When It Breaks – A Guest Post From Blaine Hogan

Blaine Hogan is the Creative Director at Willow Creek Community Church. If you’ve attended a Leadership Summit in years past, you’ve no doubt seen his creativity in action through some of the arts moments during the GLS like this one:

BE HERE NOW from blaine hogan on Vimeo.

Blaine is a creative leader and has a heart to help churches, pastors, and artists get better at art. Below is a post from Blaine that we know you will enjoy.


The photo of flowers on my kitchen table proves the fact that winter has ended in Chicago. Spring has officially sprung and we are ever so grateful!

More so even than the New Year, spring always feels like a fresh start to me, which is exactly what I want to talk to you about today.
Nearly two months ago, Make Better, the online course I’d been creating for the last two years, broke.
And not just flat-tire-broke, more like the-wheels-fell-off-while-we-were-doing-80-on-the-interstate-broke. I’ll spare you the technical details, but it was a nightmare. People couldn’t log in, content seemed to have been lost forever, and the community forum (the heart and soul of Make Better) was missing.

As I sat there staring at my laptop and lots of error messages, I started feeling this strange pain in my leg. It was a sharp poke that came every couple seconds. Bam. Bam. Bam.

“Dada. Come ON!”

Ruby was poking me in the leg with her (rather sharp) fairy wand. Bam. Bam Bam.

“Dada. COME ON!”

I’d been ignoring her for at least 15 minutes as I took in the gravity of the broken site. What would I tell people? How would we fix it? Where do I even begin?

Many of you know this, but 10 years ago, I experienced a series of panic attacks that took me to the ER on multiple occasions. Thankfully, while episodes of that nature are nearly non-existent these days, I still live with a pretty constant, low-grade hum of anxiety. And as I stared at a giant 404 message, the hum quickly increased to a holler until…Bam. Bam. Bam.


So what do you do when things break?

You take a deep breath, close your computer and give your girls a bath (or whatever the equivalent might be in your own stage of life – this is just a metaphor, friends). At least that’s what I did.

There wasn’t anything I could do right then. I knew that I’d work hard and figure out a solution (even if one didn’t exist in that moment), and frankly, I had more important things to do than notify hundreds of people of a situation most of them were already aware of.

As the warm, soapy water filled the bath, and as my ears and heart filled with the voices of the two best things things I ever made (not websites or projects, mind you), my brain filled with answers.

Two months later, my girls are bathed and the site is fixed. Call it a “fresh start.” :-)

And while they are asleep right now, the site is very much awake. Also, it’s brand new!

Use promo code: WCA to get $50 off!

If you happen to be facing a challenge of your own, I’ve got two suggestions:

  1. Take a deep breath and get away from it for a bit. I promise the space will do you good.
  2. Tell us about it! Literally, right now…in the comments. Sometimes just getting it out of yourself can be cathartic.
And may you remember that as a maker (of any kind, mind you), fixing broken things is par for the course. Enjoy the process!

Gary Haugen Featured on TED Sharing The Hidden Reason for Poverty


Gary Haugen is the founder of International Justice Mission and was a part of our Summit Faculty at The Global Leadership Summit in 2008 and gave one of the highest-rated talks in Summit history, “Just Courage.”

While a member of the 1994 United Nations team investigating war crimes in Rwanda, Gary Haugen’s eyes were opened to the appalling extent of violence in the developing world. Upon his return to the US, he founded International Justice Mission, an organization devoted to rescuing victims of global violence including trafficking and slavery.

Gary was recently invited to speak at TED where he shared the hidden reason for poverty the world needs address now. He shared,

“Experts tell us that there’s about 35 million people in slavery today. That’s about the population of the entire nation of Canada, where we’re sitting today. This is why, over time, I have come to call this epidemic of violence the Locust Effect. Because in the lives of the poor, it just descends like a plague and it destroys everything. In fact, now when you survey very, very poor communities, residents will tell you that their greatest fear is violence. But notice the violence that they fear is not the violence of genocide or the wars, it’s everyday violence.”

Watch the entire video here:

This was certainly a tremendous opportunity for the mission of IJM to get a global audience through TED and we’re excited to see how this will shine a light on the work they are doing to combat human trafficking around the world.

Speakers like Gary are a part of The Global Leadership Summit each year to challenge our thinking and to challenge us to live for the grander vision God has for our lives.

Help us spread the word about The Global Leadership Summit and you could win a copy of Gary’s book The Locust Effect. In The Locust Effect, Haugen outlines the catastrophic effect of everyday violence on the lives of the impoverished, and shows how rampant violence is undermining efforts to alleviate poverty. Enter to win below!

Gary Haugen Giveaway


A Leadership Quick-Take: Horst Schulze



The Willow Creek Association is pleased to that announce that the CEO of one of the world’s most exclusive hotel companies, Horst Schulze, is joining the 2015 faculty of The Global Leadership Summit.

Throughout the spring, our WCA content team meets with each member of the Summit faculty to help them understand the event and the Summit audience.

Recently, our team had delightful meeting with Horst Schulze in Atlanta. Horst was born in Winningen, Germany, and although he had never set foot in a hotel, he announced at 11 years old that he wanted to work in one. When he was 14, he quit school and moved more than 100 miles from his home in order to become a hotel busboy.  From busboy to CEO, through all of his experiences in the luxury hotel industry, he developed a strong understanding of the key components of service and he will unpack those at the Summit.

We asked Horst to answer some quick questions for our blog audience to help us get know him better:

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

Horst Schulze:  I still don’t know . . .

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

Horst Schulze:  My first boss when I was 14

WCA: What leaders do you admire and why?

Horst Schulze:

1) Gandhi, as a moral leader (no stick)

2) MLK – peaceful

3) Mandela – forgiving

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

Horst Schulze: Don’t make excuses…!

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

Horst Schulze: Mentoring

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

Horst Schulze: Success of individuals, promotions, etc.

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

Horst Schulze: Unselfish – less ego

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

Horst Schulze: More open – less hierarchy

As you begin to prepare for Horst’s session at the Summit, think about your organization. How would a better understanding of service help you grow relationships with your constituents?  Write your thoughts in the comments section below.

Why Pastors/Teachers Should Be Shaken Up By Brian Williams


This is a post from Nancy Beach. Nancy is a familiar face to many who have attended previous Leadership Summits. She recently shared her thoughts for pastors and leaders in the light of recent events surrounding Brian Williams. We believe it’s a great reminder for all of us!

I have been a fan and faithful viewer of NBC News Anchor Brian Williams for the last decade. Throughout the recent controversy, I continue to hope that some new revelations will explain his actions and even exonerate him. But I am also sobered by the tragic downfall that has resulted from Williams’ apparent violation of God’s commandment not to lie. I think all pastors and teachers – all of us who traffic in a lot of words and story telling – should be shaking in our shoes. The wisdom of the Proverbs tells us:

When words are many, sin is not absent,

but he who holds his tongue is wise. (Proverbs 10:19)

Whenever we are given the privilege of speaking, a temptation lurks with every illustration and story we tell. We can alter the story to be just a tiny bit more funny or dramatic or bizarre or painful. We can exaggerate that blistering hot summer day to be 101 degrees instead of the actual 90 degrees. We can alter the dialogue exchanged with our child to make a punch line punchier. We can even adjust the small details of a story to make ourselves look just a little more noble or wise or kind. And because many of us tell our stories in more than one setting, over time the telling can morph slowly until what we communicate is no longer close to the original story. Worse yet, in deceiving others we can also deceive ourselves into believing our new, shinier version of the story is actually the truth!

Pastors and teachers traffic in a lot of words. When words are many, sin is not absent. It’s impossible to completely “hold our tongues” when we are charged with the task of preaching or teaching. But we can be sober minded. We can take much greater care in the writing and telling of events. We can prayerfully ask the Spirit to convict us when we alter the details. I also recommend the accountability of a spouse, good friend, or colleague who will periodically ask us with love, “Is that how it really happened?”

Deception is one of the Evil One’s most wildly successful tools. Whenever we embellish the truth with the goal of managing our image, we are liars. Rather than judging Brian Williams, I am choosing to seek to learn from his experience and turn the mirror of God’s truth on my many words.

See the original post and read more from Nancy at NancyLBeach.com.

Savor The Day – Thoughts + A Giveaway from Shauna Niequist


If you’ve attended The Global Leadership Summit, Shauna Niequist is no stranger to you. Shauna is the author of Cold Tangerines,Bittersweet, and Bread & WineHer newest project, a 365-day devotional called Savor, released in March. She is married to Aaron, and they have two wild & silly & darling boys, Henry & Mac. They live outside Chicago, where Aaron leads The Practice and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Shauna also writes for the Storyline Blog, and for IF:Table, and she is a guest teacher at Willow Creek Community Church.

Below is an excerpt from Shauna’s new book – it’s a timely challenge for all of us to savor the day. And, be sure to enter below to win a copy of Savor!

It seems like I keep having the same conversation over and over—at preschool pick up, at coffee with girlfriends, around the table at our small group gathering. It’s about being busy, about being tired, about wishing we could find more hours in a day, more days in a week.  We’re aching for a way of living that feels rich instead of one that runs us ragged, longing for connection instead of competition, yearning to dwell deeply in prayer instead of racing through the days.

What I want to do is savor this life—my life, my children, my community, this gorgeous world God created. That’s what we all want, right? To soak up the goodness all around us, to be aware of holy fingerprints everywhere, to walk through each day expecting and noticing those glints and shimmers of the divine right in the daily—in a hug, a tomato sandwich, a quiet moment, a text from someone we love.

That’s what I want, and so often I miss it. I lay in bed at night frustrated with myself that I allowed the minor annoyances of life to obscure the rich melody underneath it. I rush and push and don’t even see the beauty all around me. I let my fear about the unknowns in our future or my desire to control everything and everyone around me cover over the deep beauty and grace and peace that are playing like a drumbeat under everything.

I’m trying to learn how to pay attention, to clear away space and noise, and to invite you to hear the drumbeat, too. God’s always speaking, always. He’s always moving, always present, always creating, always healing. The trick, at least for me, is paying attention. The trick is savoring.

I tend to live in my head—analyzing every word of that last conversation, regretting what I did, anticipating what’s coming, worrying about what could go wrong. Whole plot lines unfold—beginning, middle, end—in the time it takes me to brush my teeth or for the toast to pop up out of the toaster.

I’m trying to get out of my head. And I’m trying to get right down into the raw soil of my own life. Because it’s happening whether I decide to notice or not. These children are growing taller each day. I peeked in at Henry last night, and it seemed his legs stretched all the way down his bed, as though he’s a teenager and not a seven-year-old.

Things will not always be as they are now—there will be new things, other things, good things. But I don’t want to miss this, this right now, this sacred everyday. And I don’t want to only see the surface. I want to see the depths—the work of God all around me, in conversation and prayer and silence and music. I want to connect with the God who made me from dust, on purpose and for a purpose. I want to walk through my days in a warm conversation through prayer, aware as I walk that he walks with me, that as I speak, he hears me, that as I rest, he carries me.

I forget so easily that there’s a bigger picture. I’m easily seduced by the bustle of the day—lunch and laundry, deadlines and dinnertime. I forget that it’s all held together by a holy, loving God, and that we get to be his partners in restoration and healing. I forget that there’s more than I see, more than I can dream.

When I begin the day in prayer, I find that it’s easier to continue that way. When I begin the day with God’s word, with silence, with a grounding sense of his love for me, then I find it’s easier to bring those things with me throughout the day, and it’s harder for me to locate them if I didn’t pause with them at the start.

So let’s begin together. Let’s clear away space together, trusting that what we’ll find in even small moments of prayer and silence will transform us. Let’s savor this day, the beauty of the world God made, the richness of family and friendship, the good gifts of creativity and work. All the things that populate our days are worth savoring. Let’s walk together.

Savor Giveaway

Liz Wiseman on The Difference Between Coaching Rookies and Veterans

liz wiseman 2

The Willow Creek Association is pleased to announce that Liz Wiseman, President of the Wiseman Group and Best-selling Author, will be returning to The Global Leadership Summit in 2015.  Her previous Summit talk, Multipliers, was one of the most memorable talks from TGLS 2013.  Since then, she has been named to the prestigious Thinkers 50 list as one of the top Business Thinkers in the World.

Earlier this year, she connected with us regarding her new book, Rookie Smarts.  It didn’t take long for our team to review the content and agree that this information would be a win for the Summit.  Liz’s research examines the advantages that rookies bring to a team as well as some of the pitfalls of experience. Her conclusion: all leaders, rookies and veterans, can gain a more agile learning mindset.

Most of us have both rookies and veterans on our teams. Below is Liz Wiseman’s recent post from the Harvard Business Review on “The Difference Between Coaching Rookies and Veterans”.

After years of playing at the top of his game, Tiger Woods hit a rough patch, struggling to win major tournaments. In February 2015, he pulled out of the Honda Classic, declaring his play “not tournament-ready.” Paul Azinger, ESPN sports analyst, claimed that Woods had become mechanical and “over-engineered himself out of being great.” The commentators suggested that Woods didn’t need learning; he needed un-learning.

Depending on where a professional athlete is in his career — a rookie new to the game, a star at the peak of his career, or a seasoned player, like Woods, who is struggling to get back on track — he requires very different coaching. The same is true in business.

Experienced professionals have deep knowledge, credibility, and confidence. But their knowledge can interfere with their learning. They can miss important shifts in the market simply because the telltale signs don’t fit nicely within their models. Having seen the patterns, they can easily overlook errors or dismiss aberrant results. They also receive little feedback because they’re performing relatively well and others assume they’ll figure out how to improve the less-than-effective portions of their work on their own.

On the other hand, when someone is new to a task, they have lower levels of confidence, which means they will tend toward caution, taking small steps. They lack knowledge but are more willing to ask questions, listen, and seek expertise and guidance from their colleagues. They are eager to act, but can make rookie mistakes.

Both scenarios can lead to top performance. (In fact, my research has shown that in knowledge industries, rookies tend to outperform experienced staff in innovation and speed). But, they necessitate very different coaching styles. For example, your inexperienced people need support to channel their efforts, while your more experienced team might need encouragement to get out of a rut. Here are several ways you can adjust your approach based on where someone is on the learning curve:

1. Giving feedback. It goes without saying that both rookies and veterans need feedback, just different types. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that rookies seek and respond to positive feedback, whereas veterans seek and respond to negative feedback. Inexperienced staff are desperately looking for clues that they’re on track. So shower them with messages that they’re headed in the right direction. Tell them what they’re doing well, reaffirm their actions, and help them build confidence.

While your rookies need validation, your experienced employees need calibration – corrective coaching to let them know when they’re veering off course. Just like a thermostat receives periodic readings of actual room temperature, experienced professionals require a steady flow of information to maintain high performance. Give your seasoned staffers more feedback than they appear to need and let them know where they are missing the mark and need to make adjustments.

You can read the full article here:

HBR Blog: Liz Wiseman

The 2015 Global Leadership Summit Faculty Announcement

2015 Speaker Lineup Instagram

The WCA is pleased to announce The Global Leadership Summit faculty for 2015!

The Summit is unlike any event in the world. We scour the globe for a unique blend of top-level faculty from diverse backgrounds in business, academia, non-profit and the church. Because of the Summit’s unparalleled global reach, we have been blessed to attract a level of business faculty that are generally only seen at the most prestigious business conferences. We place them alongside some of the world’s most effective church leaders. Summit fans know that the combination is inspiring and impactful.

This year’s faculty is no exception. Come to the Summit prepared to sharpen your leadership toolbox with insights from the following experts:

Bill Hybels
Founder and Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church

Sallie Krawcheck
Chair, Ellevate Network; Former President, Bank of America’s Global Wealth & Investment Management

Adam Grant
Professor, Wharton School of Business; Best-selling Author

Brian Houston
Founder and Global Senior Pastor, Hillsong Church

Ed Catmull
Co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios; President of Walt Disney Animation Studios

Sam Adeyemi
Founder and Senior Pastor, Daystar Christian Centre in Nigeria

Sheila Heen
Founder, Triad Consulting Group; Faculty, Harvard Law School

Jim Collins
Nationally Acclaimed Business Thinker, Best-selling Author Good to Great

Albert Tate
Founder and Senior Pastor, Fellowship Monrovia in Southern California

Horst Schulze
Chariman and CEO, Capella Hotel Group; Founding President and COO, The Ritz-Carlton Group

Dr Brené Brown
Research Professor, University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work; Best-selling Author

Liz Wiseman
President, The Wiseman Group; Best-selling Author

Craig Groeschel
Founder and Senior Pastor, LifeChurch.tv

Go to The Global Leadership Summit website here for full bios and additional information.

Who are you most excited to see at the 2015 Global Leadership Summit? Tell us in the comments section below.

Guest faculty members are invited to participate in The Global Leadership Summit based on proven leadership abilities in their field of expertise.  Their beliefs may not necessarily reflect those of Willow Creek Association and Willow Creek Community Church, and their presence at the Summit does not imply blanket endorsement of their views or affiliations.

Summit Leadership Theme for April 2015: Mountains (Vision) & Next Steps (Strategy)

In April, our Summit leadership theme centers on the skills of Vision and Strategy. We kick-off the monthly theme by introducing it on the WCA blog and then, mid-month, we release a 30-minute Defining Moments resource where Bill Hybels will discuss this topic with more depth to help you continue your learning.

At the 2014 Summit, Louie Giglio’s Take the Step talk included the following memorable quote. “You don’t have to know everything about how to get up the mountain in front of you to take the next step.” Here is a short clip from that talk.


Watch the video and reflect. What stood out to you? Are you clear about your vision and your plans to achieve it?

Take it deeper:

Grab your journal and name the central vision(s) your team is pursuing right now. How clear are you on the vision?

Make time in a team meeting to revisit your vision(s). Is the passion on your team still hot? Do you have your focus right? Are you tackling too many visions or the right amount?

Bill Hybels says mile-markers and deadlines are the tools that move a vision forward. How are you at tracking your team’s progress to be sure you are on track to achieve the vision?

Watch for the Defining Moments release mid-month and listen to Bill’s insights into how he develops vision and strategy with his teams at Willow Creek.

Interact with others by writing your thoughts in the comments section below.

Enjoy the video . . . and let’s take this month to lead with both vision and strategy.

Mama Maggie: ISIS Victims, New Biography and Book Giveaway

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 1.51.46 PM

Few Summit attendees will ever forget Mama Maggie (TGLS 2011), the diminutive Coptic leader whose very presence on the stage created a holy moment.  A multiple Nobel Peace nominee, she has been called the Mother Theresa of Cairo for her ministry to the poorest of the poor who live in the garbage dumps of that city. As she described her “Tough Call” – her journey from privileged child to college professor to founder of Stephen’s Children – she expanded and deepened our understanding of what leadership looks like and how to connect more deeply with God.

Recently, this remarkable woman has made the news again.

Cable News Interview

We now know that Mama Maggie’s ministry had connections to the ISIS victims in Libya. “The brutal beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians at the hands of ISIS terrorists shocked the world. But almost as worldview-shattering was the strong faith of the victims, even in the face of certain death. Now we know where their faith may have came from. Her name is Mama Maggie.”

Last weekend, Lauren Hill interviewed Mama Maggie on this and other topics for her cable news show. Watch this inspiring interview here:

New Biography Released

The news coincided with the recent release of Mama Maggie’s authorized biography by bestselling authors Martin Makary and Ellen Vaughn – which chronicles her unexpected and inspirational life journey.

Visit MamaMaggieBook.com to learn more.

Book Giveaway
Mama Maggie Giveaway

Energy: The Leader’s Edge


Dr. Jack Groppel is the co-founder of the Human Performance Institute and an expert in the relationship between energy management and leadership performance. In 2005, hisThe Mental Toughness of a Leader became an instant Summit Classic that literally changed the way that many of us steward our leadership energy. 

In the intervening years, Jack’s research has gone deeper into this topic.  And recently, Anne Loehr, contributing writer for The Huffington Post, wrote an article describing the findings.  Check out the article below.  Enjoy!


Grab a pencil because we’re going to start with a quiz created by Dr. Groppel. Before you start the quiz, take a look in the mirror and be totally honest with yourself. How many of the following statements apply to your life? Put a checkmark next to those that apply.

  1. I often feel overwhelmed
  2. I usually feel that I don’t have enough time in the day
  3. I struggle with being present, or in the moment
  4. I struggle to prioritize self-care (e.g., exercise, eating well, etc.)
  5. I have to multitask to perform at a high level
  6. I have incredibly high pressure with my job
  7. My work/life balance is not very good
  8. I have way too many emails and projects to navigate
  9. I’m tired of being tired
  10. I often struggle with being fresh and creative in my job

If you checked four or more, fall in line. This is the state of our lives in today’s world, and never more so than in business. Add to this the imperative of leaders to lead. Yet, how can we lead effectively if we are checking boxes in the above list? And, how can we lead groups of high performers who describe their lives with these same thoughts?

* * *

Human energy is our most critical resource. Without it, where are we? One only has to look at how fatigued we are, as well as the data on how disengaged we are, to understand the truth in these statements. In today’s 24/7 world, the constant pressure to perform means organizations are asking more of their employees than ever before. The demands on employees’ energy inevitably exceeds capacity, resulting in sub-optimal performance, lower productivity, and disengagement. With proper training, though, this need not be our fate.

You can view the entire post HERE.


Jack Groppel will be the featured speaker at Taste of The Summit Live, where he will present these findings and more.  Check with your Premier Host Site for when this content will be available at your location.