Finding the Right Leaders

Post By Mindy Caliguire – Excerpt from STIR 

Wherever I travel around the world, leaders share the same compelling questions as it relates to intentionally creating cultures of transformation in their ministries:

* How should we think about the role of small groups?

* How do we teach spiritual practices?

* How do we motivate and engage mature believers?

These leaders recognize that, to help their congregation, they need to recruit and train others to share the leadership load. A basic requirement of effective spiritual leadership is to be able to discern where “here” is for someone else, in order to help them get “there”. Like many other areas of life, only leaders who have truly been “there” can help.

The following is an excerpt from a new WCA resource, STIR: Spiritual Transformation in Relationships, aimed at helping leaders develop strategies to help congregations experience transformation.

In particular, this excerpt looks at the kinds of leaders who help others navigate the inner journey stage, where they acquire core spiritual practices as their way of life, and make peace with their personal story.

Only those who make it through this stage can become the kinds of people who are able to fulfill the world-impacting assignments God may bring. Their inner person has been shaped so that they can fulfill any assignment in God’s power, in God’s timing, and in God’s ways.

[Read more...]

Just a Glimpse

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As events are taking place around the world, God is stirring and doing amazing things in the hearts of leaders. Here is just a glimpse of what has been happening:

Over 350 leaders attended in Hyderabad, India, a country where 2% of the population call themselves Christian and where Christian leaders face opposition daily. After the first day of the GLS, a pastor hurried home to get his wife so she could attend the rest of the event. He also ordered over two dozen DVD’s for his staff so they could experience the GLS as well. We’re excited to share these resources!

We celebrate what God did through the GLS in Bantu, Ethiopia. The government officials got behind the event and invited lots of people. As a result we had to cut off the attendance at 120 because the room was full. Then a group showed up that had walked 3 hours to attend! We had 127 people packed into the room; more than we expected. We added all the chairs we could. The sessions we great, and the process time was excellent. Praise God for the impact of the GLS in Ethiopia.

Worship from the GLS in Sri Lanka:

View more pictures and stories at willowcreek.com/followthegls

 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. For I am with you, and will never forsake you. Joshua 1:9

Here are the events happening this week (October 14-19):

  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Kota Kinabalu, Malasyia
  • Tauranga, New Zealand
  • Whangarei, New Zealand
  • Geelong, Australia
  • Gold Coast, Australia
  • Launceston, Australia
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Banjul, Gambia
  • Guatemala City, Guatemala
  • Abeokuta, Nigeria
  • Asokoro, Nigeria
  • Ibadan – Gofamint, Nigeria
  • Lagos, Nigeria
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • East London, South Africa
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Bolton, UK/Ireland
  • Coventry, UK/Ireland
  • Gerrards Cross, UK/Ireland
  • London SW, UK/Ireland
  • Southampton, UK/Ireland
  • St. Albans, UK/Ireland
  • York, UK/Ireland

View all events happening this fall

GLS Country Facts and Prayer Requests:

Japan

  • With only 2% of the country calling themselves Christian, pray for unity among the many denominations represented at the GLS.

The Gambia

  • There are few pastors working in the rural areas of The Gambia, where there is much more poverty and fewer resources. Pray for the work of pastors in these more isolated areas with limited training and resources for their ministries.

Nigeria

  • There is a great dependence in this petroleum based economy, which is highly corrupt and mismanaged only exasperates the poverty for 70% of the population that lives below the poverty line. Pray for leaders as they face this heavy burden, that they would be able to have the strength and resources to serve their communities and rise up a congregation of integrity though they are in the midst of a corrupt society.

View stories, event dates, pictures and more at: www.willowcreek.com/followthegls

Five Reasons People aren’t Volunteering at Your Church

Post by Tony Morgan

Do you need more preschool workers to serve children?  Do you need more greeters to greet?  Do you need more ushers to…ush?

If so, you’re in familiar territory.

I’ve never met a church that said, “You know…when it comes to volunteers, we’re good.  We’ve got plenty.  In fact, there’s a waiting list for the nursery.”

Churches everywhere need to mobilize more volunteers to get ministry done.  But before you start signing people up and filling slots, it might be helpful to take a look at why people are NOT volunteering.

Here are FIVE REASONS people might not be volunteering at your church.

  1. You’re not asking correctly.  It takes more than blurbs in the bulletin and pleas from the pulpit to move people into volunteer positions in your church.  If you want people to serve, you’ve got to learn how to ask correctly.
  2. It’s hard to sign up.  Signing up has to be simple and immediate.  Hidden tables in the lobby don’t work.  Remembering to email so-and-so isn’t a good strategy.
  3. It’s not clear.  If you want people to do a job, they need to clearly understand the expectations and requirements.  Pull back the veil and show people what’s it like before you ask them to get involved.
  4. You’re not saying thanks.  People don’t want to toil away in a thankless role.  Just because someone’s reward is in heaven doesn’t mean they don’t need to hear “thank you” on earth.
  5. It’s too hard.  The super-committed will do whatever it takes, but if you want to mobilize a bunch of people, you need to make it easier.  Take care of their kids, provide food, and make sure they have everything they need to succeed.  A little planning on the front end goes a long way.

To learn how to build a larger volunteer base, sign up for the FREE ‘Get More Volunteers’ Event.

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of TonyMorganLive.com. He’s a consultant, leadership coach and writer who helps churches get unstuck and have a bigger impact.

Anticipating the GLS in Togo

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This story from Togo illustrates one of the reasons why we are so excited about the GLS events to come:

Jeff is a young man that grew up planning on a career in banking and finance. Although he had a relationship with Christ, the church seemed inept, irrelevant and powerless to him. He saw people in need everywhere, but it never occurred to him that the church could be doing something about it. He attended the first GLS event in West Africa where he heard the statement that so many of us have heard a hundred times, “The local church is the hope of the world when it is working right.” God grabbed a hold of his heart with that statement and turned him inside out. He began to dream about what would happen if the church came alive and began to care about the people in Togo. He began to hunger to make a difference in people’s lives. He changed his direction of study and began to seek out the leadership skills he would need to make a difference. Jeff started a church in his house. They recently moved into their first facility. They are having a huge impact in their community; reaching the un-churched, caring for the broken, and feeding the hungry. The church prays that God would increase their impact in their community. They are hanging on for the GLS so that they can learn how to do what they are doing better. He anticipates the event in Togo because he can’t wait to find out how he can improve as a leader.

Jeff is one powerful example of why we do what we do at the WCA. If we can change a leader we can change a church, a community, and a life. Jeff has been changed. Now he is changing others. And he can’t believe how excited he is to be used by God!

View stories, event dates, pictures and more at: www.willowcreek.com/followthegls

Celebrate Impact

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This week, we invite you into celebrating the impact and answered prayers around the world.

The GLS addresses Cameroon’s dire need for leadership. The church here is highly divided primarily due to language barriers. On this backdrop the church follows suite. Church leaders are typically not united; they are suspicious of one another and full of jealousy. These are the national giants the GLS came to wrestle with. Praise God for the unity that the GLS is able to bring in Cameroon and for the 300 leaders that were able to attend this brand new GLS site.

The GLS in Johannesburg, South Africa at our Mosaiek site was a great success. We had an amazing experience and divine moments through painting, on stage, dancing, choirs, drama, outstanding worship, brilliant facilitation, and an amazing host! It was absolutely magnificent. God moves in the moved in the most incredible ways. 2013 has seen record number of leaders attending the GLS. Praise God!

View More pictures and stories HERE

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. -Colossians 2:2-3

Here are a few things happening this week (October 7-12):

Events (October 7-12):

  • Kandy, Sri Lanka
  • Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Adelaide, Australia
  • Newcastle, Australia
  • Toowoomba, Australia
  • Hyderabad, India
  • Walvis Bay, Namibia
  • Lagos, Nigeria
  • Sango/Ota, Nigeria
  • Chicago, North America (Chinese)
  • Durban, South Africa
  • Port Elizabeth, South Africa
  • Van der Bijl Park, South Africa
  • Belfast, UK/Ireland
  • Bracknell, UK/Ireland
  • Bristol, UK/Ireland
  • London SE, UK/Ireland
  • Newcastle, UK/Ireland
  • Stafford, UK/Ireland
  • Swansea, UK/Ireland

View all events happening this fall

GLS Country Facts and Prayer Requests:

India

In a country where only 2% of the population calls themselves a Christian, the need for Christian leadership and resources is high. Pray for persecuted and oppressed Christian leaders in India as they go against the grain of their society to follow their faith, especially in the northern regions where Islam is more dominant.

Nigeria

Pray for the leaders who attend, especially from the northern part of the country where there is more threat to Christian ministry due extremist and the introduction to Shari’a law in Muslim states. Pray that they wouldn’t fear, and that this would not impact registrations

Namibia

Namibia is one of the “youngest” countries in Africa and also one of the least densely populated. Missionaries introduced Christianity to Namibia during colonization, and birthed large denominations, but many nominal Christians mix native beliefs with Christian beliefs. Pray for a true understanding of the Gospel. Pray that leaders would be have increased access to biblical and leadership training to lead their communities to truth.

View stories, event dates, pictures and more at: www.willowcreek.com/followthegls

Chasing Symptoms vs Addressing Problems

Post by Jenni Catron

Symptoms get our attention.

Watery eyes and compulsive sneezing alert us to allergy season.

An upset stomach and high fever may be indicative of the flu.

We know symptoms indicate that there is something bigger going on inside of us.  If we’re smart we proactively treat the real problem.

But unfortunately every day in our organizations, we can be guilty of chasing symptoms rather than addressing the real problems behind them.

  • We are frustrated with volunteer turnover but aren’t aware that our training for them is defunct.
  • We don’t understand people’s lack of engagement but fail to recognize how complex and confusing our communication is.
  • We grow irritated with the consistent under-performance of our staff but don’t provide regular feedback and accountability.

It’s easy to get distracted by symptoms.  They are the obvious.  The urgent.  But when we ignore the real problems underlying them, we keep ourselves and our teams trapped in the same frustrating cycles.

As a leader you must address the problems lurking in your organization.

What symptoms are you currently chasing?  Challenge yourself to look deeper to identify the real problems.

About Jenni Catron: Executive Director of Cross Point Church in Nashville. Founder of Cultivate Her. Loves great books, the perfect cup of tea, playing a game of tennis with her husband and hanging with her dog Mick.

The Biggest Story

Research has shown an alarming trend. An increasing number of Christians, especially the emerging generation, dubbed the Millennials, would label themselves as antagonistic to both the Bible and the Church. Whether it’s in the church, your business or your family—what can we do as leaders to reverse this trend? The findings point to methods that have application to how everyone, regardless of age or generation, engages the Scriptures. How well are you telling—and living—The Biggest Story?

Willow Creek Association, in partnership with American Bible Society (ABS), is bringing you this webcast because Bible engagement is core to our mission. This webcast features Erwin McManus, interviewed by Geof Morin, of ABS. In addition to the many books he has written and his pursuits in film making and culture, Erwin McManus is the principle visionary and primary communicator of Mosaic in Los Angeles.

Next steps for the webcast: Download the Process Tool

Reflection on Scripture is the #1 predictor of spiritual health and growth.
Tackle your church’s Bible engagement challenge differently. Find out more.

Global Impact – Follow the GLS

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As many of you know, the GLS has launched throughout the world. Thousands are gathering for the GLS weekly in multiple countries.

This past week the GLS was in Myanmar:

“Praise God for an answer to prayer! The GLS sire in Yangon, Myanmar was approved by government this year. Leaders have been praying for this new site to open in this difficult area which has been a closed province due to civil war. The GLS brought 900 guests each day at a local convention center. Praise God for the impact that this site has had on many leaders!”

 I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all the generations.

Psalm 89:1

Here are a few things happening this week:

Events happening this week (September 27-28):

  • Wellington, New Zealand
  • Myitkyinar, Myanmar
  • Abuja-Trem, Nigeria
  • Ado-Ekit, Nigeria
  • Lagos-(TREM AKOKA), Nigeria
  • Lagos-(TREM APAPA), Nigeria
  • Lagos-TREM-(EJIGBO), Nigeria

See all the dates throughout the fall

Prayer Requests from these GLS leaders:

 

  1. Pray for all the leaders from different sectors of society who attend the GLS– in and outside the church
  2. Pray for unity among leaders and denominations as they catch the vision – the Church is the hope of the world, when it’s working right
  3. Pray that leaders would be encouraged as they face poverty, opposition, persecution and apathy
  4. Pray for safe venues, clear translations, and efficient technology so that nothing would get in the way of God speaking to leaders
  5. Pray for the growth of the GLS, and that lives, churches and communities will be transformed for Christ

See all prayer requests for the GLS

View stories, event dates, pictures and more at: www.willowcreek.com/followthegls

Missing the Key to the Whole Thing

Post from Greg Atkinson

Telling church leaders that discipleship is vitally important, or that pointing their people to Jesus should be the bulls-eye of everything they do is … absolutely nothing new.

Yet, everyday we talk with pastors who struggle with leading discipleship efforts in their churches. Perhaps you’re one of them?

In a recent blog, pastor and author Greg Atkinson described his own struggle with—and his fresh insight about—discipleship. In his words:

 “When I interviewed at my current church and they asked me about discipleship, I said that it happens in a number of ways…and that I love mentoring and one-on-one discipleship, as well as small groups. This is still true, but in hindsight I missed the key to the whole thing.”

This is so true, isn’t it? It’s so easy to get tied up in the “what’s” of discipleship—like the mentoring strategy, the small group curriculum, the sermon series campaign. Our REVEAL team just talked this week to a pastor in Arlington, Texas who was sure that revamping their Life Groups was the answer. “It’s so hard to assimilate,” he said. “We need a coaching system, a care structure. Life Groups are failing. It’s our biggest problem.”

Life groups are important. But if that’s where you’re placing your discipleship bet, Greg is right. You’re missing “the key to the whole thing.”

What’s the key? Let’s hear from Greg again:

“We’ve been so big on programs for years—whether it be a discipleship program, a Bible study, mission groups, Bible Study Fellowship, AWANA, small groups—you name it. We like to keep our people busy with church activities and rarely, if ever, do we point our people to Christ and encourage them to spend personal, quality time with Him daily.”

That’s the key—per Greg and per the findings from REVEAL, which are based today on 2000 churches and 450,000 congregants. REVEAL concludes, along with Greg, that personal spiritual practices trump everything when it comes to growing a “healthy, vibrant relationship with Christ” (Greg’s words). They trump small groups, worship services, mentoring relationships, evangelism activities, even serving the poor.

“Spending daily time with Him in prayer and in His Word…that’s how you and I and anyone in our church grows and matures. This is how we disciple. It’s always been about Jesus, and it always will be. No program and no movement will ever change that.”

Discipleship isn’t what you do; it’s who you know.

How are you leading your church into spiritual, life-giving practices with the person of Jesus—not just programs. What does it look like to practice this truth in your own life? 

Greg Atkinson has been in ministry for more than two decades and has been writing, speaking and training thousands of church leaders since 2000. He is an author, speaker, coach and the Campus Pastor at one of Forest Park campuses, a multi-site church based in Joplin, Mo. Visit his blog at GregAtkinson.com or check out his brand new book Church Leadership Essentials.

Which YOU Do You Do?

Post by Denise Barreto

Coming off an incredible 48 hours of intense leadership training, my head is still spinning, 2 days later. All the incredible knowledge from lawyers, doctors,  Ivy League professors, corporate gurus, international pastors and some of the every day people like me who covered the event on the digital experience team is just bursting from my brain.

The one thing I feel compelled to share now, as I sort thru the most important nuggets to make action around in my life and business, is the point of “which you do you do?”

Meaning, which “you” do you do most often in your life? We all have this aspirational “you” – the person we idealize in our heads and if asked, is most likely the “you” we describe when folks ask us for a self-description.  The person who has specific principles and values that we can quickly rattle off. Many of us also have the “real” you that vaguely resembles the “you” on paper. This the  “you” that shows up in our every day living that rarely actually uses those principles and values that we hold “close to our hearts.”

Over and over as I listened to talk after talk, I kept challenging myself with this question, “do I really live up to the me I have dreamed in my head?” I would nod in agreement to many principles that were given and then ask myself, “do I live out those principles as often as I can?” I would peer deep into my own consciousness and look for inconsistencies as I furiously agreed and co-signed with many of the topics and themes discussed at the WCA Global Leadership Summit. Speaker after speaker referred to the important work of being honest on who you are, where you are so that you can make goals to be better.

I am happy to report that after much self-reflection, I’m congruent. The “me” in my heart and on paper is very close to the me I live. I even checked in with a couple of close advisers and they agreed with my conclusion. This was super important to me as I invest regularly in my own personal growth and development. One of the “returns” on my investments is the ability to actually see my own values and principles put into action on a regular basis. It’s not enough for me to “hear” and have my values reinforced if I am not actually converting that into action in my life and business.

Now, I throw the challenge to you. Have you made an effort to ensure that the “you” on paper and in your heart is aligned with your daily living? Do you make choices that honor your principles and values regularly? Are there people around to help you in this endeavor of being the best “you” you can be? If the answer is not in the affirmative to each question, that is OK. Taking the time to reflect and ask those questions are the first step to getting you there. But I challenge you to get to work on this immediately.

Regardless the theme or topic, it is imperative that the “you” you do every day lines up to the “you” you value most. One way to experience life the way you’ve dreamed is to bring your dream world into reality, starting with you.

Accidental entrepreneur, author and TEDx speaker Denise W. Barreto brings a fresh marketplace perspective to the WCA GLS team this year. A seasoned corporate strategist with over 20 years of marketing experience across multiple industries, Denise is the founder and managing partner of Relationships Matter Now, LLC, a boutique strategic business and marketing consultant firm.