Thoughts from Leadership Summit 09

Thoughts from Leadership Summit 09

This past Friday, Christ United Methodist Church was a satellite location for The Leadership Summit, sponsored by Willow Creek Community Church. I attended the second day and live-tweeted the event from the church’s Twitter account. Here are brief thoughts from each of the sessions.

Dave Gibbons

Thinking Forward: Third Culture Leadership

Dave Gibbons is the founding pastor of Newsong Church, a multi-generational, multi-ethnic, multi-continental, multi-site church in Irvine, California, named as one of the most innovative churches in America by Outreach Magazine.

  • Third culture leadership is focused more on the misfits than on the masses. Jesus called us to go after people who are not like us. To love those who are like us is normal; the world takes no notice. As we love those who are different, not easy to get close to, the world sees God’s love in us. Third culture leadership will serve in any culture, even when it’s painful.
  • Often our vision in the Church begins at the center, the leader, gets passed to the executive team, then to the congregation. In God’s economy, the focus is from the outside in. Our vision should begins on the fringes, with the masses, the outsider. When you walk through your church on a crowded Sunday, walk slowly, so you actually see people.
  • Weakness and failure are often gifts from God; He allows us to fail and suffer so that we can better understand those we serve. Weakness is our strength; we need to pursue it. If we allow some pain to come our way, we see things more clearly.
  • Obedience is more important than passion – Gibbons cites four acts of obedience:
    1. Deeper collaboration
      Spiritual gifts are not contained to one church; we need to share with people of other churches
    2. Communal living
      Groups of families live together in the same neighborhood
    3. Prayer
      We have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, but often we do not really believe in the power of the Holy Spirit
      Radical sacrifice for the outsider
    4. Adapt lifestyles ; sacrifice for others and be willing to give up some material possessions. Love God, love our neighbor will all our heart — this brings glory to God.
  • We do not need more visionaries; we need more people who can do relationships. Relationships trump vision. The best discipleship is life-on-life; not program-based.

Andrew Rugasira

Aid vs. Trade

Andrew Rugasira is the Founder and CEO of Good African Coffee, an African-based social enterprise that brings quality coffees to the global market.

  • What comes into your mind when you think of Africa? Poverty? Disease? HIV/AIDS? Genocide? Death? Conflict? The world’s perception of Africa needs to change: it takes a lot of entrepreneurship to live on one dollar a day.
  • No country is developed through handouts; between 1970 and 2000 Africa received the highest number of aid dollars — $400 billion in aid from the United States alone — and had the lowest gross domestic product. Aid creates dependency, undermines integrity, dignity and accountability.
  • Trade is the engine for growth and it is the only sustainable way to growth. The most prosperous economies develop by bringing quality products to market.
  • We can make a difference: buy African-made garments, music, coffee; products that keep business strong and impact communities.

Wess Stafford

Leveraging Your Past

Dr. Wess Stafford, President of Compassion International, is an internationally recognized advocate for children in poverty and author of Too Small to Ignore; Why Children Are the Next Big Thing.
Stafford spoke very candidly about the painful personal experiences that led him to establish Compassion.

  • Pain can be a catalyst for passion, integrity and leadership.
  • People do not care what you know until they know why you care.
  • Stafford spoke about the horrific pain and abuse he endured in a boarding school for children of missionaries. The pain, rage and humiliation he felt brought the strength to establish Compassion to protect children.The passion his past stirs in him keeps him from growing weary.
  • Forgiveness is essential; we must forgive those who hurt us or we give them permission to live rent-free in our hearts.
  • What is your cause? What moves you passionately? Spend 30 minutes in front of a mirror and ask, Who am I? What do I value?

David Gergen

Eyewitness to Power

David Gergen is editor-at-large at U.S. News & World Report and political analyst for CNN and PBS, has served as a White House adviser to four presidents; Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton. The author of Eyewitness to Power, he firmly believes that by identifying the traits of other leaders (and learning from their mistakes), we can increase our own effectiveness and leadership potential.

  • Leadership is a journey; each must find his/her own. Leadership in church is not just teaching, but creating a culture within the church that inspires people to both serve and lead.
  • Reflective practice — where you really learn leadership is in doing it. It is a combination of being in the arena but continually reading and reflecting
  • The best leaders think carefully, choose big goals and listen to feedback. Track your progress toward your goal and hold yourself accountable.
  • A leader’s public and private lives should align, but we should be more forgiving and less invasive regarding leaders’ private lives and demand accountability in public life.
  • Aristotle described three elements to a good speech: ethos, logos and pathos or, belief, logic and emotion.
    • Ethos: your moral character; who you are • you must establish this early on
    • Logos: the body of the speech; the logic
    • Pathos: the passion and emotion. End the speech with this; the emotional appeal lights the fire and inspires us
  • The best leaders are disciplined, have regular habits, are physically fit, allow time for reflection and are involved in loving relationships.
  • When asked what he hopes will happen during a worship service, Gergen replied:
    • Gain inner peace
    • Learn something
    • Find an anchor for moral compass
  • Gergen talked about strengths and weaknesses of the four presidents he served:
    • Most admirable qualities
      • Nixon: ability to strategize
      • Ford: decency
      • Reagan: optimism
      • Clinton: resilience
    • Weaknesses
      • Nixon: his dark side
      • Ford: naivete
      • Reagan: detachment
      • Clinton: cracks in his character
  • Each of us has warmed our hands around a fire. It is our role to bring a log to that fire and keep it going.

Chip and Dan Heath

Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard

Dan Heath is an insightful and engaging communicator, widely recognized business consultant, researcher, and entrepreneur. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and is co-founder of Thinkwell, a publisher of innovative textbooks. Chip Heath is an author, consultant, speaker, and popular professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Management. His unique research on what makes ideas succeed has been featured in a wide range of popular media programs and publications.

  • Change is like riding an elephant. The goals of the elephant and the rider must be aligned to move forward. You must convince the elephant that there is a goal worthy of the change.
  • Find the bright spot — something that is working well, study and replicate it.
  • Big problems are rarely solved through big solutions; we need small solutions. Shrink the change.
  • How do you keep the elephant going in the right direction once you get it to listen to the rider? We must prepare people for adversity — the elephant is skittish and lazy and will be tempted to leave the path when things get difficult.
  • There will be peaks and valleys, but the insight is gained in the valleys and the struggle to get to the next peak. Reframe failure as growth.
  • Growth mindset: with work, we can improve anything. Built into this mindset is a tolerance for failure. Failure is sometimes necessary to achieve success.
  • If people are not committed or engaged, don’t blame it on their personal weakness or lack of concern; it may be a situation problem.
  • Change requires a deep emotional motivation and there is usually a predictable pattern.


The Church … Three Years Later

Bono is lead singer of Irish rock band U2 and? an activist in the fight against AIDS and poverty in Africa. Three years ago, he was critical of the Church’s slow reaction to poverty and AIDS in 2006; Willow Creek Community Church founder and senior pastor Bill Hybels interviewed him three years later.

  • Poverty is an offense to Christ, to any concept of justice. The church now leads in combatting poverty. Malaria deaths are down 50 percent and two millions AIDS-infected Africans are now on medication.
  • We have no excuse not to act. Caring for the poor is not a suggestion; it is a command. A church leader’s responsibility is to inspire people to serve.
  • Must must create excitement around missions to inspire people; communicate about serving in a way that attracts and engages the audience.
  • The mark of spiritual maturity is when we begin to release our resources and give what we have. What are we doing for the least of these?Jesus created the Church to exist for the world, not for ourselves.
  • Highlighted churches who have get it — one worship leader said, “I got to a big church. I have a microphone every week. Why did this message have to come from a rock star? “
  • Our government could not find $1 billion to help the poor; but it found $700 billion to bail out banks. This shows that we can find money in a crisis. What is more a crisis than life or death?
  • Hybels takes Bono to task for his lack of involvement in a local church. Bono replies that lifeless ceremony is hard to take. He looks for honesty and humility. The Church tends to trumpet divisive issues rather than grace.
  • Don’t be surprised that change is hard. There is always resistance to justice and equality. Ask yourself: where have you drawn the line?
  • Put anger about poverty and injustice to work to motivate us to do more. This generation has the potential to end extreme poverty.

Tony Blair

An Interview with Tony Blair

Jim Mellado, Willow Creek Association president, interviews Right Honorable Tony Blair, Former Prime Minster of United Kingdom

  • Leaders must sometimes step out and speak against conventional wisdom; must be willing to take a stand and maybe even fail.
  • Doubt is a deep reflection on what you are doing and whether it is right. It is a positive process.
  • Religious faith gave Blair the courage to take a stand. Faith is a potent force for both good and bad in the world.
  • When we lead through crisis, do we react by pointing a finger or in unity? Do not allow a crisis to divide, but come together.
  • Whatever pain or struggle we have is nothing compared to the blessings we enjoy, so what are we complaining about?
  • Leadership is a blessing, a gift. Use it to help others. Even when painful it is still worth doing. The sense of fulfillment makes the pain worthwhile.
Get My FREE Ebook

78% of people search for products and services online before they buy. Don't miss out!

Learn how to market your business online using your website, blogging, social media, and email marketing.

By | 2016-07-27T19:04:11+00:00 August 8, 2009|Categories: Blog, Conferences|Tags: , |


  1. gjduke August 10, 2009 at 11:05 am - Reply


    Excellent post – you are phenomenal in taking notes and providing summaries. These are so well done.

    • beth g sanders August 10, 2009 at 11:11 am - Reply

      Thanks so much, Gary. I was also live tweeting at the same time, so it felt a bit like walking and chewing gum.

  2. gjduke August 10, 2009 at 12:05 pm - Reply


    Excellent post – you are phenomenal in taking notes and providing summaries. These are so well done.

  3. beth g sanders August 10, 2009 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much, Gary. I was also live tweeting at the same time, so it felt a bit like walking and chewing gum.

  4. gjduke August 10, 2009 at 1:05 pm - Reply


    Excellent post – you are phenomenal in taking notes and providing summaries. These are so well done.

  5. beth g sanders August 10, 2009 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much, Gary. I was also live tweeting at the same time, so it felt a bit like walking and chewing gum.

  6. gjduke August 10, 2009 at 5:05 pm - Reply


    Excellent post – you are phenomenal in taking notes and providing summaries. These are so well done.

  7. beth g sanders August 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much, Gary. I was also live tweeting at the same time, so it felt a bit like walking and chewing gum.

Talk Back to Me