Over the next two days, I will be posting insights from the speakers of the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. Basically, whatever I find interesting or helpful I will just post in phrases and non-exact quotes in the form of notes. Here we go:
Everyone is helped when a leader gets better. We must humble ourselves to learn from others to grow in leadership.
Parable of the Sower and the Seed: Luke 8 - 75% of the seed that was spread around was rejected. Only 25% of the seed was accepted and produced a good harvest. 75% of the seed fell on the path or rocky ground or among the thorns. Satan plucked it out or the thorns choked it out. Only 25% of the seed fell on good ground. How do we see more trees planted? If there is a 75% rejection ratio of the seed, then we need to plant more seed so that the 25% grows.
Are we planting seeds? Are we helping people grow in the Lord and be transformed and changed? Are we inviting people and letting people know about what God is doing in our midst? Do people know that we are here? Do they know we exist? Do they know what we stand for and and who we witness to? If everyone in your community doesn't know about you and what you believe in and who you belong to, then it is time to plant more seed. 75% will be rejected, but perhaps, 25% will bear fruit.
Willow Creek has started using ALPHA as a way to introduce people to Christ. Many have become Christians. They have also begun a "Getting Started" initiative to help people get started in their faith in Christ. They are training 1800 people in sharing their faith and are developing a way to get people in their services together in small groups in their services. They are trying all kinds of things and are planting more seeds all over. They saw several hundred baptisms recently. They want to see changed lives and to see that, they need to plant more seeds.
Whether you like it or not, the whole organization takes its seed sowing cues from the leader/pastor. If you keep sowing the same seed and never expand, then your harvest will decline. We need to stay curious and keep leading. We need to fight off apathy and entropy. Keep experimenting. Keep learning. Keep doing different things. Keep planting seeds. Keep tinkering. Do things better and different and try new things. The trees that we are hoping to see grow are worth it. We are planting seeds for an eternal harvest.
Self Leadership: YOU are the most difficult person you will ever lead. We need to improve our work habits. The most important leadership asset is not our time. It is our energy and our ability to energize other people - ability to energize culture and new initiatives. What are the things that you can do to strengthen your organization/church? What would God have you do over the course of a month? What are 6 things that you can do over 6 weeks to most impact your organization/church? Or, 4 things over 4 weeks? 4X4 or 6X6. We cannot sprint for 6 months. We can only sprint for a short time. We lose focus over a long period of time. What if we initiated energy bursts over short periods of time to get things done? What if we focused to plant seeds in specific ways?
What if you set goals over short period of times (6 weeks) so you could move things ahead and become more effective in bringing transformation to lives. What can you do over the next 6 weeks to powerfully move this organization/church ahead? What would it look like if you had energy to move things ahead? Leadership matters. You only have a finite amount of energy with which you can energize people in your organization. Use it with focus and move ahead with faith into what God has in store for you.
Leadership Succession Plan:
Willow Creek is beginning to move toward a succession plan. 80% of the thousands of megachurches are less than 30 years old, but they are about to go through a leadership transition. How will they do it? How will these founding pastors or pastors who have grown their churches to great size transition to new leadership? Will they do so effectively?
Planning Phase of Transition: Who will choose the new pastor? What is the time frame? How will the church honor the previous pastor? Will the pastor have any role in the church after he leaves?
Internal Leadership Search for Successor is the next phase.
External leadership search if the internal search does not happen is next.
Transition phase to the new pastor is next after the new pastor is identified and this is expected to take 18 months or so. At this point, Bill Hybels will step away. He expects this to take place in the next 5-10 years.
The job of leaders is to move people from "Here to There." Don't paint the picture for "There" until you make the case that we cannot stay "Here" any longer. Give reasons why "Here" is unacceptable. Once people understand this, then tell the story of what "There" might look like.
Leadership is a privilege. Very people people get to lead organizations. When you lead a church, you are investing in something eternal that matters and will last and that gives glory to God and that changes lives. It is a privilege and is something that we should value and appreciate and never take for granted. We should praise God every day for the chance to lead people in His purposes.
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