Annually, The Willow Creek Association puts on a Leadership Summit where some great minds in church and business leadership share ideas about leadership. I attended several years ago and, while energized, I felt that the speakers challenged me to do things I was powerless to do. As a layperson in the structured church, I feel my ability to make a difference is limited. I’ve always felt that my greatest impact was to take my relationship with Christ into the workplace. Many times I find church leaders teaching me how to organize the local church and lead Sunday school class. I want what I believe and my relationship with Christ to make a difference in my life 7 days a week. I’m not perfect, but as a follower of Christ, I have nothing to lose so I’m free to make a difference.
So I skipped the conference for the last few years. This year, since I’m officially in the leadership development business, I thought I needed to attend. I wasn’t excited about it but I was hopeful that with an open mind I could see what was going on and how I could help or participate. Honestly, my expectations were not high.
I must admit after the first day, I’m rather blown away. I heard Gary Hamel, author of The Future Of Management speak about leadership. I was fully impressed by what he said, so much in fact that I took few notes. The one quote I recorded was “when you’re in a rut, after a while it’s easy to mistake the walls for the horizon.” Thoroughly impressed, I’ll be reviewing the book soon.
I also was energized by Jessica Jackley of Kiva. Her interview was encouraging and challenging. It’s exciting to listen to how someone identified a problem and then followed through on a solution. They’ve enabled anyone with an internet connection and $25 to make a difference against poverty in the world. Check out the link.
But I was most challenged, convicted and inspired by Harvey Carey of Citadel of Faith Covenant Church in inner-city Detroit. He began the talk warning the audience that he was like espresso, and that no one would be sleepy when he was done. He equated the church with a football team that never left the huddle. Then, he confronted everyone listening with the challenge of actually breaking the huddle and running the play; making a difference right where we are. He talked about the things his congregation has done to make a positive difference in the community, with only one (now two) full time staff members. He spoke about Ephesians 4 where the Bible says that God gives pastors and teachers and other gifts to the church to “equip the members for the work of service.” Actions are everything and intentions are nothing, but as we’ve discussed in other posts, we tend to judge ourselves by our intentions.
The reason for this post: I don’t want to come away from today without changing. So I thought I’d share that with you. Let’s be people who commit to live differently tomorrow. Let’s lead by serving our world and making a difference. Let’s renounce the fear that causes us to hold on to our “stuff” and our position. Instead, let’s take advantage of our losses and our current situation to give us the courage to change. Let’s live tomorrow like we have nothing to lose. We can’t take any of this with us anyway.
For my friends and readers, please let me know what I can be doing to help you take action, right now. Don’t wait. Don’t think about what you “should” do. Just do it. If you’d like some help, please comment below on how I can help you. But commit today to make a difference in your family, business, community or somewhere else in the world. Let’s help one another live like we have nothing to lose. It’s the only way to live.