Follow the GLS: Philippines

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Many of you have been praying for leaders around the world who are experiencing the GLS. Last week the GLS was scheduled to take place in the Philippines. After much prayer and preparation the team decided to move forward with the GLS despite the storm, Super Typhoon Haiyan.

All the volunteers were on their knees before God, and assured by the words of Jesus “…He rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Silence! Be still!’ Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.” The first hours of the event had no great weather disturbance. The normal busy streets of Manila were empty. We were not aware of what was happening in the south of us where the Typhoon first hit land. We had 100 pre-registrations, but by the time the event began 800 leaders showed up! The opening was powerful and it felt as though not one person had any other thought but Jesus. God moved through each session.  Despite the storm, leaders still gathered in God’s name.

A glimpse of the GLS countries around the world:

View more pictures and stories at www.willowcreek.com/followthegls

GLS events happening the week of November 11th

Ghana, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Korea, Thailand, Albania, Argentina, Burkina Faso, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Ecuador, Estonia, Guatemala, Ivory Coast, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Malawi, Mexico, North America, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sierra Leone, Sweden, Venezuela

Highlighted country prayer requests

  • Christian leaders in Thailand are very few in a country where the predominant religion is Buddhism. The GLS offers training and resources to these leaders hungry for this kind of encouragement. Pray that these leaders would have access to more biblical training as they seek to reach out into their communities for Christ.
  • The name “Burkina Faso” means “The country of honorable people”. Pray for the GLS and that leaders would be challenged to rise up to serve and lead the country with integrity in the face of opposition.
  • Under Communism, all of religion was suppressed in Kazakhstan. Since 2002 the constitution allows for freedom of religion, but requires churches and religious organizations to register with the government. In this context, Islamist agitation towards the Christian church has caused the government to consider increasing oppressive laws towards Christian churches. Pray for leaders who lead churches in this reality, where it is against the cultural norm to practice Christianity. Pray for the identity of Christians in Kazakhstan, and they would be beautiful witness of Christ’s love in this cultural reality they face.
  • China is officially an atheist state, where only 3-4% of the population is Christian. Pray for the emerging underground church in China, and that leaders would be encouraged as they go against the grain of their culture.

God’s Provision for the GLS

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We celebrate this first time site in Mongolia! What a beautiful people.  We had the best first time GLS start ever for an underdeveloped country. In spite of unusual trials, no rehearsals, failing equipment, late arrivals and the like, you wouldn’t have known it based on how the first day went. The worship was excellent, video was great, and facilitation went really well. We worked with the tough sound system, but overall, we are grateful that everything worked out! The content of the teaching was very relevant for the cul­ture, and the audience was so hungry to hear it, especially since the message of Christ really only arrived in Mongolia 20 years ago. Take a look at the brief video clip of the worship experience to get a better understanding of the feeling in the room. God surely moved through the GLS in Mongolia. See video of the worship in Mongolia HERE.


We celebrate God’s provision on the first year GLS site in Rwanda! 
It was a whirlwind preparation leading right up to the last five minutes of the event. They were missing the equipment needed to run everything; a near crisis, as they were expecting 356 guests the next day! In the middle of the night before the first day of the event, the youth pastor of the church noticed that there was a cabinet sitting in the foyer. After looking inside and alerting the producer, they opened it and found all the equipment that they were missing! The church originally didn’t know what any of these pieces of equipment were when a church from the US had sent the cabinet 5 years ago! Imagine, God pro­vided for the GLS event in Rwanda years ago! What a blessing. And God definitely moved through the leaders in Rwanda. We are grateful for the opportunity to pro­vide this training and resources.

The GLS in Accra, Ghana was a suc­cess.We had leaders gathered from all over and from different backgrounds in­cluding leaders from churches, the su­preme court, and universities. 1,303 guests showed up to our site at National Theater. We are grateful for God’s provi­sion for the GLS and the movement in leaders who strive to live with integrity.

At the GLS in an unnamed country last week, a lady who took a five-hour bus trip reached the conference in a heavy mood. She was going to resign because of the overwhelming responsibility for her church and her family. She was tired and felt mis­understood by the others. She could not bear her burden any longer. The key to her problem was emerging during the sessions. During the GLS, she realized that she was in “the land between” where she found herself desperate and com­plaining about everything. Her life was like a desert. She said: “God knows what I need before I do. The message from Bill Hybels and Jeff Manion has shown me that God prepares bread for you when you just wish to die. This is food for my soul. I feel like I am recharged and re­freshed. So I bought the DVD to listen to it again….”

The GLS was held in Jamaica for the first time!

Here is a glimpse at the GLS in Japan, Nigeria, Iceland, Australia, Czech Republic, and Brazil

View more pictures and stories at willowcreek.com/followthegls

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. -Colossians 3:16-17 

GLS Events Happening This Week:

Ghana, Japan, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Korea, Albania, Kenya, Uganda, Brazil, Sweden, Argentina, Bolivia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Chile, China, Croatia, Slovenia,  Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Finland, Guatemala, Honduras, Norway, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Sierra Leone, Taiwan, UK/Ireland, Venezuela, and Zambia

Highlighted Country Prayer Requests

  • Pray for the different sectors of leadership Kenya. The local organizing committee for the GLS in Kenya is praying to reach and impact leaders from all sectors of society – church, government, education, and the marketplace. They desire to encourage and raise up leaders of integrity and wisdom. The GLS event is being held November 7-8
  • Leaders in Uganda are gathering at the GLS around a theme of “Creating the Uganda We Want”. Pray for leaders who go against the grain with integrity in a culture that is full of corruption and violence. The GLS event is being held November 7-8.
  • Leaders in Sierra Leone face great burdens – Many people live on less than $1 a day, and 70% of the country lives below the poverty line. In this uniquely diverse country, leaders are seeking transformation in all sectors of society. Pray for these courageous leaders. The GLS event is being held November 8-9.
  • Christianity has a very low influence in Taiwan where 93% of the country has mixed beliefs in Buddhism and Taoism. Christian leaders seek training, wisdom and encouragement to lead in a culture that worships many gods and ancestors, and prioritizes materialism. The GLS event is being held November 8-9.

The Honor of Inclusion

Re-post by Jenni Catron

“Pick me.”

“Tell me your secret.”

“Share your story.”

My childhood memories are filled with longings for inclusion.

Don’t leave me on the sidelines.  Let me be in your circle.

Those longings intensified with those I loved or respected.  If you were a kindred spirit, the longing to be a part of your world only deepened.  If you were someone I respected, to be included made me feel esteemed.

One of our greatest human longings is the desire to belong.

As leaders, we have the opportunity to give others the gift of inclusion.  When we invite them into our world to learn to grow or to simply be a part, we give them the gift of belonging.  We esteem them as honored.  We counteract the doubts and insecurities that plague them in the quiet.  We give them hope.  We affirm their significance.

It’s a simple gift to give and yet we so easily withhold.

I challenge you to confront whatever keeps you from giving the gift of inclusion.  Is it busyness?  Is it fear?  Is it insecurity?  Is it a scarcity mentality?

Whatever it is that holds you back, confront it and honor someone today with the gift of inclusion.

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.

“I Have Been Challenged to Lead”

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The GLS in Cape Town, South Africa blessed leaders from all over the city. Take a look at this video and hear about their desires for Cape Town.

We had the unique opportu­nity to host The South Africa Sign Language Bible
Translators, and Hands With Words at the GLS in South Africa last week.
They plan to take all they learned and apply it in their Deaf Churches. “It speaks volumes to the Deaf when they are included in events that have previously been attended only by hearing people. More Deaf have now “heard” about GLS! I think there may be a slightly larger group ready to participate in GLS 2014!”

We’ve heard all good things about the GLS in Goa, India held last week. 230 leaders and 22 vol­unteers attended at this third year site. The audi­ence was so open and responsive to everything they learned. It was sometimes difficult to move on from such lively discussion during the processing times. Each session was well received. One of the atten­dees was a 10 year old boy who came with his fa­ther. After the first day, he said to his father, “There is no way you will keep me away from this tomorrow!” He is pictured standing next to the Joseph Grenny poster — his favourite Speaker. He said he loved the idea of leading people through influence, and had his notebook full of notes from the session.

The GLS in Ndola, Zambia brought in 385 leaders from all over Zambia from different sectors of society including church, marketplace, and government. The farthest traveler was a handicapped young woman who traveled over 434 miles to be there (see photo). One of the highlights was seeing the captain of the Zambian Army introduce General Colin Powell’s session. She made it feel like he was in the room! Every session addressed an issue that the leaders in Zambia are dealing with — Trust, for­giveness, building into the next generation, mentor­ship, being a multiplier rather than a diminisher, and servant leadership. The audience was lead to their knees after Andy Stanley’s session when they real­ized they need to be teaching about Jesus and the cross more. Leaders are being challenged — “I am just a preacher. I have not yet started leading. I have been challenged to lead”. There were also four busi­ness leaders lead to sponsor ten leaders at the event coming up in Lusaka. Overall, it was apparent that God was moving in leaders through GLS in Zambia! Miracles have already started to happen.

To view more pictures, stories, event dates, and prayer requests go to willowcreek.com/followthegls


I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43:1-3


GLS Events October 27 – November 2

Czech Republic, Brazil, Ghana, New Zealand, Australia, Bolivia, Iceland, Mexico, Mongolia, Nigeria, Norway, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, UK/Ireland, and Venezuela

GLS Prayer Requests

  • Income inequality is one of the biggest issues that faces Brazil and contributes to high levels of crime, especially in urban areas. The GLS brings people together from different backgrounds as they seek to transform their communities. The GLS is being held on October 27-28.
  •  The church in Mongolia is young, and Christians are the minority. The GLS provides Christian leaders access to training and resources to grow the church where the majority of the country practices Buddhism and 40% of the country claims no religion at all. The GLS is being held on November 1-2.
  • The GLS in context in Russia: Soviet rule tried the life of the church, but since the 90’s the church has seen more religious freedom and growth. The GLS encourages Christian leaders as they seek to revive the church and help it thrive. The GLS is being held on November 1-2.

Lead Yourself Well to Lead Others Better

Re-post by Jenni Catron

Something deep inside each of us longs to count. We want to matter to the world. We long to make a difference. We get bored, tired, even depressed by routine and monotony. We’re desperate for significance. We’re searching for acknowledgment. We want to be known.

But to be known begins with knowing ourselves.

God has equipped you and designed you to live out your unique calling and gifting as a leader. Your heart yearns for influence because it is a part of how He created you. It’s God-designed, but it can also be humanly-distorted if we neglect the most important part of leadership – self-leadership.

Self-leadership is defined as “the process” of influencing oneself to establish the self-direction and self-motivation needed to perform.

Leadership begins with yourself. You must lead yourself well to lead others better.

“There is a person with whom you spend more time than any other, a person who has more influence over you, and more ability to interfere with or to support your growth than anyone else. This ever-present companion is your own self. “ Dr. Pamela Butler, Clinical Psychologist

I believe that self-leadership is the foundation for leadership and unfortunately it’s not the flashy part. It’s the tough part. It doesn’t get attention or affirmation. No one is singing your praises for leading yourself well. In fact, here are a few tough truths that we need to understand about self-leadership:

  • No one cares more about your personal development than you do.
  • You can’t wait for someone else to lead you.
  • No one owes you leadership.
  • No one is responsible for your leadership development.

I share these things to challenge you, because if you understand the hard work of self-leadership, and pour yourself into it without expectations of others or an entitled attitude, you will develop the character and core of a remarkable leader.

Parker Palmer reminds us that, “Good leadership comes from people who have penetrated their own inner darkness and arrived at the place where we are at one with one another. People who can lead the rest of us to place of ‘hidden wholeness’ because they have been there and know the way.”

Your God-given influence – your leadership – is a gift to you and others. We need you to thrive so that you can help others thrive. This journey of self-leadership, although painful at times, is part of what equips you to be the leader God has called you to be.

So just how do we do this?

Here are, what I believe, are the core elements of developing self-leadership. These are just listed to get you thinking. You’ll need to unpack them and determine what steps you will need to take to grow in each of these areas.

1. Character

  • Who you are when no one is looking
  • Attention to your spiritual and emotional health
  • Expecting more from you than others do
  • Relentless pursuit of the character qualities you want to be true of you

2. Discipline

  • Be the one to get it done
  • Set goals for yourself in all areas: personal, professional, family, and fun
  • Take initiative
  • “Leaders are readers”; Read ferociously
  • Be a lifelong learner, and be a fanatic about it
  • Surround yourself with mentors and people smarter than you

3. Self-awareness

  • Know your strengths & weaknesses
  • Seek counsel
  • Identify mentors
  • Always evaluate what you need to “own” (good or bad) in every situation

Self-leadership is the hard work behind the scenes that prepares you for great leadership.

How are you doing in the area of self-leadership? What one thing could you start working on today to improve?

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 3M Model with Bill Hybels

A couple weeks ago, Bill Hybels sent a tweet talking about his 3M Model.

@BillHybels: I take a “3M” mindset into meetings: 1 Let’s Move something ahead! 2 Let’s Modify what is not working 3 Motivate everybody as they leave!

We were able to get a few moments with him this week and asked him to talk through this 3M mindset for leaders that he’s never talk about before. Watch this video for a few short take-aways!

How can you apply this in your setting?

3 Vital Principles to Leading Leaders

Re-post by Scott Cochrane

One of the most important steps in the development of a leader is found in being able to become a leader of leaders. Years ago I learned that to make this important step there are three vital principles that must be embraced.

The step from “leader” to “leader of leaders” is one that can be fraught with perils.

I discovered this first-hand when assigned with a relatively simple task during my first week as executive pastor of a large church in Canada.

My assignment? Lead an off-site retreat of our senior pastoral team.

This team of highly seasoned leaders were gathered around me, waiting for my opening words. I knew we should open in prayer, so I shrugged at this group of 20 or so leaders and said, “Why don’t you break into groups and spend time in prayer.”

My reasoning was sound, or so it seemed to me. “These are leaders; they don’t need me to tell them how to organize a time of prayer.”

Several awkward moments of shuffling about ensued, and eventually a few muffled words of half-hearted prayer could be heard being whispered about the room.

There was no energy. There was no unity. There was no momentum.

It was, to put it mildly, a less than auspicious debut of my season as a leader of leaders.

But as with any setback, there were leadership learnings to be gleaned. And in this case I came away with three vital principles that must be embraced in order to become a leader of leaders:

1.   Leaders want, and expect, to be led.

Leaders more than anyone understand the value of good leadership. And they look for it in those who step forward to lead them.

2.   Leaders respond to leadership language.

Instead of such a vague, meandering opening, I should have addressed them with leadership language like this: “Team, there are opportunities before us that will only be realized by the mighty hand of God.”

3.   Leaders demand clarity.

Instead of “break into groups and spend time in prayer” I should have said, “Break into groups of 3 and spend 10 minutes praying for these 4 items…”

If you’ve been given the opportunity and responsibility to lead a group of leaders, don’t shrink back. Lift your leadership to the next level and lead them well.

You could be amazed at the passion of their response.

What have you learned about leading leaders?

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

Stirring Up Leaders

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The Global Leadership Summit in Guatemala City showed once again that God is stirring up leaders in this part of Central America as never before. More than 1,000 leaders showed up to be inspired and challenged to lead where they are. The event was a complete sell out, and several hundred people had to be turned away. The event drew leaders from every arena of Guatemalan society; from the church, from the marketplace and beyond. Indeed, the president of the Guatemala Supreme Court was in attendance! The organizing team is now faced with a significant challenge for next year; Please pray that God will help them find a way to serve every leader who needs this kind of training, and that in 2014 no leaders will be turned away because they ran out of space.

Christians are the minority in Japan where just 2% of the country calls themselves Christian. The Japanese Youth GLS unites the Christian minority and empowers the youth as young lead­ers seek to impact their communities. We celebrate that over 400 young leaders from 60 different churches were able to attend this year. Continue to pray for the next generation of the church in Japan.

Nigeria held 5 of their 31 GLS events this past week! One of those sites was unique though; 357 Nigerian military chaplains held their own GLS last week. Celebrate the growth of the GLS in Nige­ria and the amazing work that God is do­ing through the church here. 50% of the population is Christian living mostly to the south, and 50% is Muslim living mostly to the north. While there is tension and fear between these two religious groups, God is working. We are blessed to provide re­sources to these leaders.

We celebrated the GLS in The Gambia where 305 leaders were able to attend year at this first year site! To put the event into context: 90% of The Gambia practices Islam. The GLS offers opportunity to Christian minority leaders where Christian resources are scarce. Lift these leaders up in your prayers as they seek to transform their communities in the face of opposition.

Last week in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, there was a power outage that started next door to the church, and went out westward. Every house and business was without power, except the church holding the GLS. Twenty minutes after everyone left the GLS, the church and the whole area lost power. Praise God for his protection over the event. That a blessing it was to the leaders here!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trip us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is in the place of honor beside God’s throne. -Hebrews 12:1-2

Events happening this week (October 21-26):

New Zealand, Nigeria, India, Canada, Congo, Rwanda, Brazil, Bolivia, Australia,  Bulgaria, Colombia, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Namibia, Nigeria, Romania, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, UK/Ireland, Zambia, and North America

View all events happening this fall

Highlighted Country Facts and Prayer Requests:

Bulgaria:

  • Christian leaders face the challenge of leadership in a post-communist era where they deal with issues of corruption, unemployment, poverty, and apathy. The GLS offers encouragement to the church in Bulgaria as leaders seek to be a transforming light in their country. The GLS is being held on October 25-26.

Honduras:

  • Did you know that more than half the population of Honduras is under the age of 20, and 35% is under the age of 15? Pray for the next generation of leaders as they seek to address issues of poverty and violence, and transform their communities. The GLS is being held on October 25-26.

Congo:

  • There is no solid infrastructure, its highly diverse, there have been decades of war, there’s high poverty, and corruption. Christian leaders face great odds as they seek to heal, rebuild and transform their country. Pray that that would be encouraged, equipped and inspired. The GLS in Congo is being held on Oct 24-25.

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

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