Where to begin?
Well first a thank you to Faith Community for allowing most of the staff to attend this years Summit Leadership. It has been great so far and very challenging. Secondly to Willow Creek Association for all their heard work in making it happen. The speakers have all been incredible with their ‘sound bytes’ of wisdom to echo deep in our hearts and souls.
I wanted to just take a few moments to share my thoughts from today and high lights & questions from the speakers from today.
I have to start by saying how much I respect Bill, his ministry, and integrity to God, His church, and His people. I really appreciated Bill sharing about to many of us in ministry are working in the Dangerously Over Challenged range of our level of work, while some are Under Challenged. I felt, even before he spoke, that I operate slightly above the Appropriate level of Challenge and that I have my ups and downs because of that. It was a powerful reminder that slightly above that range is where we have to call on the Holy Spirit to empower us to do incredible things for Gods glory.
I had some trouble in his talks when it came the letting folks go in ministry because “they church had out grown their capacity” or that they “did not have the elasticity to change and perform with the church”. With a business model I totally understand the need to ‘drop’ weight when things aren’t going right, or positioning folks to serve in their ‘sweet spots’. I also understand letting folks go when there are moral issues at hand. But I do struggle with this idea of saying to staff member, a child of God, “you don’t have what it takes to ‘lead’ this church and its people any more, because you lack the skills”. I know its necessary sometimes, just having a hard time meshing that concept with the 1st truth of we are a family of God called to serve and grow with one another, not fire people and hire people better suited to create programs and vision for the church… anyways I digress, something I will just have to continue to think through and pray.
A few questions Bill’s session got me thinking about were…
- What is my ‘replenishment’ system? — What am I doing to replenish who I am?
- Who I am letting set the pace in my life & ministry? The Holy Spirit, the Staff of the church, the ministry, the Congregation?
- What 5 words best describe the Good News?
Great thoughts really challenging for sure.
Len’s message was good. It was a little hard to follow academically from time to time but I came away with lots of questions from his talk to ask myself in my own life and walk.
Len started by talking about the purpose of leadership is to move us from ‘here’ to ‘there’ and that before any movement, or I would add, any smart, important, helpful, honorable, purposeful movement, is made we must ask our selves ‘What about ‘here is unacceptable that we need to get ‘there’”. Its in this understanding that we see the injustice, unfairness, and lack of fulfillment that we can have a focus well intentioned enough to propel us from ‘here to there’. If we can’t understand why here is not a good place then how can we ever fathom of going to there.
Here are some sound bytes that really rocked me from Len’s session with a —> explaining why…
- Believe in the future by creating it first —> Don’t simply hope and pray for something to come but partner in making it reality
- How do I self-edit myself out of action? —> This one is huge for me. What am I doing to sabotage my action and vision before I ever get it started
- Do we ‘enroll’ people into ministry or ‘sell’ them into it? —> Am I living and working in a ministry that people are wanting to help and create or am I have to sell them this idea of what ‘could be’
- Stop obsessing about the ‘what if’s‘ and lean into the ‘what is next’ —>This is really rocking me still. If I get caught up so much in the future of what if’s will I honestly ever take a step into the what is next. I have to lean heard on the Holy Spirit to follow the what’s next
- What am I excited about —> As I think about ministry and my unique call to be a part of the body of Christ, what excites me, what is screaming from my soul that I want to do and share and usher in a new future for myself and others?
Pretty tough thoughts but very necessary to ponder for sure.
Honorable Cory Booker
Where to begin with this prophet of New Jersey. Cory Booker is an incredible man of God and someone I have been reading up on and following for some time now. I loved his passion, his faith, and his humility. I can not thank God enough for Cory sharing his heart and story and battle cry from the Lord to ‘Stand up for something!’
Cory in sharing his story shared that in the end of every day it is not about the thoughts we think, but the somethings we chose to do. Are we choosing to stand up for something or sit in frustration and impotency to not believe we can do anything?
It is an injustice to just share sound bytes from Cory, but here are a few thoughts that got me thinking and will for some time…
- Will I stand and metabolism the blessings the Lord has given so that it becomes a nourishment for action in my world to impact others?
- The world I see outside is a mirror reflection of what is inside of me –> If I see only ugliness and evil, where is the beauty and good in me that wants to come out and transform the world?
- To stand for tomorrow we must stand today
- We have ONE choice every second: to accept the situation or to transform the situation for greatness –> I can, through kindness live a choice to impact a situation for greatness or to leave it untouched to just be.
Really, Cory is a man on a mission from God to transform New Jersey and politics I believe. My prayers go to him and his area of ministry.
Brenda Salter McNeil
I had heard Brenda speak once before at Youth Specialties and heard a lot of the same message today, but was no less moved and inspired to ask some hard questions in my world of where isn’t Jesus calling me. Brenda’s ministry and passion for cultural & ethnic restoration is so contagious and fresh that her words from the mouth of God really called me to look at my own ‘Jerusalem’
A question she posed that I formulated as ‘Does the noise/business/culture cause me to stop and want nothing to do with it or does it push me through it with power’. Do I believe that God has placed the Holy Spirit in my life to make those moments of uncomfortablity moments that push me through the Sound Barrier in my world. What are those things in my world that need that?
Brenda left us with 3 questions and mandates to ponder to break through our sound barrier’s into the ministry and leadership God has called us to
- Pray for a Divine Mandate –> What has God put my name on this earth to do? To ask God to break my heart for what breaks His
- Name my catalytic events –> too look for those things that won’t just bring destruction but to actually bring change and transformation. Seeing moments where God is waiting to break in and transform people.
- Mobilize people to go! –> the Spirit hasn’t just come for us to go and do this ushering in, but to empower others to come into contact with that Holy Spirit “wind” they are swept away to go into all the world Acts 1.8
I always enjoy Seth Godin. A very fascinating man who is very creative. He is the king of one liners and creativity. I enjoyed his session, but felt it wasn’t very focused. He seemed to hit every book he has written. Seth is normally all over the place anyways so its him, but I would have liked to have had a little more focused talk about ‘poking the box’, pushing for change beyond the normal and accepted. I did have some good walk a ways and questions that you will find below…
- We ask people to fit in and be molded into our systems so we can ignore them
- What lines in the sand am I drawing for my life –> those places that make me stand out
- What lines in the sand is the church drawing in the sand –> like above
- Just because the tide is out doesn’t mean there is less water in the ocean
- To often we hold on to our gifts until they become rotten and we can’t share them or even give them away.
Steven was an absolute delight and man I enjoy hearing preach. He and I share an extreme delight in Gods word, and as he said it is our generation that is so arrogant and bold to actually believe what God says is true that we live it blindly seeking to usher that kingdom in.
Steven end capped day one with an incredibly passion filled message of really pushing our selves farther in our faith. In looking at the story from 2Kings 3.9-20 we see Elisha pushing the children of God to faith in not only asking, but obediently acting along with their prayer and request. Elisha instructed them to dig ditches and that the glory of the Lord would fill the ditches with the water they would need.
Steven reminded us that it DOES NOT matter how much we plan, how much we have, how much we have out numbered our enemy, it is God and God ALONE that ’causes it to rain’. With out Him it is all for nothing. The ditch is the act God is calling us to dig so that His Glory and Kingdom can come down. Below are some thoughts and questions from Steven’s excellent challenge to trust God more to provide for the unthinkable…
- Am I digging ditches that only God can fill?
- What are my ditches that I am being called to dig?
- Is my vision so small it insults God?
- If we will do all we can do, He will do what only He can do!
An amazing 1st day.
Lots to ponder and lots for you all to read through. So what are your thoughts