8 Characteristics of GLS Leaders – Bill Hybels


Many U.S. attendees don’t realize that The Global Leadership Summit has already started for our international guests.

The International Partner meetings launched yesterday. Behind-the-Scenes – 600 leaders from every country hosting the Summit converge on South Barrington for the live event. Prior to the conference, they receive training on how to build the leadership movement in their context. And – on Saturday – the week culminates in planning meetings where they select the sessions they will bring to their countries.

Yesterday, Bill Hybels addressed these international leaders with a message describing eight characteristics of leaders that we want to raise up out of the GLS.


  • Spin a globe
  • If you put your finger down on any country, there’s difficulty
  • We’re in the business of raising up leaders to tackle those problems


1) Leaders of Vision

– Not personality driven

– Leaders with visions from God for the good of others

2) Leaders of Passion

– Sleepy leaders don’t change the order of things

3) Leaders of Love

– Not driven by power or fame

– Self-sacrificing love is at the core of godly leadership

4) Leaders Committed to Ongoing Growth

– After conversion – most leaders get “second conversions”

– God convicts leaders to address different issues and causes

– Bill had second conversions around becoming global, poverty, race and diversity, kids with special needs, those who are incarcerated

5) Leaders Who Can Handle Complexity

– The connection between compassion, justice and politics

– Churches are good at compassion

– But some problems are entrenched and need legal solutions (justice) and possibly political solutions (politics)

– It takes confrontation to solve certain things

6) Leaders from Every Segment of Society

– The Summit used to be just for pastors

– Now we draw from church staff, business leaders, educational leaders, government leaders

– Changing the world is complicated and we need all leaders in the game

7) Leaders who Embrace Diversity

– So many problems in the world, at their core, stem from people who cannot embrace the “other”

– Mono-cultural solutions are not where the world is going nor what the Bible teaches

8) Leaders for the Long Haul

– At WCA, we enter into long-term relationships with our partners internationally and in the U.S.

– We stay in countries in which we lose money

– We teach sustainability physically, mentally, emotionally

For this and other great leadership content from Bill Hybels and The Global Leadership Summit, be sure to download our brand-new app, GLSnext. iOS: | Android:


10 Things You Can Do to Prepare for the 2015 Global Leadership Summit

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By Liz Driscoll, WCA Director of Content Acquisition

Excitement is mounting around Willow Creek Community Church and 449 Premier Host Sites across the United States. Facilities are being prepared. Registrations are being processed. Resource centers are being stocked. Volunteers are being trained. Technology is being tested.

Prayers are being prayed that God will show up again this year – as He always does.

Maybe in your world, you are trying to get through this week’s worth of projects in three days so you can focus on the content at the event.

In the midst of all that is happening this week, try to take a little time to center yourself and prepare for what you are about to experience. We believe that God wants to impact your life this week. And a few minutes of preparation can produce huge dividends as you get your heart and mind in the right posture for the experience.

Here are 10 Ways You Can Prepare:

1. Pray.  Ask God to clear your mind of clutter, prepare your spirit to learn a new truth and open your heart to hear His words to you as a leader.

2. Download the GLS15 app. This is your in-conference guide to all things Summit, including speaker bios, the schedule, links to the Summit blog, social media and fun, interactive polls. (If you downloaded the GLS14 app last year, the GLS15 app will simply be an update.)

3. Download the GLSnext app here. With this newly released resource, you can continue your learning after the Summit. Find hundreds of Global Leadership Summit video shorts organized by leadership topic (with more added each week). The entire leadership library is at your fingertips. And it’s free!

4. Watch a Pixar movie with a kid or a tween. Pull out a longtime favorite from your DVD collection or go to the theater and watch the recently released Inside Out. Discuss your thoughts about the movie. Ed Catmull will give us a unique window into Pixar’s culture and how they manage to create innovative and impactful films, every time.

5. Learn about your leadership style. Take Adam Grant’s Give & Take online assessment here.

6. Think about the last time you received really bad customer service? List the elements that made it so awful and what could have turned it around. Horst Schulze will give us a deeper understanding of the mechanics of good service.

7. Read the story of the Feeding of the 5000 in John 6. One of the Summit talks will be built around this biblical text. Whose? We’ll let that be a surprise!

8. Take Liz Wiseman’s Rookie Smarts quiz here.

9. Identify a recent time when you took a risk for a project or relationship – but something went wrong. Bring that experience to mind for Dr. Brené Brown’s session. She will help us explore healthy ways we can emerge, Rising Strong, after a failure.

10. Get social with us! “Like” The Global Leadership Summit on Facebook. Follow us on TwitterInstagram, and Periscope. Follow the conversation happening with the hashtag #GLS15.  You’re definitely going to want to post and tweet about your experience!

See you at the Summit . . .

I Have a Bean—The Official Coffee of The Global Leadership Summit 2015



Pete Leonard’s idea of artisan coffee used to be a fancy mocha latte with whipped cream. Now, as the founder of I Have a Bean Coffee, he (along with many of his customers) drinks his coffee black. I Have a Bean is a coffee roastery in Wheaton, Illinois and an online store at ihaveabean.com that combines passion with purpose.

I Have Bean is the official coffee of The Global Leadership Summit 2015. The company roasts coffee from the top one percent of coffee in the world and in the process, serves what many consider to be in the bottom one percent of society—felons who have been released from prison and are trying to find a way back into society.

I Have a Bean roasts and distributes truly exceptional coffee, and helps transform the lives of post-prison people in the process. With that work comes a dream—that men and women will no longer be preemptively judged by the errors of their past, but will be known instead by the present evidence of the content of their character.

The company began in 2007 as Second Chance Coffee Company, intent on using every part of the business to “love our neighbor as ourselves” and to positively impact the spiritual, social and economic condition of its employees, their families and the communities in which they live. The company opened its doors and began roasting beans in 2009.

But I Have a Bean started long before 2007.

WCA sat down with Pete to learn more about his story—and about I Have a Bean.

WCA: There are a lot of coffee drinkers out there—and most can remember their introduction to the brew. What fueled your love for coffee?

Pete Leonard (PL): My first taste of coffee came in the basement of a church when I was 12 years old. The smile on my face caused unexpected dismay on my mother’s. That drink was more milk and sugar than coffee, but I remember how much I liked it. It was a natural progression from that to the milk/chocolate/espresso combination called a mocha latte that I was drinking years later. Then on a mission trip to Brazil in 2005, I was introduced to high-quality coffee roasted from freshly harvested coffee beans over an open fire. That was a taste epiphany! I think I brought 10 kilos (22 lbs.) of roasted coffee beans home to give as gifts—and I drank 8 of them myself. I was hooked.

WCA: What happened when you ran out?

PL: I bought a cup of coffee from the local outlet of a large international chain, took a drink and well, I couldn’t spit it out fast enough. It was horrible. So different from the coffee I was introduced to in Brazil! So I built a roaster that ran in my gas grill—and then spent Saturday after Saturday practicing the art of roasting coffee…at least as much as I could do on my grill!

WCA: How did you go from roasting your own beans to selling them?

PL: I had no plans to sell coffee. As far as I was concerned, I was only trying to produce something I would personally enjoy. One of my neighbors was a missionary kid who had lived in Kenya when his parents were missionaries there, so he knew a thing or two about good coffee. I asked him if he would try my roasted coffee beans and he agreed on the condition I use beans from Kenya. He promised to give me his honest opinion. He offered suggestions—many, many suggestions—and as a result, my coffee got better and better. One Saturday I walked across the street with a bag of roasted beans and his wife said she couldn’t take them.

WCA: Why?

PL: She emphasized the word “take” and said mine was the only coffee her family had been drinking for the last three months. They knew it cost me money and they didn’t want me to stop. She insisted on buying the coffee, and while I wasn’t looking to make a sale, that was my first one. Before long, other neighbors, friends and people at church were placing orders.

WCA: That explains how you got started with coffee. How did you get involved in helping former prisoners?

PL: I used to think people who broke the law and went to jail/prison were just “bad people.” Then a relative of mine, who is a brilliant mathematician and computer programmer, got into some trouble. He was arrested, convicted, sentenced and sent to prison. I realize now that God was leading me to pay attention to what was happening. Watching what my relative went through is the thing that woke me up. I saw the impact prison had on him, his family and on his community. And God seemed to want me to do something to help. That’s how Second Chance Coffee Company got started.

WCA: How did you go from Second Chance Coffee Company to I Have a Bean?

PL: The name “Second Chance Coffee” works great, if you know our social mission. If you just encounter the name out of the blue, it sounds like the coffee is “second best” or we’re re-roasting coffee that wasn’t quite good enough the first time. So we rebranded to I Have a Bean. And our dream is that men and women will no longer be preemptively judged by the errors of their past, but will be known instead by the present evidence of the content of their character. I think that applies to all of us, not just felons.

WCA: Watching what happened to your relative drew you into the needs of people who are post-prison. What steps did you take to make a difference?

PL: A friend at church introduced me to the work Koinonia House was doing. In Chicago, roughly 20,000 men and women are released from prison every year. In the U.S., it’s somewhere around 700,000 or more. When we founded in 2007, I think the recidivism rate in Illinois was over 60 percent! One of the biggest problems people coming out of prison have is finding employment.

WCA: And you saw a way to build a business around a social mission to help those coming out of prison.

PL: It took a while, but yes. We thought “if they can’t find an employer, what if they employed themselves?” We thought we could make that happen if we built a grill roaster and taught them how to roast coffee and all the other skills they’d need to run their own roasting business. Writing our own business plan revealed a significant problem in our thinking:  It takes two years to learn to roast coffee. The re-entry program for post-prisoners at places like Koinonia House is short term—about 15 months, then they need to move on in order for the house to accommodate more residents. We’d essentially always be training and never able to produce a consistently great product.

We either needed a different business or we needed to solve the problem of taking two years to learn to roast coffee. At that point, we had to get really serious about whether we were willing to help these guys. So we decided to invent a new kind of coffee roaster—Bean Master 5000. Before I Have a Bean, I owned a software company and I knew the right software could ensure consistency in the roasting process. Software controls every element of the roasting process in Bean Master 5000, so it does not require two years, or even two days to learn to roast coffee. It takes 20 minutes.

WCA: Is I Have a Bean a ministry?

PL: No. We’re not a ministry or a social program. We are a business. I Have a Bean is committed to producing a high quality, marketable coffee that people will buy again and again. We did NOT want to sell coffee that people bought out of guilt. People won’t become repeat customers if the coffee is bad.

WCA: How has hiring post-prison people worked for the company?

PL: Since we started, we’ve hired 29 felons, many of whom have moved on to other great opportunities, and there have been a couple who have not been successes. I think two have returned to prison. When we hire someone, we set the bar where it would be if they were not a felon; we expect them to be dependable, show up on time and work to the best of their ability. They are able to take pride in the production of an outstanding product, and to show the world that a felony conviction does not preclude excellence. We give them every opportunity to learn what life can be like.

WCA: How much coffee do you roast each year? And how does it compare to the larger coffee companies?

PL: I like to say that compared to the big companies, we are smaller than a pimple on the hair of the flea of the dog that sits under the elephant—the elephant being all the coffee in the world. To compare numbers, I Have a Bean currently roasts three to four thousand pounds of coffee each month, which is about 45,000 pounds/year. The big international chain where I used to buy the mocha lattes that I thought were the definition of great coffee does about 1.5 million pounds every 10 days.

As big as that is, it’s still only a fraction of the coffee market. Approximately 85 percent of the coffee consumed in the U.S. is brewed at home. That’s the market we’re going after.

WCA: I Have a Bean is the Official Coffee of The Global Leadership Summit 2015.

PL: We’re very excited to be at The Global Leadership Summit in South Barrington, serving coffee from 12 different stations throughout the facility. We’ll have banners up at each location with a photo of one of our employees who will be right there to talk with Summit attendees in person. The person on the banner will (as often as possible), be the person who is at the serving station. We hope this will emphasize that our mission impacts the lives of people local to the community.

WCA: How do you stay faithful to your mission while growing your business?

PL: We’re only responsible do to what God has asked us to do. God is responsible for the end result. We’re the workers in the field, and we don’t cause the growth.

We stay focused on doing the right thing—doing what God is calling us to do. I Have a Bean is our fulfillment of the greatest commandment—it’s our evidence of loving our neighbors.

The Scripture verse that shapes our company is Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, do it as working for the Lord and not for man. I Have a Bean wants to produce coffee that we would be delighted to serve to Jesus if He walked through the door.

Introducing GLSnext

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We are 10 days away from The Global Leadership Summit and are excited to share our brand-new app, GLSnext with you.

Leaders worldwide leverage Global Leadership Summit events to sharpen their skills and unleash the full potential of their teams. When cultivated in a culture of Christ-Centered leadership, your influence can change lives and the organizations in which you lead.The official GLSnext app for iPhone, iPad and desktop presents videos from a world-class faculty including Bill Hybels, Susan Cain, Patrick Lencioni, Joseph Grenny, Wilfredo De Jesus, and Dr. Henry Cloud. Find hundreds of Global Leadership Summit videos (with more added each week).The entire leadership library is at your fingertips and the GLSnext app updates every week with new videos from the GLS faculty from around the world.

With the GLSnext app you can instantly watch as many leadership videos as you want, as often as you want, anytime you want.

– Hundreds of leadership training videos from from The Global Leadership Summit
– New videos added each week
– Browse videos by keyword, topic, speaker and category
– Search for titles and watch immediately on your phone, tablet or desktop
– Curate and share you own playlist of bookmarked favorites
– Watch and share leadership videos or bookmark and save video playlists for later
– Manage your 6 most important leadership goals for the next 6 weeks with the 6×6 goal management tool
Download GLSnext today for iOS or Android today!


Henry Cloud on How Tears Serve Different Purposes in Our Emotional Life


Henry Cloud (TGLS 2013, 2011, 2009, 2005, 1996) has helped many of us understand the connection between emotional self-awareness and effective leadership. On a recent Facebook Post, he described the fascinating results of recent research proving all tears are not alike. Read the original post here.

I found these pictures fascinating and wanted to share them with you guys, thinking you might as well! Our different tears have very different molecular structure! But when you think about it, it makes perfect sense as our tears have very different functions depending on the kind of emotion they are carrying. In these pictures, we see grief, change, onions and laughing.


One thing they have in common:
They all carry experience.

They come as you express how you are metabolizing events in your life, heart, mind and soul. So, each one of them is doing its own work, carrying the message of what you have been and are going through to move forward.

So what is the work these tears carry in their various molecular structures?
Why are they all different?

Grief says that you have lost something you were attached to, invested in, depended on, and most probably loved. In the tears of grief, the message is “it is gone. I have to let go.” These tears are doing an important work of taking the pain from letting go out of your system. They are helping you value what or whom you have lost…reinforcing the power of love, reminding you to never forget the importance of that person or investment of your heart. At the same time, they are making space for new investment. They are clearing a room inside for what life is going to bring to you to invest your heart in next. This dance of valuing the past, holding on to what is good from it, and taking it forward into the next investment of the heart, making room for the heart’s next chapter, is some of the best work of grief. Where do you need to express some loss and let grief do its work of healing your heart?

Change is a different kind of pain. It rips in a different way, as change gets to patterns and structures that were holding us in tact. Ways that we were doing life, maps we negotiated whether in life for ourselves, with others, or in some area of functioning. Changes mean that we have to take in new data, information and ways, rip out the frame and walls of the old “buildings,” and begin to try to remodel the house. If you have ever been through a remodeling effort, it is messy. It is dusty. It becomes loud, painful, and you feel like you can’t figure out where anything goes or how to do anything you used to be able to do. At the same time, it stretches you to new abilities and heights as you develop new muscles and ways to adapt to what you have not seen before. It can be incredibly good, yet incredibly painful. A basic law of growth is change. We cannot grow without it, and we cannot change and grow without “growing pains.” What pain of change do you need to lean into now and let the tears do their work?

Onion tears to me are the tears of something invading our system that does not belong there. It is toxic. We reject it. Our chemistry says, “go away, get out. You do not make me feel good.” We are wired in that way, to know what is toxic to us, what burns us, what we want to “get out of us.” It can be the poison of a person, group, organization or almost any aspect of life. Any experience that has a toxic effect on our system is going to feel not good to us. We want it away…it burns. These tears help us get the toxic out. What toxins in your life do you need to cry out now?

Laughing tears are our favorite, for sure. What is laughter except the expression of various positive emotional states…it is mainly just goodness! You have taken in an experience or realization that has made life lighter. Your body is expressing it as it releases the energy of that joy, and your tears carry that message. An interesting tidbit about them is that they release some chemicals that can cause depression, and lighten the internal load. Laughter is certainly good at that, and the energy release is your body letting go. Your tears are good for you…emotionally, physically, spiritually, relationally, and in making life work. Embrace them.

One more thing……have you ever wondered why your tear ducts are in your eyes? Why aren’t they in your armpits? If they were there, you could use some anti-tear deodorant, but no one would see them, smell them, or even know you were in pain. But, they are in your eyes for that very reason. Your pain, your tears should be SEEN by someone who is looking right into your soul as you go through that pain. Your pain needs to be seen and loved in order to completely heal.

So, when you cry…make sure you are crying with someone who cares. It will help!

Follow Henry Cloud on Facebook and read the original post here.

Micromanagement is Underrated

Patrick Lencioni Asks If We Have Let the Pendulum Swing Too Far

Summit favorite Patrick Lencioni (TGLS 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2006, 2003) recently made an insightful observation. He wonders if managers today, in the name of avoiding micro-management, are instead erring in the opposite end of the spectrum – “abdication management”. Read the original article here.

When I entered the workforce after college, I first became acquainted with the term ‘micromanagement.’ I quickly learned that this wonky sounding word actually had deceptive power.

People who accused their bosses of micromanaging seemed to do so as a permanent insult more than a mere suggestion for change. It was the organizational equivalent of being labeled a Neanderthal, or a corporate version of being politically incorrect. Micromanagers were assumed to be insecure and distrustful, so no one wanted to have that label applied to them. To make matters worse, being called a micromanager was almost indefensible; if an employee felt that they were being micromanaged, those feelings had to be validated and addressed.

It might be tempting to read this and think “what’s the big deal?” Well, there was an unintended consequence to this micromanagement witch-hunt, one that had a chilling effect on leaders that continues today. See, the pendulum swung far away from micromanagement and seemed to get stuck on the opposite end of the spectrum, in a place I’ll call “abdication management.”

Today, for every real micromanager I come across, especially at the top of organizations, there are dozens of abdication managers. These are the people who know little about what their direct reports are working on, and defend their approach by citing their own busy schedules, or worse yet, by proudly using words like trust, autonomy and empowerment. Unfortunately, the results of abdication management are consistent: a lack of necessary guidance, delays in recognizing problems, stunted professional development of key people, and anxiety among employees. The consequences of this on the bottom line of an organization are not hard to imagine.

Addressing the abdication management problem requires understanding its root causes. Those include the fear of being accused of micromanagement, which I discussed above, as well as a strange combination of negligence and ignorance. That’s a pretty bold accusation – one that I also apply to myself – so it deserves a thorough explanation.

When I’ve confronted CEOs and senior executives about their tendency to under-manage their direct reports, I’ve often received an explanation that goes something like this: “Listen, I hire senior people with experience, and I don’t think they need me to manage them.” This lack of energy for managing people represents one of the biggest problems I see in corporate life. Management of direct reports is too often seen as a remedial activity, reserved for employees without experience, rather than an essential requirement for providing order and clarity for people at every level of an organization. The nature of how people are managed will certainly vary depending on a person’s role and level of maturity, but managing them is never optional, and the consequences of neglecting it are always serious.

None of this is to say that true micromanagement is a good thing. But I’m convinced that most companies would be far better served if their leaders walked a little closer toward the micromanagement end of the spectrum than the abdication end. I’ve learned this the hard way.

I’ve noticed that when one of the people I’m supposed to be managing is working on something that is not particularly interesting to me, I find it easy to say, “I’ll trust them to do what’s right.” I proudly leave all the details to them, and get involved only when a problem arises that actually impacts my world negatively. I’m usually a little grumpy when this happens. Of course, there is nothing virtuous about that.

But when I’m working on a project that is near and dear to my heart, I stay involved in a way that keeps my people on task, allows me to see potential problems before they get out of hand, and provides my staff with a level of confidence that they are headed in the right general direction. Do I occasionally wonder if I’m stepping over the micromanagement line? Yes. And so I wrestle with the tension of being in that place – instead of running from it – and those projects usually go better than the others.

My challenge, and that of every other leader who occasionally participates in abdication management, is to be more consistent in the way I manage, and not let it be determined by my level of interest, energy or curiosity. That would certainly be a more responsible, intentional and effective approach, one that would benefit my company, and the wonderful people who work here.

Follow Patrick Lencioni’s blog and read the original article here.

How To Keep Your Work Day on Track


Recently, Ken Blanchard (TGLS 2005, 2000, 1995) wrote a great article revealing the “Three Secrets to Working Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger – even with all the Virtual and Real Life Distractions”  for Fast Company.  Read the original article here.

You start your workday with high hopes for productivity and great results—but in a fast-paced world where you’re bombarded 24/7 by electronic and real-world distractions, how do you stay the course?

Let’s talk about building your day on a strong foundation.


Humans have two selves—an external, task-oriented self and a thoughtful, reflective self. Which one do you think wakes up first in the morning? It’s your task-oriented self. The alarm clock goes off and bang! You leap out of bed and jump into your task-oriented self. You’re in a hurry—eating while you’re getting dressed and talking on the phone while you’re on the way to work. Once at the office, you’re racing to this meeting and answering that email. Soon you don’t have a clear sense of what you’re trying to accomplish.

You rush through your whole day that way, and by the time you get home, you’re exhausted. But it’s hard to sleep because your mind is bombarded by the events of the day and concerns about tomorrow. Before you know it, it’s the next morning, the alarm goes off, and the rat race starts all over again. The trouble with the rat race, as the great philosopher and comedian Lily Tomlin once pointed out, is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.

Notice you’re awakened by an alarm clock, which presents your task-oriented self with a problem to solve right away. John Ortberg, a preacher, theologian, and author based in Menlo Park, California, asks why it’s called an alarm clock rather than an opportunity clock or “It’s going to be a great day clock.” But no, it’s the alarm clock that drives you out of bed.

A better way to keep your day on track is to begin by waking up your thoughtful, reflective self. You do this by starting your day slowly. Sit quietly for at least 10 minutes and ask yourself: “What do I want to accomplish today? What will a good day look like?”


As my coauthor Spencer Johnson and I point out in The New One Minute Manager, all good performance starts with clear goals. Before you start working, establish what you want to accomplish that day and what a good day will look like. This doesn’t mean you won’t have to deal with interruptions throughout the day. If you’re clear on your goals for that day, then you’ll have a much better chance of achieving them.

Read the rest of the article here.

A Leadership Quick-Take: Getting to Know Brian Houston



At the 2015 Summit, we are thrilled to present one of the world’s foremost church leaders, Brian Houston, Pastor of Hillsong Church in Australia.  He will be interviewed by Bill Hybels in a session entitled Resilience: One on One with Brian Houston.

Recently, we asked Brian to answer some quick questions for the blog to help us get to know him better.

WCA:  When did you first know you were a leader?

Brian Houston:  Growing up, I was never voted “most likely to succeed” and was never really chosen for any leadership roles at school or even in our youth group or church.  But as a teenager, I had a burning passion to serve God. Remarkably, as the opportunity finally came my way to lead a Thursday night Bible study and a house meeting in the youth ministry of a small church in South Auckland, something just clicked. I was fresh out of Bible College, green, and lacking any real first-hand experience, but I trusted that God saw in me the skills that the job required. I relied on him to draw out of me the natural interest and concern I have for people, and to couple that with my love for him and my commitment to his Church. Instinctively I knew to gather the right leaders around me, and soon my little Bible study began to grow and grow until it outgrew the lounge room and young people were spilling into the hallway and out the door.

After a few months, the house was far to small to contain all of the spiritually zealous young people who wanted to squeeze in.  Many of these kids had no background of faith in Jesus – but as young people brought their friends and the Holy Spirit drew their hearts towards God, something very powerful began to happen. It was then that I really first discovered and developed an awareness of my gifting, calling, and purpose.


WCA:  Whose leadership has had the most impact on your life?

Houston: As a child I always looked up to my father as a role model and hero.  Now that years have passed, it is hard to define a single person as having the most impact on my life.  Through various seasons and in multiple arenas of life, I have learned and gleaned from many inspirational people – from global leaders to ‘unknown’ individuals and local church heroes whose leadership ‘in the trenches’ is an example to follow.


WCA: What leaders do you admire and why?

Houston: I think it is easy to say that Jesus is our greatest example of leadership.  He understood what it meant to lead, but perhaps even more importantly – what it means to serve. I get so inspired by stories of leaders who have overcome adversity and remained consistently on course throughout their life.


WCA: What was the best leadership advice you received as a young leader?

Houston: In Bible College, my principal said something that has always stuck with me, and I believe has led me through some challenging times.  He said “No matter what happens to you in life, never develop a wounded spirit.”

Jesus said we will have trials but He has given us the victory over them. Sometimes offences come, but I believe that no mature Christian who is seasoned in God’s Word should ever live life offended. Commit to the discipline of overcoming, be free spirited and have an expectation of the best and not the worst of people and circumstances.

Jesus said offences will come and it’s not always easy – sometimes it means committing to the process of working through things that we perceive to be unjust or hurtful. However, I’ve always kept my commitment that no one person will rule my spirit in a negative way, and I can honestly say that no one does.

I am determined not to be the ‘cynical old guy’ defending the past and pointing the finger at young people – I want to live my life encouraging, releasing and empowering younger generations.


WCA:  What part of leadership gives you the most satisfaction?

Houston: The thing that ‘switches me on’ the most is seeing people excelling in their God-given potential. Watching everyday, ordinary people – business men, stay-at-home mums, and young people alike – take what they learn in church and apply it to their season and circumstance. I love seeing a young couple buy their first home, or a businessperson in our church begin to flourish and say, “All I’ve ever done is take the principles I learned in church and apply them to my livelihood.”

I love when people within our church connect their gifts and talents or vocation to kingdom purpose.

WCA: What would you consider to be your biggest leadership accomplishment?

Houston: The fact that I have three adult children, all happily married and fulfilled and effective in their calling and ministry really brings me great joy. Yet, I am believing that my biggest leadership accomplishments are still ahead of me. I have always said that I’m not content to rest on the triumphs of the past, but will continue to look to the future.

WCA:  Tell us about a funny leadership mistake you have made.

Houston: I was a young preacher, and had the opportunity to speak at a church in a small town. In those days, I was invited to stay at the pastor’s home. The morning I was to preach at their church, I got up extra early to use the bathroom and prepare. I had my suit on a hanger, all pressed and ready. However, much to my horror, when I stepped out of the shower, I realised that I had left the guest towel in my room down the hallway! I searched for something to make-do, but there was nothing.  I had a choice…put on my clean, ironed suit soaking wet OR, make a run for it.  I peeked through the door, it was still dark and the room was only a few feet away so I thought I could get there in 2-3 seconds.

Running at top speed, I bolted out the door; only to see the doorknob to the room next to mine begin to turn in what felt like slow motion. I made the fatal mistake of trying to turn around at top speed and with wet feet and fell flat on my face!! The door to that room opened and then slowly closed again. To this day, I don’t know who it was, or what they saw.

WCA:  In which aspect of leadership are you growing the most right now?

Houston: I have seen the first part of my life and leadership journey as a responsibility to cast vision, to grow both personally and professionally. The second part of this journey is MORE about empowering – and this part is more challenging and much harder to do than it sounds. Over the last number of years, I have been on a journey of handing more and more responsibility to others at a local and management level. This is not an abdicating of responsibility, but an opportunity to lift my eyes higher to our global vision as a church – essentially it is an opportunity to have a bigger perspective and be more effective as a leader.

WCA:  How have you seen leadership change during your career?

Houston: I think that today, people look at leadership and think that they want the success others have – but don’t or aren’t willing to count the cost and sacrifice that it took to get them there.  In Matthew 20 Jesus alludes to this kind of attitude in reference to the sons of Zebedee and this request from their mother.

“Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?”

Leadership in the eyes of culture today can look glamorous and fulfilling, but are you prepared to make the sacrifices and count the same cost, pay the price that others paid? 

WCA:  What are you reading right now?

Houston: In all honesty, I spend a lot of time studying to prepare my sermons and read when it pertains to that, but other than that, over the last 18 months I have poured my heart and soul into my new book called LIVE LOVE LEAD and have since spent many days reading it – both for promotion and for personal inspiration. I really am proud of it and pray that it helps a lot of people.

I have also read two inspiring books recently, one called the War of Art, which is about overcoming the resistance that writers and others often face that hinders creativity.

The other is a brilliant leadership book called Legacy, which is based on the winning culture behind New Zealand’s famous national rugby team, the All Blacks. It’s not a book about rugby as much as it is about the culture behind their sustained success.

Summit Faculty in the News, Summer Edition


Summit faculty alumni are always making headlines. Here are some interesting stories we uncovered this summer. 

Allen Catherine Kagina (TGLS 2014) was appointed to the position of Executive Director of the Uganda National Roads Authority.

Joseph Grenny (TGLS 2013, TGLS 2014) wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review online, What Africa’s Leaders Have Learned About Facing Huge Challenges.

On July 10, 2014, Gungor (TGLS 2012) will release the first album of a three-album trilogy entitled One Wild Life.

Cory Booker (TGLS 2011) announced that he would be releasing his memoir in January 2016.

T.D. Jakes (TGLS 2010, 2004) gave an insightful interview on CBN News regarding racial tensions in America.  You have to watch this!

Following the resignation of long-time pastor and Summit friend Rick White, our Nashville host site, The People’s Church, will merge with non-denominational Church in the City under lead pastor Darren Whitehead (TGLS 2010).

Bono (TGLS 2009, 2006) appeared onstage with U2s iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour throughout the United States.

Marcus Buckingham (TGLS 2007, 2004) released the results of a survey identifying the U.S. and China as the countries with the most engaged workers.

A play entitled Camp David, centering around Jimmy Carter (TGLS 2007) and the historic Camp David Accord, is targeting Broadway for an opening in the 2016-17 season.

The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame named its south rotunda  in honor of Pat Summit (TGLS 2004).

Darlene Zschech (TGLS 1998), following her successful treatment for breast cancer, made her first trip to the United States in two years to speak at the National Worship Leaders Conference in Kansas City.

I Believe in Leadership: Guest Blog by Arizona Host Site Pastor Cal Jernigan



One of the behind-the-scenes stories at the Global Leadership Summit is our long-term relationships with more than 400 exceptional pastors and leaders who open up their churches and organizations each year to host the conference in their cities. 

One such leader is Cal Jernigan, Senior Pastor of Central Christian Church a multisite church in Mesa, Arizona and Summit Host Site since 2006. Central Christian Church currently meets on five different campuses and averages 10,000 people each weekend.  We are privileged to call Cal a friend and a brother – and to partner with him in leadership and ministry.

View his original post.

I was asked recently why I am so passionate about getting people to attend the Global Leadership Summit. The answer to that question is amazingly simple: Because I believe in leadership! I believe in leadership! Listed below are twelve core beliefs I hold regarding leadership:

  1. I believe… leadership is first and foremost about character and example. It is a privilege to lead and the best leaders have earned the right to lead others. Jesus was the supreme example of this.
  2. I believe… everyone has a right to be well led. Good leadership should be the norm, not the exception. Nobody deserves having bad leadership over them.
  3. I believe… everyone has a desire to be well led. This is the result of having suffered through being badly led. This negative experience leaves us all with a deep desire to experience something better.
  4. I believe…everyone has a need to be well led. We are all under someone else’s leadership. It is imperative to us that the person who leads us be competent.
  5. I believe… everyone has leadership ability and potential. Leadership is not reserved for the chosen few. We all lead in some capacity or another and we all can get better at leading. Others count on our leadership.
  6. I believe… a lid is placed on all our lives, which is directly correlated to the amount of leadership we have developed. Everyone wins by developing their leadership capacity. Those who fail to do this suffer personally as well as causing those surrounding them to suffer.
  7. I believe… leadership can be taught and it can be learned. While there are certainly some who are “born leaders,”most don’t come into it by birth. Leadership is a form of art. It is a skill that someone who has developed it can give to someone who hasn’t yet done so. The best way to speed up the process is to become intentional about learning.
  8. I believe… developing our leadership makes us better spouses, parents, and employees. Many homes have paid an enormous price because one or more family members didn’t develop their leadership abilities. Bad leadership causes everyone to suffer.
  9. I believe… without extending effort, we will never develop our leadership. Good leadership takes practice. It involves trial and error. It is a skill. We have to apply ourselves if we’re going to reach our leadership potential. We must be committed learners.
  10. I believe… leadership is worth whatever price we must pay to learn. It is worth the time, and it is worth the effort. It is simply worth it… always. We can learn simply (and slowly) from experiences in life as they occur, or we can get serious and get intentional about learning now. Being intentional about it speeds it up considerably!
  11. I believe… the church deserves to be served by well-developed leaders. Too many churches are “leadership adverse” environments, allowing and accepting inferior leadership in the name of being “nice.” For the church to become all it’s capable of becoming, it must be well led, and it must be led courageously. The church deserves competent leadership!
  12. I believe… the Global Leadership Summit is a fantastic environment to learn new leadership skills and to sharpen already developed ones. We participate churchwide in this simply because I know of no better way to get more people more exposure more quickly. Because we host this, it is within reach of all of us.

The Global Leadership Summit is coming to Central Christian Church – and over 400 Host Sites across America – on August 6 and 7. Set aside these two days to intentionally become a better leader!  Now is the time to get signed up as some sites will run out of space. Get serious about developing your leadership and sign up now.

I believe you will seriously regret it if you let this opportunity pass you by.