A New Liturgy No 6: The Examen

Screen shot 2015-03-01 at 2.09.02 PMFor the last year, we’ve been experimenting with a new kind of gathering at Willow Creek. On Sunday nights, The Practice community meets in the chapel to worship, engage the scriptures, receive communion, and learn how to put Jesus’ words into practice. It’s a grand experiment in many ways–and we don’t really know what we’re doing–but I can honestly say that it’s one of the most exciting adventures I’ve ever been a part of.

Since one of our core values is to learn from other Christian traditions, we invited my spiritual director–a Catholic Priest–to teach the historic practice of The Examen. Fr Michael Sparough graciously agreed, and guided us in a beautifully holy night of worship and prayer. We still talk about that April gathering.

In a desire to share this experience, we’ve turned the live recording of Fr Michael into a full New Liturgy—fleshing it out with an evocative musical score and three original songs. We hope it helps you connect with God in a deep and daily way. Learn more here… Anewliturgy.com

So whether this becomes a resource for your quiet time, a soundtrack as you pray on the way to work, or a guide for your small group, may A New Liturgy No 6: The Examen help you create holy space wherever you find yourself.

Grace and peace,
Aaron Niequist

11 Key Attributes of Great Leadership

Post by Scott Williams, from BigistheNewSmall.com

There are many attributes that various leaders possess, many of them positive and unfortunately some not so positive. People are looking for particular attributes in leaders they want to work for. Leaders that possess these attributes generally have a positive, healthy work environment with minimal turnover.

Below are 11 Key Attributes People Are Looking For In a Leader. We will creatively title them:

11 Key Attributes Of Great Leadership

1. Honesty – Tell the truth; even if lying is easier – tell the truth. || “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” ~Thomas Jefferson
2. Integrity – Do what’s right; even if nobody is watching – do what’s right. || “There are seven things that will destroy us: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Religion without sacrifice; Politics without principle; Science without humanity; Business without ethics.” ~Mahatma Gandhi and I will add an 8th “Leadership without integrity.”
3. Visionary – Have some vision for where you’re going; empower your team to get you there and if you don’t do anything else – have some vision for where you are going. || “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” ~Thomas Jefferson
4. Self Awareness – Know who you are; the good, the bad and the ugly, know who you are. || “He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.” ~Lao Tzu
5. Risk Taker – Be willing to try new things, new strategies and embrace new ideas; even if the ideas aren’t yours – be willing to try new things, new strategies and embrace new ideas. || “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” ~Harold R. McAlindon
6. Caring – Truly care about those you lead; people can care less about how much you know until they know how much you care – truly care about those you lead. || “Our love is like the misty rain that falls softly, but floods the river…” ~African Proverb
7. Stand For Something – Lead by convictions; know why you do what you do and why you think what you think – lead by convictions. || “You must stick to your conviction, but be ready to abandon your assumptions.” ~Denis Waitley
8. Spirit Of Development – Develop other leaders; without leadership development, the pipeline of leadership is halted – develop other leaders. || “My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course, I had to pull out some weeds, too.” ~Jack Welch
9. Good Listener – Be willing to listen; if you’re always talking, there is a good chance you are not listening – be willing to listen. || “To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation” ~Chinese Proverb
10. Lifetime Leaner – Learn from anything and everything; no matter how many degrees or titles you have, you always have the capacity to learn – learn from anything and everything. || “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” ~John F. Kennedy
11. Humility – Stay level-headed and don’t think that you’re better than others; no matter how much success, praise or fortune you receive, stay level-headed and don’t think that you’re better than others. || “Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.” ~St. Augustine

View the original post HERE.

Where is the Church?

The Summit is challenging leaders across the US to take steps of faith. The stories we’ve heard from these leaders is having a multiplying effect, and we would love to share one of those stories with you from our friends at Crossroads Christian Church in Newburgh, Indiana.

Crossroads is a church committed to serving and witnessing across the globe. In 1994, 48 members of Crossroads went abroad to Kharkiv, Ukraine to begin a journey of becoming more involved with a community of believers. After a 10 year relationship and strategic partnership, Crossroads determined to continue on the same trajectory, and to expand their efforts to reach other communities in North Africa and Central Asia. The desire and the intent was there, but the practical steps of how to connect with more communities internationally had yet to be determined.
In 2006, the Crossroads Leadership team attended the Global Leadership Summit in South Barrington and heard Bono’s interview with Bill Hybels.

“We became extraordinarily convicted during Bono’s presentation about the needs in Sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, Bono identified all these needs and the suffering and asked the question, ‘Where is the Church?’”

This question stirred up conversation among Crossroads’ leadership and elder teams that night, compelling them to take action and to take the practical steps to determine where to focus their energies for new international partnerships.

Crossroads identified two ministries, Young Life Africa and Africa Hope as a part of the next steps of Crossroads’ international partnerships.

Today, these partnerships have not only had an impact on both the international community and the members of Crossroads, but school classes are also incorporating lessons of international culture and students are broadening their understanding of the world. Students are raising funds for water projects in Kenya and Skyping kids across the globe.

God is using the Summit to inspire a Grander Vision. Have you been inspired by the Summit to take a leap of faith?

View the original post on FollowtheGLS.com

4 Leadership Insights from Bill Hybels

Post from Churchleaders.com, by Dave Ferguson

In the opening session of the 2010 Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, Bill Hybels went back to the basics and asked: “What do leaders do?” “What are the fundamentals of leadership?” Rather than delve into new leadership territory, Hybels decided to go back to the drawing board and give us some new insights on the basics of leadership. Hybels, who is a brilliant student of leadership went on to give the following four answers to those questions.

1. Leaders Move People From Here To There.

This is not just about the vision-thing. I used to think the first step for any leader is to cast a vision. Years of experience have shown me that is not the case because even after casting the most compelling vision some people will respond, “Bill, we really like here better than there.”

The first step play is not to make “there” sound phenomenal, the first play is to make “here” sound horrific and intolerable. We must build a strong case for why we can not stay put and why that will be disastrous.

2. Leaders Need To Identify Fantastic People.

When looking for fantastic people to be on your team start with the three C’s: character, chemistry and competency. However, lately I have been thinking about adding a fourth C: culture. Culture asks the question “Will they fit in around here?” Access your culture and write down

3. Leaders Need Create Mile Markers and Celebrations.

In a marathon it is not the first few miles that are a struggle; it is easy to get off to a good start. The last few miles are not as challenging because the finish line is now in sight. The hardest part of the journey is are the long miles in between. What is needed: First, re-fill the vision bucket. The vision leaks over the miles and it needs to be re-filled. Secondly, is celebration for what you have accomplished. A celebration is not just for the finish line, but also along the way. There is a 40% differential in productivity between an inspired and an uninspired staff worker.

4. Leaders Need To Hear Whispers From God.

God still speaks. Go still speaks to us everyday! You are not meant to do this alone. The smartest leadership moves I have made did not come from human wisdom. Ask yourself, “Do you think God still speaks?” If he does still speak, then what are you doing to hear from him everyday?

View the original post from ChurchLeaders.com

Sallie Krawcheck on Personal Branding

Screen shot 2015-02-20 at 10.36.31 AMWillow Creek Association is pleased to announce that Sallie Krawcheck, former President at Bank of America’s Global Wealth & Investment Management, will be joining us at The Global Leadership Summit in 2015.  Known for her integrity and independent thinking in the midst of a turbulent industry, she currently leads Ellevate – a network of more than 30,000 professional women around the globe.  She has more than 800,000 followers on LinkedIn and blogs on that platform as a LinkedIn Influencer.  Below is a recent post she wrote on “Personal Branding”. View original post.

Personal Branding 101

The topic of “personal branding” is an uncomfortable one for many of us: “Me? A personal brand? That’s not what I’m about.” Or “A personal brand? Me? I’m not a branding person….or a social media person.” Or “Me? I don’t like to talk about myself; I prefer to let my work speak for itself.”

But just so we’re all clear: we all have a personal brand, whether we want one or not, whether we like it or not. Either you can shape it, or you can have someone else define it for you.

But….before defining your personal brand comes defining your professional mission. This can be the really hard part. What matters to you? What are you trying to accomplish? Why do you do it? Without understanding what matters to you, it’s hard to craft a brand.

Make sure it rings true. “My specialty is to turn consumer businesses around” really only works if you’re actually good at turning consumer businesses around, and have the facts to prove it.

So test your brand with your “personal board of directors” and get their feedback on it.….and on yourself and your work performance. This is the only way to make sure you’re on target. (Special note: we women receive less feedback at work than the gentlemen do, so we need to ask for that feedback more often.)

Once you’ve defined your personal brand, just say it! “My specialty is to turn consumer businesses around.” “I’m an expert in sticky compliance issues.” If it resonates, others will begin to say it about you as well. What doesn’t work well: “I’m good at a lot of things.”

Say it in a story. People remember stories much better than they remember bullet points or statistics. What were the challenges of the businesses you turned around? How did you and your team tackle them? What were the keys to the turnaround?

What if your personal brand is not what you think it is, or would like it to be?Bridge that gap by gaining experience in new areas, accentuating certain expertise, or describing your work history with a different slant.

Own your mistakes and failures. They make up part of your experience, so make them part of your brand. What did you learn from your stumbles? How did they make you better at what you do? You might want to ignore the tougher times, but leaving them out could mean your brand lacks some credibility.

Use social media to shape your brand (if it’s appropriate for your job). Boy, can this be powerful. Write or tweet about a handful of things that define your interests and expertise. Do not engage in everything under the sun that you find to be of interest.

BE the brand. Don’t just say it. Be it, live it, embody it, in and out of the workplace. Use these guiding values in your work and home life, and to make the tough decisions.(2)

It’s ok for your personal brand to shift as you gather experiences. And it should. It’s a constant work in progress.

Read the full post HERE.

Anticipating the GLS in Burundi

Nothing inspires a person more than knowing and doing what he or she was created and called to do. -Painito Ambuka


Painito Ambuka is heading up the first GLS event in Burundi, Africa, a country just south of Rwanda. Ethnic violence and corruption are major issues that leaders here have struggled with and seek to overcome. Reviving the economy and bringing unity in Burundi is an uphill battle that is only possible when its leaders come together to realize a grander vision for their country.

Having experienced a 12-year ethnic war between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes that killed approximately 300,000 people and displaced nearly 200,000 more, leaders gather this year at the GLS in hopes of a new beginning, despite continual government corruption and extreme poverty.

DSC_0010-copy-e1424099710801-1024x1013Ambuka, who has been training pastors for many years, is a light in the darkness, and a leader moving people toward hope. Originally from Kenya, he worked for the Kenyan government for 23 years before becoming a missionary in Tanzania. He and his family moved to Tanzania to serve in refugee camps, where Ambuka conducted Bible seminars and certificate courses for Burundian pastors who lived there as refugees. After eight years in ministry in Tanzania, he and his family were called to move to Burundi to train pastors and church leaders there. There is a lot of spiritual darkness in Burundi, and the spiritual battle that Ambuka has experienced here influenced his decision to take on this heavy challenge to come and help build up pastors. In 2012, Ambuka was invited to experience the GLS in Kenya for the first time, and knew he needed to bring the experience to Burundi to encourage and inspire leaders with authentic, Christ-centered leadership training.

In the aftermath of Burundi’s extreme ethnic violence, poverty is rampant. Many leaders, though passionate to bring change into their communities, are so poor that they can’t afford to pay fees for training. Ambuka feels the pangs of this reality as well since he raises his support as a missionary to pay for his basic needs. There are times when he feels stretched, but his deep faith and reliance on God keep him going.

I was in a Bible school learning about leadership when the Lord moved in my heart deeply. I lost sleep and hunger, and this drove me to a quiet place near a river to pray through the night. I can still see the vision of leaders crying out for help. Many have been called and are leading many people, but they do not know what to do. Their cry is for help from wherever. Every day I see such desperate leaders and as we prepare for the GLS, we have met with bishops and pastors who portray the same cry.

What inspires me most in my work and ministry goes back to God’s call upon me in 1993 to serve in leadership. God called me to recruit, train and release godly leadership. Nothing motivates me more than seeing leaders trained, and especially transformed. I have had many challenges in ministry such that if it were not for God, I would have quit a long time ago. I entered Burundi in 2007, and in September 2008 I was involved in a road accident; I narrowly survived, but lost my left arm. I have also faced a lot of opposition here as a foreigner, and once I almost lost my life in the hands of the military. Last year, I was involved in another accident and fractured the remaining bone of my left arm.

But through it all, I have kept my focus on the God who called me, fully knowing that our labor in ministry is not in vain. The coming of the GLS in Burundi helps me see my vision fulfilled in Burundian leaders. The ministry alone can be very draining, but it is important to know He who has called us and what He has called us to do. Nothing inspires a person more than knowing and doing what he or she was created and called to do. —Painito Ambuka

Ambuka’s deep desire is to see responsible, mature spiritual leaders transformed so as to transform the lives of Burundian citizens, and guide people in the right direction. In such a time as this, when an upcoming presidential election could change the country for better or for worse, the GLS is being held at the best possible time. We are praying for this gathering, and that God would move in the hearts of these leaders, encouraging and inspiring them. We also pray for godly leaders in government. We pray for peaceful elections, and that loss would be accepted, and not cause another outbreak of violence.

burundi-flagThe green color in Burundi’s flag represents hope and optimism. The white represents purity and peace, and the red represents the bloodshed and struggle for independence. The stars represent the major ethnic groups – Hutu, Twa, and Tutsi, and the national motto of unity, work, and progress.

We pray for hope, peace, unity and progress in the country of Burundi.

Read more stories like this one at www.followthegls.com

An Inside Look at the 2015 Summit Faculty

We are just about finished securing our faculty for this year’s Summit, and we wanted to give you an inside look at a few of the faculty members who we have confirmed.

Joining Bill Hybels this year will be:



Jim Collins

Nationally Acclaimed Business Thinker; Best–selling Author Good to Great




Sallie Krawcheck

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




Brian Houston

Founder and Global Senior Pastor, Hillsong Church



We’re thrilled with this year’s faculty and look forward to releasing the full line–up to you in the coming weeks.

Can you guess who else will be a part of the Summit Faculty this August? Tell us in the comments section below!

How “Bandwidth” Can Expand Your Leadership

Post by Scott Cochrane

Bocolod-2Recently I completed a two week leadership coaching trip with Bill Hybels, who was building into leaders from Hong Kong to New Delhi. One teaching in particular left an indelible mark in my own leadership.

How broad is the bandwidth of your leadership?

That question might have been the most impacting of all of the leadership challenges posed by Bill Hybels on our 2015 leadership coaching tour in Asia.

A leader had been attempting to nail Bill down on a “this or that” kind of leadership question.

“Should I be a tough-minded leader or more of a relational leader?” he had asked.

Bill quickly responded with a much better leadership perspective.

“What you should really be focusing on,” Bill began, “Is ‘What is my elasticity as a leader?

I’m talking about your bandwidth as a leader. For every growing leader this is a huge concept to master.”

As Bill went on to explain, I was busily taking notes.

“The bandwidths of leadership refers to the tension leaders must constantly monitor in various leadership situations.

You need to know when to be passionate, and when to be dispassionate.

When to be clear, and when to be ambiguous.

When to launch, and when to delay. These are all questions of a leader’s bandwidth.”

And that, I noted to myself, was a masterful leadership insight.

All too often leaders try to let themselves off the leadership hook by reducing leadership to a set of formulas or simplistic extremes. “Leaders must be tough”, one leader will say. “Leaders must be quick to act” another will declare.

But for growing, leaders, Bill reminded us, effectiveness lies in the nuances in between. They recognize that some situations, some seasons, and some people, require leadership that is quick to act, decisive and blindingly clear.

At other times, in other seasons, and perhaps for other people, leadership requires patience, seasoning, even a bit of ambiguity.

Here are the key points I scrawled on my notepaper that day.

1). Leadership can never be reduced to a set of inflexible formulas

2). Leadership requires the ability to read a situation and respond to its unique circumstances

3). Leadership is much more fluid an art than it is an exact science

Keep these concepts firmly in mind, and your leadership bandwidth can experience tremendous elasticity, and effectiveness.

How broad is your leadership bandwidth?

View Scott’s original post HERE.

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Brené Brown on Blame

Here is a fun video from Brené Brown on Blame.

You are probably a bit of a blamer – most of us are. But why should we give it up? In this witty sequel to the most watched RSA Short, inspirational thinker Brené Brown considers why we blame others, how it sabotages our relationships, and why we desperately need to move beyond this toxic behaviour.

View the original RSA video HERE.