So this past week I was at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit Simulcast in Bloomington. It was a great conference featuring speakers like Bill Hybels, Jim Collins, Tony Dungy, Andy Stanley, and TD Jakes among others. The Summit is a nice blend of men and women who approach leadership from different perspectives. Topics included change, endurance, mentoring, tension, and motivation, again, among others. Several of the names on the docket for this conference were ones that I recognized, but there were a few that I had never heard of before. And suprisingly it was some of those that impacted me the most.
One of my favorite sessions happened to be an interview with Terri Kelly, the CEO of W.L. Gore & Associates (Gore-Tex). I actually ran out of space trying to taking notes from some of the points she was making. The interesting thing is that she was not coming at this from a church leadership viewpoint, but rather from one that was purely business. But so much of what she was saying fits with the church as well.
For instance, she pointed out that a good leader doesn’t simply tell people what to do, but rather provides influence about what is important. That is so true of my job as pastor and the leadership of the church. We need to provide influence about what is important. We need to be listening to the Lord and seeing where He is at work and what He wants us to do, and bring that to the church so that we can follow the Lord together. In order for that to happen we need to have a common foundation, which is the Lord, and a common set of values. We talk often about our vision and purpose and the reason is because we all need to be on the same page so that we have a framework for making decisions about what we are going to do and not do.
Another great presentation was an interview with Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric and author of the book, “Winning.” He said that it is the leaders’ job to energize people, not through cheerleading or hyping something up, but by getting them to feel the vision.
What a great concept that is. Do you feel the vision? I hope so. We, at The River, believe we are called to “be the church.” That is who we are. We are committed to bringing maximum glory to God through knowing Christ and making Him known to every man, woman and child in the community of Chaska and to the regions beyond. We will do that through authentic community, intentional discipleship, Spirit-filled worship, Kingdom praying, and missional living. I hope you feel the vision. Let’s be the church!
Another great presentation was with Blake Mykoskie, the founder of Tom’s Shoes Inc. He made a great point about asking people to do audacious things. I really liked that. Tom’s Shoes gives away a pair of shoes for every pair of shoes that is bought. That is pretty audacious. I want us, as a church, to step up and do audacious things. Obviously, it needs to be in line with what God is calling us to do, but I believe we sometimes miss out on big things because we are afraid to step out of the boat and trust God to help us walk on water.
All in all, this was a great conference. I am really glad that I had an opportunity to be there. I pray that God will help me to be the leader He has called me to be and that He will use me to lead the church in becoming the church that He is calling us to be.