to prison
  • Christians are “grace junkies” but we don’t extend grace to prisoners
  • PEP looks for people who are sick of their old criminal lives. They go through a business boot camp, 27 hours a week, and gra
  • They’ve achieve a single-digital recidivism rate (return to prison)
  • 70% of the donors to PEP are graduates from the program
  • Character transformation is a part of the program.
  • They have 15 hour truth and confrontation session where they speak truth and love to each other
  • When dealing with criticism, don’t let your emotions get in the way. Is it legitimate feedback? If it’s not, set it aside. If it’s legitimate, welcome it and learn from it
  • She was asked how she keeps from burning out. She responded that saying that she keeps in good shape – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She sacrifices privacy to get accountability
  • 100% of their budget is donation-based
  • In all closing situations, 46% of salespeople never ask for the sale or the money
  • In order to be good at what they do, they have to be strategic
  • Find the leader, then start the ministry. Don’t start a ministry then look for the leader
  • The first employees in PEP were felons – they have 27 staff members and the first nine were felons
  • When the felons in PEP are expected to rise to the level of society, they do

An Uncompromising Focus on People – Brad Anderson, CEO of Best Buy

  • Best Buy began in 1965 with one stereo store. The world’s largest consumer electronics retailer, 150,000 employees world-wide, $40 billion in revenue
  • His father was a pastor, he went to seminary and dropped out
  • He started as a sales clerk, worked there for seven years, didn’t feel any longing for leadership
  • The owner of the company came to him, asked him which of his three work-mates he should ask to be the leader of the company, he said “Why not me?” – the job was then split into two and he had the opportunity to be a leader
  • Best Buy has a high level of employee engagement – and they measure it twice a year, asking questions about how valued the employee feels

Relentless: A Profile of Mother Theresa – Bill Hybles

  • A 4 foot 10 inch, 100 pound Albanian woman made a huge impact on the world
  • 2 Chronicles 16:9
  • In the 1940’s Mother Theresa made a vow to refuse God nothing. She would throw herself fully at whatever God asked her to do, without delay
  • She vowed to be faithful to God in the “little practices”; treating everyone that crossed her path with love, sacrificing (going to the back of the line, always volunteering for clean up)
  • She had “carte blanche”-yieldedness (yielding to anything that God asks for)
  • Am I the kind of person who’s lighting up God’s radar screen with my level of yielding to him?
  • Some people want to lead more and bigger rather than wanting more of God in their lives
  • At age 36, in 1946, God gave her the vision to live and work in the slums of Calcutta for the rest of her life. She was elated and ecstatic that God would notice her and ask her to do this task – she called it “inspiration day”
  • Don’t ever extinguish something that God is trying to give life to
  • After “Inspiration Day”, she went to her boss (a priest) but he tells her to keep at her teaching. She’s determined to change his mind, so she continues to meet with him to try and convince him of God’s vision for her. Some of her fellow nuns start a rumour that the reasons she’s meeting with her boss is that she has romantic feelings for him
  • Even with a vision from God, obstacles are often part of the process. Questions are part of the obstacles – is this vision from God? What am I willing to sacrifice to follow God’s will?
  • It took Mother Theresa four months of meetings with her boss to convince him to go to the arch-bishop, who had the final say in the starting of new ministries. She met with him, and he said no. She was relentless and embarked on a letter writing campaign to wear the arch-bishop down. She explained that she doesn’t want any resources, money, or administrative support – she only asked that he didn’t stand in the way. He refused for months, until her “Let me go” letter where she makes a final plea for his permission for her to start this new ministry – and he finally relented
  • Outlast the opposition to people and things that stand in the way of you pursuing God’s vision for your life
  • Callings from God are precious and holy things – sometimes you’ll only get one in your life
  • After she received permission to go to Calcutta, she dove into her work – she had to find facilities, raise money, build a staff, address and resolve organizational problems, respond to hostile critics, keep her supervisors informed
  • She made herself into a phenomenal leader
  • She went through spiritual dry spells – she wanted God to reveal himself more, she wanted to feel God’s companionship, she wanted God’s presence to be more tactile and real. She would sometimes feel despondent about it
  • “Even though I don’t feel his presence, I will seek to love Him and He’s never been loved before.” – Mother Theresa
  • Hybles talked about periods in his own life where he can’t feel as much of God’s love as much as he wants to
  • After winning the Nobel Peace Prize, she consistently fought off the corrosive effects of the media and continued her personal vows and practices
  • Jon Petersen

    Thanks for this summary. I’m reading Craig Groeschel’s book “It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It.” The illusive “it” is what attracts people and makes ministries effective. Craig says “it” can’t be taught, but “it” can be caught. God gives “it.” “It” has a lot to do with the Holy Spirit. Churches that have “it” are incredibly focused, willing to fail, led by people who have “it,” and those people see potential when others see problems. Craig says “the spark of passion ignites the fuel for innovation.” And he says “it” follows big vision. God makes “it” happen. “It” is from him, by him, and for his glory. You may want to watch brief videos about the book’s message at http://www.zondervan.com/it and http://floatingaxhead.com/2008/08/11/the-power-of-it/