Tyler Perry’s Path from a Tough Childhood to Hollywood Success

Born into poverty and raised in a household scarred by abuse, Tyler fought from a young age to find the strength, faith and perseverance that would later form foundations of his work. Watch Tyler talk about who he was statistically likely to have become and how he was able to defy those odds to live a successful life.

Watch his 60 Minutes interview here.

Recipient of the 2004 Black Business Professionals’ Entrepreneur of the Year award, he leads a massively successful entertainment empire, employing 350 people from his 30-acre Atlanta studio, with five sound stages and a post-production facility. As a part of his inspiring body of work, including the now-legendary Madea franchise, Tyler has produced, written, and directed a dozen stage plays, five TV series, and 15+ feature films—staring in several of these projects, as well as recently completing a part in David Fincher’s next film, Gone Girl.

Perry hasn’t forgotten about those who helped him along the way, and is intimately involved in supporting charities focused on civil rights, homelessness, and rebuilding the lives of disaster survivors in New Orleans and Haiti.

Tyler Perry will be one of our speakers at The Global Leadership Summit 2014. Learn more and register today.

Setting the Stage: Behind the Scenes of a Summit Video Shoot

Post by Jesse Oxford

IMG_7011As filmmaker, I regularly lead teams of people who tackle complex problems behind the scenes in order to tell beautiful stories. When managed well, the climate of a film set is controlled clockwork. When mismanaged, tensions rise – problems multiply – and in the end the atmosphere behind-the-scenes seeps into the picture itself.

This is always a risk. In every single production. Even ones I direct for the Leadership Summit.

Each year that my team is trusted to produce the Summit Promo video, we like to challenge ourselves. This year was no different.

Our plan: Build an art-installation sculpture out of 178 unique polygons. This sculpture would serve as a digital projection background for the promo campaign.

To paint a picture of some of the complexity without getting overly technical: We, first, needed to design a 3D digital model of the sculpture. After perfecting the design digitally we built the 13’ high by 28’ wide physical structure in a studio over 5 days. Then using a complicated projection system called “Pandora’s Box” (I’m not even kidding) we were able to shine animations onto the structure that perfectly matched the contours of the physical object. Basically it allows you to do things like project an image of a car – onto a car shaped object, and it will look like its really driving.

It had all the hallmarks of a disastrous relationship between technicians and artists with competing visions and too little time.

But it didn’t end in disaster. In fact, things went oddly without disruption. Why?

I would say it had something to do with the leadership skills our team has learned from the Summit. Of course he would say that, you’re thinking. Yes – but it’s true. For the last decade, we’ve attended the Summit nearly every year and the skills we’ve gained from the leaders we’ve heard speak have influenced our work in tangible ways.

Thats why I love being part of the Summit community so much. Its not just for pastors or church workers, but for leaders of creative teams like myself who want to use their gifts on behalf of the Kingdom of God in this world.

No matter what project I find myself working on, I can always count on problems to arise. But there is seldom a time when I don’t draw on something I heard at the Summit that is helpful in charting a course forward.

247014_10151622031255491_346853131_nJesse Oxford is Creative Director / Principal at J. Oxford Studios a Chicago-based Creative Agency dedicated exclusively to partnering with organizations that are working to do GOOD.  www.jesseoxford.com

Leaders Stirred to Create Change

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Chinese GLS in Canada

The very first Canadian Chinese GLS, hosting 150 leaders, was held recently. With high engagement and energy at this first-time GLS, these Christian leaders experienced leadership development training in their own language.

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The GLS in Pakistan

Since the GLS has been in Pakistan, Christian leaders have been stirred to start initiatives and develop new ideas to create change in their communities. Here is a glimpse at some of those stories:

“I had an encounter with God at the GLS in Pakistan. He whispered and pulled me out of my comfort zone and routine life. I am so filled with compassion for the women and the girls in my area who are in desperate need of literacy. Filled with the passion of
Jesus, I started an adult literacy program for women seeking education. By the grace of God, there are 38 ladies in the class. The GLS is more than just an event, it has
become a movement in Pakistan!”—Principal at a girls’ college, Pakistan

“I was so inspired by the teaching I received at the GLS that I wanted to do something. I recall memories of my experience and conversation about promoting unity among the body of Christ. As I looked around at the need in the community, which I had never done before, a thought came to mind—there were two churches in my area that didn’t have a proper place to worship and pray. God opened my heart to open up my church to other denominations so they could use our facility—free of cost. This year, I attended the GLS with my pastor friends, and we are inspired to go out in unity with a clear vision to win the souls of this city.”—A pastor in Pakistan

“I live on the outskirts of the city, on a rocky mountain, near a dangerous, sensitive, and ridged community in Pakistan. It was hard for me and my team to get to the Summit, and we traveled two days to get there. During the GLS, God opened my mind and heart to see and experience things with clarity. I feel like a dark blanket has been lifted from my mind. Now I clearly understand what God wants from my life. I am now able to share all about it with clarity to other pastors in my area. I couldn’t do it before. Now I am truly experiencing the power of clarity.”—A pastor in Pakistan

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

How Do Young People Become Influencers?

At The Global Leadership Summit 2013, our team asked people to send in any questions they had for the Summit speakers. We had a great response as questions rolled in through Twitter. Now its time to reveal the answers…and they are worth watching.

Watch and learn from Joseph Grenny as he answers the questions: How do young people become influencers?

Do you have any questions for the 2014 Summit faculty? Send us your questions through Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using the hashtag #GLS14Q for the chance to have one of the Summit faculty answer it at Summit 2014.

The MLS: A New Kind of Summit

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The annual Global Leadership Summit has sparked year-round leadership 
development initiatives around the world. In Namibia, three local organizations have come together around the dream to do more to empower leaders, especially young leaders in their country. In 2013, these three organizations partnered to start what they call “MLS”—Mini Leadership Summits, and focus their leadership development efforts on local youth sports teams. Popular topics of discussion include mentoring, coaching, leveraging your past, and self-leadership. They kicked off the program at the end of 2013, and have so far have hosted 640 students, teachers, and coaches at five events.

One of the aims of the MLS program is to help students and teachers grow in their 
leadership skills, especially in the area of self-leadership. It is sometimes wrongly 
perceived that only a few people will be leaders, while the truth is that every single person must lead at least one person: themselves.

“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. Our greatest potential source of leadership and influence comes not from an external leader, but from within ourselves!” -Dr Pamela Butler, Clinical Psychologist

“We believe that we can change the attitudes and skills of attendees through this program and we look forward to seeing the results in the next generation of 
leaders in our beautiful country.” —Namibian “MLS” Leader

16 Things I Believe from Susan Cain

Are you an introvert in an extroverted world?

Inspired by her book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” Susan Cain teaches leaders 16 things she believes about introverts.

“A Manifesto For Introverts”

  1. There’s a word for “people who are in their heads too much”: thinkers.
  2. Our culture rightly admires risk-takers, but we need our “heed-takers” more than ever.
  3. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.
  4. Texting is popular because in an overly extroverted society, everyone craves asynchronous, non-F2F communication.
  5. We teach kids in group classrooms not because this is the best way to learn but because it’s cost efficient, and what else would we do with children while all grown-ups are at work? If your child prefers work autonomously and socialize one-on-one, there’s nothing wrong with her; she just happens to fit the model.
  6. The next generation of quiet kids can and should be raised to know their own strength.
  7. Sometimes it helps to be a pretend-extrovert. There’s always a time to be quiet later.
  8. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is the key to finding work you love and work that matters.
  9. Everyone shines, given the right lighting. For some it’s a Broadway spotlight, for others, a lamplit desk.
  10. Rule of thumb for networking events: one genuine new relationship is worth a fistful of business cards.
  11.  It’s OK to cross the street to avoid making small talk.
  12.  ”Quiet leadership” is not an oxymoron.
  13. The universal longing for heaven is not about immorality so much as the wish for a world in which everyone is always kind.
  14. If the task of the first half of life is to put yourself out there, the task of the second half is to make sense of where you’ve been.
  15. Love is essential, gregariousness is optional.
  16. “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” -Ghandi

View original post HERE.

2014_Faculty_Susan_CainSusan Cain is a best-selling author and viral TED speakers on The Power of Introverts. Susan will be speaking at The Global Leadership Summit 2014. Learn more about her HERE.

3 Ways to Lead Through Easter

Post by Tommy Bowman

1. Prepare For Attacks

Our enemy wants nothing more than to stop you, your team and your church in your tracks during this week. He wants to leave you drained, confused and doubtful. Why waste the time being surprised? Why waste energy being blindsided? Instead, be ready and stand firm. We serve a mighty warrior and a strong deliverer. Prepare for these attacks. (Also, read this letter to church leaders from Mark Driscoll to your team.)

2. Take A Risk

The church invite has received a bad rap the past decade. And while I value relational intelligence, there is no greater season to take a relational risk and give out an old fashioned church invite to a friend. At Mission, we call this week #RiskWeek. Maybe it’s at your Starbucks or favorite breakfast spot. Perhaps it’s just a walk across the street. Take a risk.

3. Plan For Rest

The temptation will be to report back to the office and ride the wave of momentum from Easter. And I’m telling you that you will be fried. You need a sabbath day of rest. You need a day to rest the parts of you that you are called to love God with; our heart, soul, mind and strength. Too often we miss our moments of reflection which lead us to acknowledge the presence of God in our lives. Our intimacy with God, as leaders, cannot afford to miss these moments. Plan for rest.

tommy_bowman1Tommy  is the Directional Leader at Mission Church in the suburbs of Chicago. Tommy’s passion is to take proven leadership values and principles from the business world and implement them into the world of church and church teams. Connect and learn more about Tommy at tommybowman.me or @tommybowman.

 

Compassion Costs Us

Excerpt from Amazing Faith by Wilfredo De Jesús

Compassion is good, right, and noble. We have to realize, though, that caring for people always has a price tag. Stopping to mend broken hearts and shattered lives requires an investment of time and other re- sources. Many individuals and churches don’t want to pour themselves into people who are “unclean” and take so long to see substantial progress, even when they respond to the gospel. People today want instant success, and ministries of compassion rarely meet this standard.

There’s another risk when we step into the lives of the down-and- out: potential damage to our reputations. I’ve been criticized by leaders of some churches who believed we’d “lost our calling” by giving so much attention to prostitutes, addicts, single moms, and other disenfranchised people.

The Christian faith isn’t about getting; it’s about giving. Far too many Christians don’t understand this basic principle of spiritual life, so they have empty, impoverished hearts. Jesus told His disciples (including us),

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26)

We gain by giving, we rise by bowing to serve, and we’re filled by pouring ourselves out to God and others. This isn’t a new concept. The paradox has been central to the faith since time began, and we have a supreme example. Saint Augustine captured the paradoxical wonder of Christ when he wrote:

“Man’s maker was made man that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast; that the Bread might hunger, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired on his journey; that the Truth might be accused of false witness, the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Foundation be suspended on wood; that Strength might grow weak; that the Healer might be wounded; that Life might die.”

Christians talk about “becoming like Christ.” Augustine captured what the phrase really means. True transformation happens when powerful people become humble and timid people become bold.

It’s not enough to have a hit-and-run message of grace to people who are deeply hurt and have lost hope. We need staying power. We have to hang in there with a prodigal child, a friend who is an addict, someone who is chronically sick, or anyone else who requires extra grace.

2014_Faculty_Wilfredo_De_JesusWilfredo De Jesús is one of the 2014 Faculty for The Global Leadership Summit. He is the Senior Pastor of New Life Covenant Church in Chicago, Illinois and was recognized as TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in 2013. Learn more about Wilfredo HERE.

Readers Not Only Want More, But Need More

Post by Mark Forshaw

The Problem (Some Bad News)

Since 2011 the State of the Bible report—put out by American Bible Society in partnership with the Barna Group—has taken the Bible pulse of America.

This year, that pulse appears to be a little fainter.

2011 2014
Viewed the Bible as sacred 86% 79%
Turn to the Bible to find intimacy with God 64% 56%
Antagonistic to the Bible 10% 19%

The Opportunity (Some Good News)

While the rest of the Western world struggles with a culture of post Christianity, America is different. And that’s where the opportunity comes in for church leaders.

In the U.S., 79% believe the Bible is sacred and 88% own a Bible. The best news is that 19% are “Engaged.” They believe the Bible is the actual Word of God and read it four or more times per week (remember that definition).

So why do we still see a decline in those who respect the Bible? In fact, why do we see a growth in antagonism towards the Bible? And what can we do about it?

The Trends (What’s Really Happening)

Let’s look at the Engaged group (the group we mentioned above). The 2014 State of the Bible reports that for the Engaged:

  • 72% saw reading the Bible primarily as a way to be closer to God
  • 45% increased their Bible reading over the last year
  • 79% wanted to read the Bible more

So there is a committed and waiting audience that wants more Bible.

But they also need more Bible.

The 2011 report found that even this group—the Engaged—struggled.

  • 32% found the Bible hard to understand
  • 30% saw it as teaching intolerance
  • 19% could not identify the “3″ in John 3:16

Before we set out to reach the Friendly, Neutral or even Antagonistic, we must equip the Engaged to comprehend the Bible.

Solution (Where You Come In)

The 2014 survey gives some very helpful indications of what directions we can take.

  • Focus on digital. 44% of Americans access the Bible via the Internet and 21% use a Bible app (up from 13% in 2011). As leaders, do we utilize technology and all mediums (84% still prefer to read the Bible in print) to encourage daily engagement with the Bible?
     
  • Context, context, context. People see their lives reflected in the pages of the Bible. In your church, keep an eye out for when people are going through stressful life changes. According to the survey, that’s an opportunity for people to reconnect with God’s Word.
     
  • Remember the big picture. 18% of Americans said they increased their Bible reading for the following primary reasons: “came to understand it as an important part of my faith journey,” “difficult experience in my life caused me to search the Bible for direction/answers,” “significant change in my life.” So, are we teaching that personal understanding that the Bible is truly central to understanding our faith?

I attend a church in the Northeast that has grown threefold in two years, from 70 to more than 200 people. Why such rapid growth? I thank God for bringing us a godly pastor who expounds Scripture. He is gifted, trained, knowledgeable, multi-media savvy, and aware of his world. He inspires me to read more of the Bible. Many people have come to our church because they couldn’t find that anywhere else on a Sunday morning.

As a researcher, I see a story in the data. When church leaders like you focus on God’s Word, your people will grow spiritually.

Mark ForshawMike Forshaw is the executive director of Global Scripture Impact (GSI), the research arm of American Bible Society. He came to GSI after working for the World Health Organization, Geneva Global, Tearfund UK and African Inland Mission.

5 Things Change When a Church Embraces Orphans and Foster Youth

Post by Jedd Medefind

Flood. Ice. Fire. They can alter a landscape profoundly. That kind of change happens, too, when a church community begins to mirror God’s love for orphans.

Adoption. Foster care. Mentoring. Support of orphans worldwide. Expressions of love for orphans are about justice and mercy, to be sure. But they’re also more. Loving orphans can deepen discipleship and proclaim the Gospel like little else can do.

In fact, when a church embraces orphans, no one remains the same. Here are five big things that change as we do.

1. Children Change. When a neglected child begins to experience love, even the pathways of her brain begins to change.These EEG images show that vividly. On the left is the brain of a child in an orphanage with little caregiver attention.The other – which glows with neural activity – is a child cared for in a family. (Source: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience)

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2. Families Change. A friend who helps Arkansas churches engage in foster care remarked to me, “I see those children change. I see the families change even more.” This is true for all who welcome hurting children into their “personal space” – whether via mentoring, Safe Families, adoption or otherwise.

An adoptive father with three biological sons expressed it this way: “I’ve been in church all my life, taught Sunday School and all that; tried to raise our sons to be godly men, but the act of adoption and what has followed has impacted our sons for the Lord more than anything we’ve ever done. It really has been a profound experience of the Gospel for each of them, and for us.”

3. Churches Changes. A Costa Rican pastor whose church has taken in many abandoned and abused children shared what I’ve heard from many other pastors, too. “With these children coming into our church, we have deepened our understanding of what Christianity is really about…We all have been adopted. God’s grace has come to our lives. What we are doing is to give just a little bit of what we have received.” As we do this together supporting one another amidst the joys and challenges of helping wounded children to wholeness – it grows real community like nothing else.

4. State Social Welfare Changes. In Colorado, many churches have made kids in the foster system a central focus. Over the past four years, the number of foster youth waiting to be adopted has been cut from 677 to less than 300. The woman who oversaw foster care adoptions for the state, Dr. Sharen Ford, expressed, “There is no question who is doing it. It’s the church families adopting these precious children that no one else would take in the past.” Similar changes are emerging from Oregon to Georgia to DC and beyond.

5. The World’s View of Christians Changes. Following an article criticizing Christians in the Huffington Post, a “HuffPost SuperUser” pushed back. She wrote, “I have been a reproductive rights activist and pro-choice for more than 40 years. I am very involved in the cause. I have a dear friend who is vehemently anti-abortion…I have the utmost respect for this woman because she had 6 biological children and, late in life, she and her husband adopted a boy from South America with severe facial deformities…My friend puts her beliefs into her real life and she is worthy of my respect, even though we disagree on so many issues…” Beautiful. May we see a day when all Christians can be described with such words!

Want to learn more about how your church can embrace orphans and foster youth…and also the changes that come as we do? Join us at the CAFO2014 conference at Willow Creek Community Church, May 1-2, 2014.

 

Jedd-150x150Jedd Medefind serves as President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans. His most recent book, Becoming Home, helps Christians and churches engage adoption, foster care and orphan ministry.