Another excellent day at the Leadership Summit.
The day started off with a guy called Michael Porter. He's a Harvard professor who advises big companies and even entire countries on strategies for doing what they do better. He spoke into the whole area of churches wanting to make an impact in society and made the observation that in his opinion churches get involved in all sorts of projects which end up adding little real value to society. We must use the time, relationships and money we have to do the most good and be constantly asking ourselves what are the things we are uniquely placed to do. I actually think in Kerith in the Community we're pretty good at doing this, especially with things like the Respite Club, CAP and Hilltop where we are able to provide services which are very high quality and pretty much unique in the community. It wasn't the most entertaining session, but was full of insights and wisdom. I think we'll need to get the DVD and watch it several times to start to really get what he said into our thinking.
Second up was a pre-recorded interview with Colin Powell. He has the most amazing leadership insights based on all his years in the military and in government. As an example one thing he said that spoke to me was that often as leaders we spend ages talking about and planning something, and then only at the very last minute tell the people who will actually do the work what is happening. He said in the military they work on allowing one third of the available time for leaders to plan, and then two thirds of the time for the followers to do their plans and preparations. If you're a leader look forward to seeing this interview in September as it will undoubtedly speak to you.
After lunch was John Ortberg, who used to be the main teacher at Willow and now leads a church in California. I'd never heard him preach before, but have read several of his books including "If You Want to Walk on Water You've Got to Get Out of the Boat" and "Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them". He has an amazing ability in his books to take Bible stories you've heard a dozen times before and bring them to life and make them relevant to today. He's just as good when he preaches! Today he took the story of Esther and showed how she fulfilled her God given mission to save her people, rather than what he called her "shadow mission" which was to be a trophy wife. We individually and as a church have a choice to either fulfill our God given mission, or our shadow mission which may sound similar but will ultimately be self centred and self serving. You'll know what I mean when you see the DVD!
Finally we had an interview with the English film maker Richard Curtis. He's made some of my favourite films including "Four Weddings and a Funeral", "Notting Hill" and "Love Actually", even if they don't have any car chases in them! He's also a driving force behind "Comic Relief" and "Make Poverty History" and has had huge impact in both raising hundreds of millions of pounds for poverty relief in Africa and the UK and raising the awareness of the issues around poverty and debt relief. Like the Bono DVD last year it raised again the issue the issue of our response to the poor and HIV/AIDS, and that to do nothing is simply not acceptable. I'm not ashamed to say I cried through much of this session - I think God wants our hearts to break with the things that break his heart. I've got so far to go but I know God has me on a journey from being detached and uninvolved to wanting to live a life that makes a difference. You might want to check out his latest film "The Girl in the Cafe" which addresses many of these issues (through a love story of course!).
Two other things you might like to check out from the conference. We heard an amazing guy called Erik Mongrain play guitar today in a way I've never seen before. Hear him out on youtube here - incredible! Secondly we heard from a guy who'd given up his very successful career because he felt God had given him a dream to make a movie. We saw a clip of it and it looks fantastic - although again no car chases! You can see some trailers of that film, Bella, here.
Better go to bed now as Ben and Craig will be waking me up for a run in just over 6 hours time!