Monday, November 10, 2008

Leadership Summit 2008 - Jeffreys Bay

As you may know, some of our leaders attended the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit 2008 recently. Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be hearing from them about how their lives have changed and the changes that they would like to bring to our church as a result.

Mark Knight, full time Student Pastor @ JBay Baptist, studying through Spurgeons College, UK.
I want to start with saying that this years summit was great. I have been blessed with having been to both this year’s summit and last years. I found that this summit had a much more spiritual sense about it. We are leaders in God’s Church and though we can learn from the business world we must remember that our nature and function are very different to that of the business world.

Where do I start with what I felt God blessed me with from the various speakers?

In Bill Hybels first session he spoke about the need for church leaders to have to make decisions. Decisions will often affect others in either good or bad ways. In the business world one can say that we are basing those decisions on the good of the company, leaders can be firm and hard if needed under such reasoning. In the church decisions need to be made, sometimes hard decisions, but often we fear the consequences.
Bill gave us a four-point plan that if applied, should help us as we seek to make wise decisions:

1. Does the bible speak about it?
2. What would smart advisers say to me concerning this decision I have to make (seek the wisdom of worthy advisers)?
3. What have I learnt from the pain of past decisions (the good ones and bad)? Try journaling not just spiritual matters but our practicing of decision making for later reference within our future ministry.
4. What is the Holy Spirit saying to me concerning this matter?

I would actually put the point about the Spirit second but this structure, I believe, could really help us as leaders.

Gary Haugen, in his session blew me away.
One point that sticks out to me is the point he made concerning the things we strive for.
“Just because I'm passionate about something doesn't mean that God wants it for me and for those I lead”.
This links well with Bill’s points on wise decision-making and made me really sit up and think. I have a number of things running around in my head about church and even my private life that will affect others, are they things that God wants or am I striving towards my will?

A theme for the conference in my eyes was “Is this doing church”?
Am I doing church by striving for the things that really only matter to me? Isn’t “doing church” actually about getting down to the things that matter to God?

I’m going to close now by giving short feedback on other sessions, hoping that if I keep it short I won’t get marked down for going over my allotted three points!!

Efrem Smith - “Leading in new cultural realities”
What a timely word! We are living in a multicultural world where people living with us are not only from other countries but are often people that in fact come from the same country but are very different culturally. With such a truth in mind, shouldn’t we be doing church in a way that reaches everyone regardless of colour, creed or culture?

Craig Groeschel and, “IT: How leaders can get IT and keep IT”.
“IT”, being the life and presence of the Spirit in all we do as “Church”.
We can have “IT”, we can lose “IT”, but we can get “IT” back again.
What a mind bender this statement is! However, what needs to be understood is the need for the Spirit to saturate every aspect of church. If we don’t have such a blessing, we need to be taking every step to get “IT”!

Bill Hybels last session on “Relentless” and his study on the life of Mother Teresa. What a way to close the conference! What an amazing lady Mother Teresa was!
I’m sure at times we’ve all felt like giving up, Mother Teresa’s life shows us someone who never did, and reminds us that we must never give up on fulfilling the will and calling God has for us.

Last words… check out John Burke’s session (on the DVD). Messy church! Should we make people wait until they have their life looking all together before we welcome them in to church? If they were in such a “utopia state” wouldn’t they be out of place in our churches with all of us less than perfect people?

Bradley Jones, missionary with SonSurfSonSkate in Jeffreys Bay

I was really challenged by the world's top leaders - by their lives as well as their words. Some of the one-liners coming out of the conference were:
  • “What do I need to stop doing?”
  • “Do you have IT?”
  • “Are you leading in what matters to God?”
The biggest challenge on my heart is: Are we leading in what matters to God?

The reason I love this so much is it challenges us to spend more time with God to find out what matters to Him. Secondly it challenges us to put into action what we are learning daily and thirdly to be an example (Christian witness and presence) to those people around us through our actions and lastly to stop doing things that take up time and have no real value. So the challenge is simply: 'Are you doing things that matter to God or not?'. I suppose the question needs to be asked too, though, 'Do you care if you are or not?' because that will determine your response to the question: 'Are you leading in what matters to God?'.

Alfred Coetzee, Christian businessman and Sunday School Superintendent

The single most meaningful thing I learnt at the summit was we need to be courageous and not sit in the visitor centre but go out and climb the mountain that God has put on our way.

I was inspired by by all the speakers that we shouldn't be afraid to take on new adventures. If we don't try we won't succeed.

In terms of our church, the most important thing that I learnt (or would like to implement) is we will have to look at the table and assess who sitting around the table and are we the right people to move forward.

Louise Knight, Office Manager and wife of Student Pastor, Mark Knight.

The single most meaningful thing I learnt at the summit was how God can use someone who vows "I will deny Him nothing." (Mother Teresa of Calcutta)

I was inspired by her relentlessness despite the obstacles in her path, simply because God had called her.

In terms of our church, the most important thing that I learnt was to ask the following questions of my church leaders:

Have we got the right people around the table?

Are we discussing the right challenges?

Are we pursuing things that God cares about?

Donovan Holmes, our Associate Pastor:

1) “Just because you are leading and just because people are following doesn’t mean that you are leading in the things that matter to Jesus” Gary Haugen

2) Ordinary people changing the world because they are listening to God and they are boldly leading where angels fear to tread. I’m ordinary too, watch out world!

3) Unapologetic leadership as the Holy Spirit is listened to and obeyed.

Willie Uys, an elder in our church and Christian businessman. Willie felt that there was still a lot that he wanted to unpack from the sessions, but for now his responses are:

The single most meaningful thing I learnt at the summit was the fact that God only wants what we have and NOT what is needed to get something done.

I was inspired by the fact that so many of the speakers started off on a dream/vision/calling without actually sitting down and calculating the costs and what was needed. If they had, they may never have started!!

In terms of our church, the most important thing that I learnt (or would like to implement) is...the realisation that I need to see where God is working and to join Him in that, and not to try and start something "new" which may not be at all important to Him.

Jana Bougas, SonSurfSonSkate Prayer Support and musician (use the link further down on our blog to find out more about this fantastic ministry):

The single most meaningful thing I learnt at the summit was... "How will the poor, despaired and sufferers know that God is good if we don't show up?" Gary Haugen

I was inspired by... "The video clip 'A Thousand Questions" about a girl travelling the world filming different people and places and as she edits the video and visits these different cultures, she's asking God why she still sees all the heartache, pain and suffering in the world and why can't she feel Him here on earth... and in the end, she sings a song of Praise to God and she says "Here Am I... Send Me!"

In terms of our church, the most important thing that I learnt (or would like to implement) is... Mainly to go out there, into the communities where help is really needed and show God's love to them and bring them into His house.

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