30 Seconds with Dr. B

In between video shoots for our online training courses (The LIFT Project), Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian (aka Dr. B) took a few minutes to answer this question: If you could give church leaders one piece of advice, what would it be? He answers in 30 seconds. Matthew 20:25-26

What about you, if you could give church leaders one piece of advice, what would it be? Write it in the comments or post your own 30 second video to leaders.

by: WCA (@wcagls)

Ghost Town

I wrote this poem for everyone who feels lonely in leadership,
or like they have to start from scratch with next to nothing.

ghost town

well well
you and i are the last ones standing
it’s quiet here isn’t it
among the twisted girders
and the charred infrastructure
of what was
a bustling destination town

tumbleweeds rolling across broken up boulevards
abandoned four by fours on pothole parking lots
an occasional lost crow passing overhead

so here we are
you and me
what will we do

we will find a hammer or two
scoop up some nails
round up some old boards with a little life left in them
and we’ll build a scaffold
we’ll gather up some scrap tools
and get to work

and we will make this ghost town into a chapel
a house of prayer
and when we’re all prayed up
we’ll forge this chapel into a shelter
for the lost ones and the refugees
as they pass through in the storm
and find a home
rough around the edges
but solid and warm

one by one
little by little
this tumble down old ramshackle of a town
will rise again
and become
the city of God

By: Greg Ferguson
Co-Producer/ Experience Designer, The Global Leadership Summit

Ghost Town is also posted on Greg’s blog, 10,000 Pages.

Leading Through Prayer

In this audio clip Harvey Carey, the Founder and Senior Pastor of the Citadel of Faith Covenant Church in Detroit, Michigan, challenges pastors to lead through prayer. Harvey fits a lot into this 6 minute clip. Consider how what he says might spur you to action.

> Listen to the 6 minute (mp3) interview with Harvey Carey.
(Quick note: this mp3 is a sample of the content offered by The LIFT Project)

  • Does your leadership look similar or different than a secular organization? What is the difference maker?
  • Do you spend as much time in your personal prayer life, as you do in your management and planning meetings?
  • Reflect on Psalm 127. Invite God’s presence into your leadership.

Praying for God’s spirit to be in your equation today!
By: WCA (@wcagls)

If you’re looking for ways to grow this year, the Willow Creek Association brings you The LIFT Project!

You can enroll in a 7-week interactive course to sharpen your leadership, strengthen your soul, and build a healthier, more effective culture in your organization.

Living Deployed

Consider the aircraft carrier- large, massive and powerful. It’s a self-contained community of 5,000 men and women working, eating, and doing life together; each person on mission each with a unique role. The mission? To further forward deploy (send) its 90 aircraft to places the carrier cannot go. The carrier’s impact is measured by its deployment of the planes. Take away their deployment and the carrier is simply floating metal. Dead weight.

The crew of 5,000 serves to support the 120 pilots who fly the 90 aircrafts. The majority provide supporting roles such as cooking, cleaning, operating the power plant, and more! In fact, less than 5% of the crew actually forward deploy the planes. Not everyone is a pilot but everyone has a role.

Likewise the local church, regardless of its form (from first century house church to present day mega-church), requires a crew, each with a unique role. God calls us to support the Fellowship of Believers by serving one another as a family. We’re called to meet both our internal needs AND we are each called to engage our unique good works to serve the world. Just as the carrier is a platform for deploying planes, the church should be the premiere home base for deploying Believers to live on mission. Imagine if a carrier sought to accomplish mission by attracting and consuming rather than deploying and sending. God designed the church to deploy every believer to live on mission.

What would it look like for the church to see its role as platforms of release to deploy Believers? Jesus designed the church to function as a revolution with every Believer engaging their unique calling and gifting to deploy (Ephesians 2:10).

While each expression of the church might look very different, all are taking the idea of mission seriously. Churches of all kinds are looking to use their current forms and assets as platforms to launch the more fluid, adaptive, and missional people-movements. Next spring, the Exponential Conference hopes to play the part of this as we see apostolic movements come to life and provide working models. I hope to see you there!

By: Todd Wilson (@toddwilson)
Founder of Exponential Network, Church Planting Advocate, Kingdom Entrepreneur

10 Reads for the New Year

I was asked recently the following question: “What, besides the Bible, have been the top 10 books that have influenced your formation in Christ and leadership?” The following is my answer. They are not in order of importance or rank.

Let Your Life Speak, Parker Palmer. Filled with powerful insights integrating faithfulness to God to faithfulness to your true self.

New Seeds of Contemplation, Thomas Merton. Written out of years of solitude and silence. Many of his short chapters need to be prayed in a lectio divina fashion, not simply read.

Under the Unpredictable Plant, Eugene Peterson. Brilliant exegesis and application of Jonah to pastoral leadership and the reality of serving Christ with sinners in Nineveh rather than live in the “ecclesiastical pornography” of illusions.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe. Written in the 1850’s, it remains one of the most powerful accounts to understand racism and slavery in America. Transformed my understanding of the race issue in the USA.

The Dark Night of the Soul, John of the Cross. No writer brings a healthy integration of loss, suffering and spiritual formation like this 16th century Carmelite.

Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Benedicta Ward. I have been meditating on these sayings for almost ten years now as part of my time with God. Require meditation

Generation to Generation, Ed Friedman. A seminal book on systems thinking, written by a rabbi, essential to leading any church or organization.

A Grace Disguised, Jerry Sittser. The best book on the theological nuances/complexities of grief and loss. Written out of indescribable loss and tragedy.

The Making of a Leader, Bob Clinton. Well-researched and written. I have returned to his insights again and again for perspective on how God makes leaders over the long haul.

Americas: The Changing Face of Latin America and the Caribbean, Peter Winn. This book enabled me to understand the global, historical and cultural dynamics of skin color and how they inform our churches, politics, cultures and families.

By: Pete Scazzero (@petescazzero)
Senior Pastor of New Life Fellowship Church in New York and author of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

This post was printed with permission from Pete’s Blog, PeteScazzero.com (Thanks Pete!)

Learning to Be Here Now

Learning to be “present” could be one of the best gifts you give to yourself and others this next year. But as you’ve probably already discovered in our distracted, anxiety-filled world, being “present” not at all easy. It will require some effort, some training of the soul.

Perfect fodder for a new year’s resolution! But wait, you cry… wait! This is not impressive! Just one goal?! And one that cannot be measured (in pounds or otherwise)?? But let’s think about impressive in a new light… imagine what being present could open up for you:

  • What would it be like to look deeply into the eyes of those you love, and really see them? Hear them? Understand them? Imagine just one evening marked by deep connection with those around you? What would open up? How about a whole week? An entire year?
  • And what would it be like to shake off those nagging chains of guilt and self-hatred mentioned in the video? Who doesn’t need ongoing protection from the hissing, scathing voice of the accuser?
  • Or, what would it be like to feel fear as you face challenges, failure, adversity, or conflict… feel it, but not be driven by it? What would that kind of freedom taste like? What possibilities would a fearless perspective open up for you, day after day… month after month?

Rather than set your sights on a list of goals or achievements for 2011, if you set your focus on increasing your attunement to God moment by moment, you will open yourself up to a flood of God’s care, God’s power, and God’s direction. You may even unlock dreams you would never have dared to dream on this day you sit reading this blog.

As some overarching themes, your soul has to get comfortable with silence. It needs to find it’s true voice, and it needs to rest in God’s love. Here’s some ways that have helped me. You may find many valuable others elsewhere…. But find them. Learn to be present. Train your soul to Be Here Now.

By: Mindy Caliguire (@mindycaliguire)

Mindy Caliguire is the founder of Soul Care, a spiritual formation ministry, and Director of Transformation Ministry for the Willow Creek Association.

Leaders Need Leaders

Leaders need leaders- to fortify their resolve and to learn from one another. This is especially true in parts of the world that discourage or are openly hostile to the Gospel, where resources are scarce and leaders serve alone. Courageous leaders have always been willing to step out to further the cause of the Kingdom.

The same hunger I see in the United States for quality relevant, and God-honoring training is present in my travels to more than 89 other countries. I firmly believe that investing in leadership development has the highest exponential return in terms of changing communities for good. Working together to build churches and leaders, we can change the world.

Please join us in this global movement of transformation and redemption through local leadership development. Your gift can help change a leader, a church, a community, and the world. (Watch stories of leaders worldwide who have answered the call to lead.)

By: Gary Schwammlein (@GarySchwammlein) on behalf of the WCA
WCA Vice President, International

Be Here Now

After a couple of years of imagining what was possible with projections and live performance, we were finally able to try something big at this year’s Global Leadership Summit. Graphics by Ryan Trommer, original score by Nate Yaccino, and one key photo by Joshua Longbrake.

By: Blaine Hogan (@BlaineHogan)

Blaine Hogan is the Experience Engineer at Willow Creek Community Church. He creates sacred spaces using sound, visual, and performance art. He blogs at blainehogan.com also you can follow Blaine on twitter.

Transforming Lives is God’s Work

“There is nothing like the local church when it’s working right. It transforms lives heart by heart, soul by soul, life by life. Its potential is unlimited. Whatever the capacity for human suffering, the church has a greater capacity for healing and wholeness.” – Bill Hybels

Transforming lives is God’s work alone. Yet, in His infinite grace and wisdom, He invites his people to join Him in His life changing work. This is both a mystery and a proven process, visible in the daily lives of those who follow Christ and see to become more like him.

In the past months our staff has been blessed to hear and read the stories of lives that have been transformed and communities that have been changed.

We’re committed to support, challenge, and envision local churches, leaders, and believers. We consider it a great privilege to hold up a vision that every church might reach its full redemptive potential.

Blessings and prayers to you and your team this season!

By: Jim Mellado (@JimMellado)
President, WCA

Avoid Being “Bigger Than the Game”

The sports headlines are all carrying the same message last week; “The Anniversary of The Scandal.”

You don’t have to read the articles to know that they’re talking about Tiger Woods. It’s been a year since his fall from grace; a year since that notorious car accident in front of his house, and the subsequent revelation that golf’s wonder boy had ruined his family, and his reputation, by maintaining adulterous affairs with as many as a dozen or more mistresses.

It took Woods many months before he finally addressed the media about his failings, but when he did a single sentence said it all.

“I thought I was bigger than the game.”

Bigger than the game. How many leaders have we seen come crashing down because they thought they had arrived at the place where they were above the rules?

Think of King Saul. Israel’s first King had it all. Samuel describes him as “as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else.” (1 Samuel 9:2) As King, Saul had a 30-year run in leadership and achieved great things for Israel.

But eventually he thought he was bigger than the game. He took it upon himself to offer sacrifices; something God permitted only a priest to perform.

Samuel’s rebuke of Saul was as stinging as anything Tiger Woods ever heard. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure.” (1 Samuel 13: 13-14)

I don’t know what all of this means for you, but let me suggest three questions that will help you discern if you might be acting like you are bigger than the game:

  • Do you ever allow yourself more latitude than you would extend to your staff?
  • Do you ever rebuke your staff for behavior you know you’re guilty of yourself?
  • Do you ever expect more of your team than you’re willing to commit to yourself?

Weigh in on this… How do you prevent yourself from behaving like you’re bigger than the “game”?

By: Scott Cochrane (@WScottCochrane)
Former ‘marketplace guy’ and executive pastor, and now executive director at
The Leadership Centre Willow Creek Canada.

Post used with permission from Scott’s Blog: A Leader’s Journey (Thanks Scott!)