Thursday, August 9, 2012

Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit--Craig Groeschel--The Strongest Link

Getting ready to hear another set of leadership wisdom from the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit to help me with my leadership journey for Operation Christmas Child---

Segue--Access to Bibles is greater than ever before but mere access doesn't help us to grow.  We need to engage with the Bible and reflect on it to bring change into our lives.  A new initiative called "Uncover the Word" has been started to help believers engage with Scripture.

Segue--former Summit speaker Carly Fiorina; former CE, Hewlett-Packard--nervous about speaking of her personal faith walk.  She shared she believed as a child in a personal relationship with God but as she grew older she still prayed every day but came to view God as the CEO of a super universe.  She could not believe in the literal virgin birth or the resurrection and felt they were allegories.  Bill Hybels continued to pray for her and share with her.  On Christmas Eve she prayed for revelation and awoke with peace on Christmas morning.  She saw the miracles of creation and said why not an immaculate conception?  She saw God as a personal God who knows each of us.  She saw that because God knows us so well His care was substantiated in a physical Son to show us the right path.  A short time later her father died and Carly grieved deeply but felt peace.  She then was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and went through many treatments but the sweet peace never left her.  She no longer feared death.  A few weeks after her treatment was completed, her younger daughter died alone in her apartment.  She still had comfort and peace.  Her husband then told her he had lost his faith.  Carly prayed for his faith to be restored.  One day he was changing the oil in his car and saw a pile of boxes stored in the corner of his garage.  Lying on top of the box he opened were 4 Father's Day cards from his daughter with a long letter telling him how much she loved him.  This restored his faith that Jesus loved him and his faith was restored.  Life is not measured in time.  It is measured in love and contributions and moments of faith.  The peace of the Lord passes all understanding.  It lifts us up.  It guides our way.  It carries us in our times of sorrow.  The Lord is my Shepherd.  I shall not want.  Amen.

Craig Groeschel--Bridging the Generation Gap

I would not be speaking to you if it were not for those who have gone before me.  I wouldn't be doing anything close to this if it were not for those who believed in me.  I was a business major when I came to Christ and felt called to give myself in service to Christ but no one was calling.  One week the pastor said to bring a friend to church so I took my fraternity brothers to church.  Pastor Nick saw me and said to another pastor, "See that guy?  Find him and hire him."  Nick taught me so much.  He taught me to illustrate the Bible with the Bible, how to lead staff meetings, how to do hospital visits.

To the older generation--
My advice to you is fairly simple.  I beg you not to resent, fear, or judge the next generation.  Believe in them because they need you.

When I turned 40 a weird thing happened.  I started to ask myself if the best years of ministry were behind me.  I became insecure.  Even though some in our society don't value maturity, God values maturity.  If you have breath in you, you're not done.  Your best days are before you.  My ministry was changed by Lyle Schaller.

Lyle said, "You young guys always think too small."  He told me  when I asked if it was possible to do four services on the weekend that I should think of seven services and five campuses.  My pastor taught me the key of delegating.  Don't just delegate tasks because then you create followers, instead we delegate authority because then we create leaders.

Embrace the season that you are in.  Don't try to be something you are not.  Be yourself.  With the younger generation authenticity trumps cool every single time.  If you care, you love them, you be yourself--the younger generation will line up to learn from you.

I can be a spiritual father to those who come behind me.  You can be a coach, you can be a business mentor, you can invest in those who come behind you.  Psalm 71:18  If you are not dead, you are not done.

To those in the younger generation--

You need those who have gone before you more than you can imagine.  Asked the twenty-somethings what word do you think describes you?  They were surprised to hear that others say 'entitled'.

Because the younger generation feels entitled you will likely overestimate what you can do in the short run but will underestimate what you can do in a lifetime of faithfulness.

How do we 'lead up' to those who are older than we?  Always show respect.

Mark 6:4-6 -- Jesus could not do miracles because of a lack of honor and faith.  We've forgotten to show honor to God--He is not "the man upstairs" or your "Homeboy."  Honor builds up; dishonor tears down;  Honor values other; dishonor devalues others.  Respect is earned but honor is given.  When you ascribe honor to a person they may become more honorable.

I needed my pastor to get better and he needed me to help him get better.  For the generations to work together it has to be intentional.  Leadership naturally age; churches naturally age.

1)  Create ongoing feedback loops between those who are older and those who are much younger.  I go over my message with some from each age group before I speak.  After teaching on Saturday night I have it critiqued again by older and younger members.

2)  Create specific mentoring moments.  These will not happen by accident.  If you are not intentional they will not happen.  If you're younger, ask someone older, "Will you mentor me?"  Get together and ask questions like crazy.

3)  Create opportunities for significant leadership development.  In our organization we had a developmental weekend and chose 38 speakers and trained them to speak.

To those of you who have gone before me, I honor you with all my heart.  I honor my Mom and Dad publicly before you.  I honor the sacrifices my parents made.  I honor my pastor who took a risk on a kid who knew nothing.  When the board thought what I was doing was too risky, my pastor said, "If he goes, I go."  I'm doing what I'm doing today because my pastor took a risk on a young kid.

I honor Bill Hybels because he said, "The local Church is the hope of the world."  I drove away saying one day I'll do something for that.  Bill took bullets with integrity and never complained and faithfully proclaimed Christ.

To the younger generation--I believe in you because you are the most cause-driven generation in history.  We weren't like that.  You don't want a job; you want a calling.  You look at injustice and say, "NO, not on my watch," and because of that I honestly believe you can do way more than my generation could do if you will humble yourself and learn from the generation above you.

I want to kneel down before the One who transformed me and ask the ones who come after me to stand united with me to make His name known.

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