Thursday, August 14, 2014

Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit -- A Grander Vision

(Here at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit in an effort to improve my leadership as a volunteer with Operation Christmas Child.  Learn more about OCC at )  Ready to hear about "A Grander Vision" from Don Flow, Allen Catherine Kagina, and Wilfredo De Jesus --

Bill Hybels:  All my life I've been intrigued by people who live at a higher level than their peers.  I call this the "Grander Vision".  For the last two decades I've watched Willow people try to integrate their faith into their work world.  Some of what I've seen isn't pretty.  Many simply give up trying--they have their Sunday faith, their private faith--but don't integrate it into everyday life.

In this session you will hear from 3 leaders who did not give up on the Grander Vision.  They will tell you this is not easy but challenge us to keep trying.

Don Flow --
I've known Bill for nearly 30 years and I thank him for conversations we had on the critical importance of leaders sustaining a deep intimacy with Christ.

How does your faith affect every aspect of your business? -- Work is a place that Chist has called me to--to exercise faith, to bring hope, to create a culture that participates in the redemptive work of Christ in the world-

--through prayer
--through leadership
--through the company culture
--how we relate to customers

My day begins with prayer for our company to be a place that's a signpost for the Word of God.  I pray for specific people at work, to enter into their lives and to pray for their lives.  If I don't start my day like that, I don't have the ability to live love and bring hope

Love should animate Christian leaders.  I need to learn to share the lives of the people I lead.  There's a direct correlation with my intimacy in Christ and my intimacy with others.

I'm called to be a person of truth and grace and not self-seeking.  The company will not be more truthful than I am or more graceful than I am.  This is a high calling and I fail every day but we live under the grace of Christ.

I'm responsible for the culture of my company.  It can be toxic or life-enhancing.

Covenant with our customers -- always tell the truth, do the right thing, keep our promises  (do not take advantage of customers and intentionally limit our profit on car sales)
Community with one another--creating a culture that's inclusive and see each as a member of the body--fitness centers; $3000 college tuition per year per child; flex time;  personal emergency grants to employees; celebrate lives of employees
Commitment to our community--investing in each area of the community; each dealership takes on projects in their communities;  employees who volunteer in the community are paid for their time

What does a business look like in the fullest sense?  -- How much of the curse can be reversed?

We were given a calling in the world--the power to organize all of creation.  Without the fall every person's gifts would have been utilized for the common good.  The world is not what it was supposed to be but the New Testament makes it clear that Jesus Christ changed everything.  It's the role of the church to help raise our visions back.

We are called to be people who live by the vision of reweaving the broken world.  We're to do so in the manner of Jesus.

Employees evaluated on the acronym SERVE

Show Respect
Earn Trust
Reach for Perfection
Value Input
Energize Others

Allen Catherine Kagina--

Most of you have paid your taxes--maybe grudgingly.  I work for the Uganda Revenue Authority and God has done incredible things there.

In 2013 Africa was the world's fastest growing continent.
World Bank expects most African countries will reach middle income status by 2025
An estimated 58% of people in the region were living on less than $2 per day in 2000 but poverty rate is declining
Why is a continent that seems to be doing so well also so poor? -- corruption

My story is the story of how God changed one of the most corrupt institutions in Uganda.  Before 2004 the police and the revenue authority fought for #1 and #2 as the most corrupt.  In 2004 the job I now hold became vacant and I was naive enough to believe God could change anything.  My friends and I had been praying God would change this organization.  I was angry that nothing was happening.  But I believe when you bring God in there can be change.

We began reform looking at two things--

We decided to ask all employees to apply again for their jobs.  We terminated all employees and gave them two months' notice to reapply.  Through six months of interviews they rehired and became a cleaner and more competent organization.  Things like this have to happen if you want to deal with corruption.

We went to the taxpayers and asked what kind of service they wanted.  We asked to serve the taxpayers.  We built online systems for paying taxes and also funded tax education so people would understand their rights.  We then rebranded--cut off old logos and colors and then went into the community to do service.  We began to build trust among the people.

Over the years God has invaded the tax authority and that has resulted in revenue growth of 317%.  God has invested so much in Africa.  We have so many resources.  We just need to get the people to do the right thing.

People who have worked with us have been recruited to head large companies and other civic authorities.

This was always God's idea because He wanted us to serve the people of Uganda and wanted the people and communities to be developed.  I am so convinced that if we will invite God into the public arena and into our churches that God will take over and we'll begin to see better societies.

Wilfredo De Jesus--  (My daughter attended Wilfredo's church in Chicago and we enjoyed worshiping there a number of times.)

In the year 2002 I was approached by the police commander of Chicago because of the prostitution problem.  The church began by praying.  We cannot allow prayer to be a crutch not to do anything.  I told my wife that 600 women were arrested for prostitution and I feel God wants us to buy a farm.

Went to the church and said, "Somebody has a farm.  Give it up!"  After 8 months a woman came to me and said her relative who had passed away had a farm.  The church bought it and 500 women have been rescued from prostitution and human trafficking.

You have to trust God to meet all your needs.  Once the condition of your community is revealed to you, you must move to action.  Ezekiel 22:30 -- Who will stand in the gap? No one was found.

Gaps exist all over in our communities.  God is still asking who will stand in the gap.  As pastors and lay leaders we must engage our community.  Not only those who come to your church but your entire community.

How do I see the entire community?  Do what Jesus did.  Sit with the lost.  Converse with the lost.  Jesus went toward the lost.

Wilfredo told a worker to "Go hire five prostitutes."  He paid them all and then told them "I want you to come with me."  For me what's sacred is the message not the method.  I took the five women into the church and we had linens and candles and roses and for an hour we served them and told them about Jesus.  At the end, through tears, they returned the money.  Some of those women are involved in ministry now.

We must not be afraid to take our faith into our community.  Fear is the opposite of faith.  Reminder of Nehemiah who asked the question, "How's Jerusalem?"  If you're not going to do anything about the answer, then don't ask.  Nehemiah knew he had to do something--with revelation comes responsibility.  Here's what Nehemiah did

1)  He prayed -- he wept and cried for the people;  80% of the world's population lives on $10 a day--there's a gap
2)  He planned -- planning is crucial.  You've got to write it down.  How many of us have been in the huddle for five years.  When is it we're going to do what God has called us to do.  We've gotta get out of the huddle.
3) He proceeded --You have to be willing to sacrifice.  (Wilfredo asked the Mayor of Chicago for two ambulances to take to Dominican Republic.  He was given them!)
4)  He persuaded -- The moment you decide to stand in the gap there will always be persecution.  Nehemiah was a lay person.  This is the season to release our lay people into the gaps in our community to engage the problems.

Nehemiah asked, "How is Jerusalem?"  Ask that in your community today.  That question is relevant regardless of where you live.

Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite all the obstacles; cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances. --Martin Luther King

Bill Hybels:  There's a reason God made you.  There's a reason He wired you the way you are.  Something important in this world will be left undone unless you put your hand to it.  There's a Grander Vision somewhere in the world with your name on it.  Someday you will say, "I was born to do this."

"This is the place where my deep gladness meets the world's great need"--Fredrick Buechner

Are you living out the Grander Vision that God has designed for you?  Many of you are--you understand your piece in His greater story.  However, I would guess that a large percentage of you still wander around every day and wonder, "Is this all there is?"  "Will my life ever be used for a higher purpose?"

Look at Ephesians 2:10 one more time.  "We ARE God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

The satisfaction you're looking for is never going to come through self-gratification.  Over time, find God's bidding for your life.  Do it by faith.  Serve people joyfully and indiscriminately and the satisfaction your heart yearns for will follow that.  I bet the farm of my life on this and it's true.

For some of you, safety still matters too much.  Some of you are bankrupt when it comes to satisfaction.  It's been so long since you felt it you even wonder if it could be felt.  God loves you and He didn't mean for you to feel bankrupt.  There's a life for you to live and it's truly life.  God made you on purpose for a purpose and when you get in synch with that purpose you will feel it to your toes.

There's not an accidental human being in the mind of God.  You were created for a Grander Vision.  How do I find it?  It's you putting your hand in God's hand and taking a step of faith to see if that's the direction God wants you to go.  You try out various purposes and take that step by step walk of faith and it unfolds.  But you must start.  You must take the step.

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