Friday, August 8, 2008

Willow Leadership Day One

Well a totally full on day today. The conference used to be over two and a half days with 10 speakers, but this years its compressed into just two days with 11 speakers - figure that one if you can! I'll give you a brief run down on each speaker.

Bill Hybels - has just written a book called Axioms which is the leadership proverbs he has developed over 34 years of ministry - spoke on some of those - brilliant as ever.

Gary Haugen - founder of International Justice Mission - a human rights agency rescuing victims from slavery, sexual exploitation, trafficking and other areas of injustice. Deeply inspiring on God's heart for justice and that he chooses to work justice through us - he has no plan B. A number of people have spoken to me about us getting involved in the issue of people trafficking - you wil love what he has to say. For me he was to injustice what Bono was to HIV - a wake up call to be involved.

Bill George - Harvard professor and former CEO of a $60 billion company. Spoke on the need for a new generation of leaders focussed on character rather than charisma - a great session for leaders of all ages.

Wendy Kopp - founder of teach Teach for America - an organisation trying to eliminate educational equality in America's schools. Probably my favourite session of the day - she was just inspirational as to the difference someone can make if they truly believe in what they are doing and devote themselves to it.

John Burke - those who know me will know how much I love his book "No Perfect People Allowed" and how much it has shaped my thinking. Seeing him live only added to my respect for him. He has a new book out - "Soul Revolution" - which I'm wondering whether we might use for our post Christmas series - the 2009 equivalent of 40 Days of Purpose - not sure yet but it does look good.

Finally Efrem Smith - leads a multi cultural church in Minneapolis using Hip-Hop to engage the culture. Fantastic on how we have to build churches which culturally represent the communities they are in - very relevant to the journey we are on.

So all in all a brilliant day. Can I encourage any leader or aspiring leader who reads this to book into the DVD version of the conference in October - it can only make you a better leader, whether that's at church, in work or in the community.

I think you can see more details on all the speakers at www.willowcreek.com

I hear the youth are having a great time at RockNations - keep praying for God to impact them powerfully.

Must go now as I've just about lost all feeling in my finger end typing this on my BlackBerry!

Simon.

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