Friday, August 9, 2013

Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit--Bill Hybels; Jim Mellado; Gary Schwammlein


Bill Hybels says, "Building the Willow Creek Association with Jim Mellado has been one of the joys of my life.  I know I'm supposed to be excited and wish him well as he goes to Compassion and promise to pray for him but I'm still in the mode of missing him.  It's going to take me a long time to get over him moving to Colorado.  It's tough after two decades to say goodbye.

We have a tradition at Willow.  The Bible says in Phil. 2:29 that when someone has led well in a church you should give them appropriate honor.  Our tradition is to say kind words and then say, "We hold you in high regard.  Way to go," and then clap like crazy.  This is important to our church."

Jim Mellado (with great emotion) says "There really aren't words but I want to say thank you.  I met the first member of my team when I first joined and there were only a dozen employees.  John Williams was the one that suggested we satellite the summit...Thank you to my church Willow Creek.  My kids came to Christ here.  I thank my mentor, Bill, who gave me the gift of belief, the gift of opportunity, the gift of coaching, the gift of reprimands at the right time.  He believed in me every year, learning to live with successes and failures.  He wrote a note to me that will mean more to me than you can ever imagine and said, "We're gonna do Kingdom mischief for the rest of our lives no matter what seat you're sitting in in the Kingdom."

Gary Schwammlein is going to be the new president of the WCA.  He says:  When Bill asked me to be president of the WCA he knew I was planning to retire.  I turned 70 in May and my wife had organized a birthday/ retirement party but I made the decision to take this job so it became a non-retirement party.

The local church is the hope of the world when it's working right.  But many are not working right.  My mind was clouded with the faces of many people who have impacted the church in the right way.  And I heard a voice telling me, "I want you to take this position."

Let me share an example:  Recently I visited a church in Calcutta to see if we could hold a GLS there and the pastor was greatly supportive.  What impressed me was to see a church in the minority in that area ministering to all the needs of the people.  A school for 3,500 children, a hospital with 350 beds, 10,000 children being fed every day.  What would the city be like without this church?

When I see churches functioning without passion it frustrates me and angers me.  Without passion relationships are dull and boring and church can become routine.

The local church is the hope of the world when it's working right.  Leadership matters and in the last few years I've embraced this concept in all I do.  Leadership allows all the other gifts to flourish.  Great, God-honoring leadership is the key to the church being the hope of the world.  If you want your leadership to matter, lead in the things that matter to God.

Recently I was in VietNam and saw the work of an organization based in the US and was so impressed with their work.  I put an old German hymn on repeat on YouTube for two hours and prayed that God would open up a door for ministry in that country.

We're about helping churches everywhere to thrive.  That is well worth delaying my retirement plans.  "If you're not dead, you're not done."

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