Rethink Everything. Even Meatloaf.

In an effort to teach my teenage son responsibility, and a handy skill for adult life, he’s taken over our kitchen… and thus our lives. Don’t get me wrong, as a working mom who is often on the road, his service has been invaluable.

This past week, on a whim, I invited two brand new co-workers to our home for dinner after a long day of back-to-back meetings. The house smelled amazing, as the promised “first-ever” meatloaf baked to perfection. When the timer buzzed just a few minutes later, I opened the oven to find something I’d never, ever, seen before: Meatloaf in a 13×9 glass baking dish (imagine brownies, but with catsup on top).

Like everything else he does, my creative son had unknowingly managed to push the frontiers of innovation once again… even with meatloaf! (tasted great, by the way).

As a leader, sometimes you just have to re-think everything. My team and I have been in just such a season of innovation since the beginning of 2013. Placing age-old spiritual nourishment into innovative containers; finding ways to help leaders “see” their work with a new lens, and bringing world-class leadership development right to leader’s desktops.

I’m reminding myself frequently to ask the following questions, in order to uncover what might hinder or help me during a time of innovation. Isaiah 43:18 – 19 reminds me… God is often doing a new thing. Take a minute now to read it, and consider a few reflection questions.

 ·      In what ways am I forcing new ideas into old paradigms?       

·      What new things are requiring me to think differently in my role?

·      In what ways do I sense God’s guidance as we dream new dreams?

·      What makes my soul feel tired, ready for God to do a new thing in me?

·      What helps me notice what God is doing around me?

When our work involves innovation in spiritual life, technology, and leadership…there’s never a lack of need for new ideas. I want to be as open to them, and leading others towards them, as much as possible.

In April, we’ll begin our next session of LIFT Online Courses. I hope you’ll join us, and begin re-thinking areas of your leadership that could use some fresh ideas.

Mindy is the Executive Director of Engage International and an Executive Team Member at Willow Creek Association.


4 Facts Leaders Should Know About The Church In China

Re-post by Scott Cochrane

Is this your view of the Church in China? A group of Christians are huddled up in their home, curtains drawn, secretly holding a bible study by candlelight; fearful that at any moment the authorities could burst in, confiscate their bible, and toss them in jail.

While there may have been a semblance of truth to that scene in China’s distant past, and while pockets of China still find it a challenge to live out the Christian faith, today the Church in China is experiencing explosive growth.

I am completing the first week of this trip to China, and I continue to be blown away by what God is up to here.

In particular, here are 4 surprising truths you should know about today’s China.

1.   There are more bibles printed in, and distributed from, China than anywhere else in the world.

2.   There are an estimated 100 million Christians in China; more than there are members of the Communist party.

3.   There are more than 55,000 registered churches in China. This does not include the tens of thousands of house churches.

4.   The most pressing need for the church in China is for leaders.

With all this growth in the church, there hasn’t been a corresponding growth in leadership development. Therefore the same problem Moses faced in Exodus 18 is hitting these leaders; they’re trying to do it all alone.

In one particular church of 8000 people there is a single pastor carrying out the entire ministry.

But these pastors are hungry to develop leadership skills in order to keep pace with all of this growth. They want to raise up new leaders from their congregations and see their people fired up to provide effective leadership throughout their church and community.

If this need resonates with you, please pray for these leaders, that they would receive the leadership training they need.

And pray for us in the Willow Creek Association, as we go about the task of equipping these leaders by bringing the Global Leadership Summit to more and more cities in China.

We are always looking for churches who can help us in this work; if you think your church is up to the challenge, let’s connect.

There’s plenty of exciting work to be done.

Scott Cochrane is the Vice President of International at Willow Creek Association. Loves Jesus, Nora, Adam, Amy and John. Football and hockey further down the list. Follow Scott on Twitter: @WScottCochrane

Finding Confidence in Decision-Making

By Jenni Catron, Executive Director of Cross Point Church in Nashville

Great movements occur when a leader gets discontent enough to make others uncomfortable.

Cross Point, the church were I serve in Nashville, TN, is in the middle of a big expansion project.  For months we have been evaluating our next steps and making decisions that would affect the trajectory of the ministry for years to come.  In the spring of 2012 we announced plans to relocation our broadcast campus to a new building that we would be purchasing and renovating.  Once we announced our decision to the congregation and enthusiasm for the future began to build, I remained tied up in decision after decision, each one more complicated than the one before.  Every decision carried long-term implications, and often I felt horribly inadequate to make those decisions.

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Who Can Leaders Learn From?

Who are you learning from?

Bill Hybels shares his experiences of learning from the most unlikely leaders around the world and addresses the importance of working with people who are different from us—we must expand our minds.


What ‘unlikely leaders’ are you learning from? How are you expanding your mind?

Leadership Means Sacrifice

I have spent about half my professional life in the private sector and half in the public sector, but no matter what the leadership position I have, one key to success is pouring yourself into your people.

Leadership really is about followership — if you don’t have followers, you’re not leading. I’ve been leading people and programs for 29 years and I always ask myself the same question: Who would I follow and why? The best leaders I have had are the ones who have taken the time to pour themselves into me. You know, the ones who actually care about me professionally and personally and see me not as just a cog in the machine, but as someone to grow, challenge, and inspire. That’s the type of leader I will follow and it’s the type of leader I want to be so others follow me.

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