Next Tuesday I've got the privilege of going to the Global Leadership Summit at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. I'm going with Ben Davies, our Senior Pastor, and Craig Mills who is the Technical Director for the DVD version of the Leadership Summit which we host in Bracknell at the end of September.
I've only ever been to Willow once before and that was for a Sunday morning meeting on my way back from an electronics show in Las Vegas. I was in turmoil when they opened the meeting and said it was Mother's Day. We'd just had our first child, Zak, and my first reaction was that my wife Catrina wasn't going to be too impressed with me when I got home for having forgotten! It was only about 15 minutes into the meeting that it dawned on me Mother's Day is on different dates in the UK and the US. Boy was I relieved.
Anyway, Bill Hybels and Willow Creek have had a huge impact on us as a church. Their emphasis on God's passion for lost people, their longing to present the gospel in ways that communicate with ordinary men and women without watering down the message, their use of the creative arts, the quality of the preaching and their quest for excellence that honours God and inspires people have all affected us deeply. Last year an interview with Bono on the church's response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic spurred us to take action on that front - more of that in a blog at some point in the future.
I'll try and post updates on the blog during the conference to let you know what is going on. If it inspires you the why not book in to come to the DVD version of the conference in Bracknell in September.
Off to church now for an exciting morning of worship, thanksgivings, baptisms and Ben preaching.