Thursday, August 14, 2014

Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit -- Bryan Loritts

Note:  It's meaningful for me to hear Bryan Loritts because the church I attended most of my life supported Bryan's father, Crawford Loritts, from the time he started in ministry.  I remember Bryan growing up and am eager to hear him speak about

Instigating Change Through Personal Sacrifice

I am thrilled to come and share thoughts on leadership.  I am an African-American preacher and we like to open our sermons by thanking everybody.  I was preaching in a North Carolina church and the pastor said, "Brother, we are a Spirit-led church.  Time means nothing. .....But the people leave at twelve."

The insightful words Jesus said before He went to the cross about how His organization is to be run.

Matthew 25:31-46

Jesus does not want His church to be monopolized by the affluent.  He wants it to be an inclusive organization that includes "the least of these."

William Wilberforce -- I encourage you to drink deeply from the life of this leader.  At age 21, he was at a party with William Pitt and in the middle of this party they decided to run for parliament.  William Wilberforce ran, won the seat, and would never again lose that seat.  At age 25 he experienced the "train wreck of the gospel" and came to understand the love of God and asked Him into his life.

Now in 1787 at the height of slavery in England, Wilberforce decides to quit parliament and become a pastor.  Then his mentor John Newton, who had once been involved in slave trade himself, said to him, "It is hoped and believed, young William, that the Lord has raised you up for the good of the nation."  William then stayed at parliament and on Christmas Eve gave a six hour address citing his goal as the abolition of slavery.

William Wilberforce believed it in his gut.  He didn't ascribe to a church that catered to the affluent.

When we get to heaven we will see William Wilberforce because he understood the blessings of God were not to be hoarded.  Our vision as leaders has got to be more than the stuff that will perish.  Jesus says to His leaders, if you do not share the goods of this world with people in need, you will enter into eternal punishment.  He is not preaching salvation by works.  God does not give the ten commandments first and then open the Red Sea. He opened the Red Sea first.  His laws are never "have to" but "get to".

Rom. 5:8 "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."   I will never be able to work and do enough good things.

The Matthew text deals not with the root of salvation but the fruit of salvation.

I prayed to lead a multi-ethnic church.  This comes from Jesus' command to "love the world."  I wanted to give a piece of heaven on earth.  Started with 26 people (I was the only piece of chocolate in the room.)

From Genesis to Revelation there are over 2,350 verses that talk about God's heart for the orphan, alien, widow, and the poor.  You can't claim to have God's heart and do nothing for the least of these.

God's welfare policy was different than the US policy.  Let the poor come and work your field.   The 2014 principle is that we leave margin to spontaneously and generously give to the least of these.

John Wesley at age 18 or 19 looked at his finances and decided what he needed to live on and then gave everything else away.  One year he made 1500 pounds from the sale of his book.  He still lived on only 28 pounds and gave the rest away.  John Wesley wrestled with the question of "enough".  How much is enough?  How much is enough house?  How much is enough purses?  How much are enough golf clubs?

Our church is trying to model this.  We started our church with 26 people chasing the dream of inclusivity.  Now we have four services.  I got a nice raise and my wife and I looked at each other and said, "enough." and gave the rest away.  That is what brings joy.

Leaders, would you look around you and at least consider the question of "What is enough?"  Jesus did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied Himself.

I have diamond status with Delta which means if there's ever an empty seat in first class I get it.  My wife has no status.  So I've learned when I am traveling with my wife I get the upgrade but I sit next to my wife and ask the person who was to be in my seat to sit in my seat in first class.   I still have my status but I give it up.  That's what Jesus did--He came and died so we could get the upgrade back to heaven.


  1. Off the topic question - where do you purchase the white shoe boxes? I have a vision to have a 1,000 box packing party at my church. Thank you.

  2. We don't purchase them. We received them as a gift for our packing party and I don't have a connection for a place to purchase them. You could check with the OCC regional office for your area and see if they might be able to help you.