Thursday, December 30
Leaders need leaders- to fortify their resolve and to learn from one another. This is especially true in parts of the world that discourage or are openly hostile to the Gospel, where resources are scarce and leaders serve alone. Courageous leaders have always been willing to step out to further the cause of the Kingdom.
The same hunger I see in the United States for quality relevant, and God-honoring training is present in my travels to more than 89 other countries. I firmly believe that investing in leadership development has the highest exponential return in terms of changing communities for good. Working together to build churches and leaders, we can change the world.
Please join us in this global movement of transformation and redemption through local leadership development. Your gift can help change a leader, a church, a community, and the world. (Watch stories of leaders worldwide who have answered the call to lead.)
By: Gary Schwammlein (@GarySchwammlein) on behalf of the WCA
WCA Vice President, International
After a couple of years of imagining what was possible with projections and live performance, we were finally able to try something big at this year’s Global Leadership Summit. Graphics by Ryan Trommer, original score by Nate Yaccino, and one key photo by Joshua Longbrake.
By: Blaine Hogan (@BlaineHogan)
Blaine Hogan is the Experience Engineer at Willow Creek Community Church. He creates sacred spaces using sound, visual, and performance art. He blogs at blainehogan.com also you can follow Blaine on twitter.
Friday, December 24
To help remind people of the true meaning of Christmas, YouVersion is leading an effort to make the Bible as visible as possible during this season. YouVersion set Saturday, December 25, as Global Share the Bible Day.
We're joining in, are you? (Share)
by: WCA (@wcagls)
Wednesday, December 22
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary...” Luke 1:30
Many of us have read and told the Christmas story countless times, as regular as the clicking off of the months on a calendar. It can lose steam in our spirits, and on any given Christmas we might be numb to it, moved more by the lights and the vibe than by the story that inspires them. But nonetheless it remains the most important, astounding, pivotal story in the history of our myth-laden planet. I took a slightly improvised pass at retelling it:
Excerpt from A CHRISTMAS RIFF
Joseph and his fiancé Mary
arriving in the town of Bethlehem
(she having reached full term)
no vacancy, no lodging
no place to lay down and give birth
except a dark stinking barn
with a filthy feeding trough
They were revolted at the thought--
this didn’t fit the lofty script
that the angel had spelled out
The High Prince that Mary carried
could not be delivered in a dark corner
of a smelly shed where the livestock lay
took it in
and then they breathed
and in their shaky way
Since there be no other way
here we are for God, said they
Let it be...
let it be
That same evening
(though they were hard to see)
there were sheep keepers out there in the field
night watchmen for the flocks
Their hearts were nearly stopped
by a visit from the angel messenger
brighter than noon in the darkest of night
blinded were they by the brilliance of God
said the envoy to the sheep keepers
go into town
search the stables
and you will find the sign--
in a feeding trough
Then there rose up
splitting open the night
angel upon angel upon angel
in waves across the sky
like the Northern Lights
only infinitely brighter
a song far deeper than any human choir
ascending into heaven
and leaving them behind
They fell over themselves
running hard into the town
throwing open barn doors
heaving open wooden gates
until they found
the man Joseph
his fiancé Mary
wrapped up in rags
who was given His name
long, long before any of them were born:
Imagine Mary and Joseph walking into the smelly, unsanitary, confined barn, and how they must have felt, carrying a child King into that mess. We see the artistic sheen of finely polished Nativity scenes and we can forget how strange it must have all seemed, and how scared they must have been.
Are you carrying fear this Christmas season?
Imagine taking one step--no matter how shaky—in the direction of trust in God. Let Him help you, lift you, protect you, and give you a peace that will go beyond all your scenarios and anxious thoughts.
Lord God, help us hear your reassuring voice, like Mary and Joseph heard long ago: Be not afraid.
By: Greg Ferguson
Co-Producer/ Experience Designer, The Global Leadership Summit
(Excerpt from A Christmas Riff ©2010 Greg Ferguson
a short film currently in production with @prolifikfilms)
Monday, December 20
“There is nothing like the local church when it’s working right. It transforms lives heart by heart, soul by soul, life by life. Its potential is unlimited. Whatever the capacity for human suffering, the church has a greater capacity for healing and wholeness.” – Bill Hybels
Transforming lives is God’s work alone. Yet, in His infinite grace and wisdom, He invites his people to join Him in His life changing work. This is both a mystery and a proven process, visible in the daily lives of those who follow Christ and see to become more like him.
In the past months our staff has been blessed to hear and read the stories of lives that have been transformed and communities that have been changed.
We’re committed to support, challenge, and envision local churches, leaders, and believers. We consider it a great privilege to hold up a vision that every church might reach its full redemptive potential.
Blessings and prayers to you and your team this season!
By: Jim Mellado (@JimMellado)
Thursday, December 16
Aaron Niequist just posted the entry below on his blog. We love it, so we're sharing it! Hope you enjoy!
1. Richard Rohr (From Daily Meditations):
“We’ve got to know the true source of our truth. In my attempt to work inside of earthly institutions for some small degree of justice, am I just fighting for my little “Richard Rohr truth,” or am I really in touch with the great truth that Jesus calls the reign of God? I’ve got to know that it’s not just what I do but why I do it and where it comes from. I think the sequence of Jesus’ words about himself is significant. He is first Way, and only then Truth, which is finally Life (see John 14:6).2.Mark Sayers- Leadership in Your Twenties (from his blog series about surviving ministry through your 20s)
“Without prayer, we’re trapped in our heads, our opinions, our righteous selves. Maybe we’ll be doing the right thing, but from an egocentric place, not a place of unitive consciousness, the place where all things are one. In other words, we’ll be doing our own agenda instead of God’s.
“When people are doing God’s thing, they have freedom—they can laugh at themselves, they can take humiliation and non-success because their own reputation is not at stake. The mature believer will probably look more like a holy fool than a do-gooder or a ‘saint.’”
By: Aaron Niequist (@aaronieq)
Weekend Worship Leader, Willow Creek Community Church
Wednesday, December 15
Two years ago I was part of the volunteer team that hosted the first GLS in Egypt. When I found out that we were going to do it again in 2010, I could hardly wait to head back to Cairo to see God impact the lives and ministries of leaders in the Middle East once again. It was amazing to join with 1200 passionate men and women [conference break pictured above] who desire to follow Christ fully, to shine His light of truth and love in a dark world. Each aspect of the experience – from the live worship and creative elements to the practical teaching, reflection and discussion – all contributed to an environment where God’s Spirit could draw His people to Himself and each other for the sake of His Kingdom. Knowing that the host church regularly offers conferences could have easily deterred people from engaging deeply, yet the exact opposite happened.
We knew God was up to something big when nearly all the conference guests were registered and in their seats thirty minutes before the start of the first session. With the countdown timer ticking away, Pastor Sameh Hanna gave the go ahead for the worship team to start early. I could see his eyes light up as the sound of voices began to fill the room in anticipation of the beginning of this two-day adventure. The session speakers and topics really hit home in this setting, especially Christine Caine’s inspirational message of hope and Jeff Manion’s life lessons on navigating the challenges of personal and professional “wilderness” seasons. I’ll never forget Senior Pastor Sameh Maurice [pictured above] concluding the conference by telling about his own seasons of uncertainty, then rallying everyone to pray aloud boldly and to join hands across the aisles as a unifying step of faith toward the future.
As it turns out, the regular envisioning and development of leaders has resulted in a strengthening of the ministry core and an insatiable appetite to be equipped as difference-makers in this world for Christ. The GLS simply, yet powerfully, came alongside the work that God’s Spirit is already doing to enhance the light that is emanating from downtown Cairo.
Personally, I was marked by the seemingly seamless ability of the U.S. and Egyptian serving teams to work together so quickly and efficiently. A great example of this happened between technical team volunteers Hany Awny Hanna from Cairo and Jeremy Hoff from California [pictured above] who had planted ministry partnership seeds two years earlier and this year the fruit began to grow. Beyond accomplishing a God-sized task together, friendships were formed throughout the week that represented how we really are all spiritual siblings even though we live on different sides of the globe. Our gifts and skills shone through as we humbly contributed our unique abilities for the good the whole. Therese Gobran [pictured below] was another person God used to communicate His message powerfully during the conference, as she translated English to Arabic for the pre-conference women’s workshops, as well as the motivational interview between Pastor Maurice and Lynne Hybels on day three. It was apparent through cheers and shedding of tears that the conference participants were able to prayerfully connect with God’s Spirit throughout the sessions. I was moved to discover that it is the desire of the host church to continue offering this catalytic experience again and again to infuse God’s people with vision, leadership and strategic training so the church will continue to grow vibrantly in a society that seeks to isolate its efforts.
Without a doubt, changing a leader can change a church, and changing a church can change a city and ultimately the world! I have been friends with our GLS team leader, Fady Eldeiry [pictured above above], for several years and I have seen how Christ has called him out to bring the GLS to his home country. I have also witnessed first hand how God has used him to bring fantastic people around him, all with different desires and dreams, to join with God and the GLS to reach the Arabic speaking world starting with a relatively small band of Christ-followers in Egypt. I cannot wait to see how God’s Spirit will guide the lives were transformed by participating in this year’s GLS. And again, I cannot wait to return next year to be part of this transformational experience in 2011.
Friday, December 10
Last week, 75 international leaders were at Willow Creek Community Church for Partnering to Prevail (PTP), a gathering specifically for equipping and training international church leaders.
“We know for a fact that the first 10 leaders from South Africa who attended the first PTP in 2000 are leading the most pioneering, progressive, relevant churches in our country today. The impact of the PTP is profound and has resulted in church growth, personal soul care, community upliftment, more conversions, more baptisms and an increased willingness to change and be relevant and make a difference in the world.” - Janine Couchman, WCA affiliate leader in South Africa
Ministry leaders representing just about every area of the Church shared their experience on some hot topics.
One of the speakers, Gordon MacDonald, told pastors: if you want to have longevity in ministry, you have to build in disciplines in all areas of your life. Discipline is a powerful form of preserving your life for the work that God has called you to. Gordon asked pastors, “How well are you disciplining your life in these areas?”
Gordon’s question made us think, how well do we as church leaders discipline all areas of our world today- including our private life? What are your challenges for disciplining your life?
Tell us in the comments. Lets get a conversation started with other leaders on this important topic.
by: Willow Creek Association (@wcagls)
Tuesday, December 7
The sports headlines are all carrying the same message last week; “The Anniversary of The Scandal."
You don’t have to read the articles to know that they’re talking about Tiger Woods. It’s been a year since his fall from grace; a year since that notorious car accident in front of his house, and the subsequent revelation that golf’s wonder boy had ruined his family, and his reputation, by maintaining adulterous affairs with as many as a dozen or more mistresses.
It took Woods many months before he finally addressed the media about his failings, but when he did a single sentence said it all.
“I thought I was bigger than the game.”
Bigger than the game. How many leaders have we seen come crashing down because they thought they had arrived at the place where they were above the rules?
Think of King Saul. Israel’s first King had it all. Samuel describes him as “as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else.” (1 Samuel 9:2) As King, Saul had a 30-year run in leadership and achieved great things for Israel.
But eventually he thought he was bigger than the game. He took it upon himself to offer sacrifices; something God permitted only a priest to perform.
Samuel’s rebuke of Saul was as stinging as anything Tiger Woods ever heard. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure.” (1 Samuel 13: 13-14)
I don’t know what all of this means for you, but let me suggest three questions that will help you discern if you might be acting like you are bigger than the game:
- Do you ever allow yourself more latitude than you would extend to your staff?
- Do you ever rebuke your staff for behavior you know you’re guilty of yourself?
- Do you ever expect more of your team than you’re willing to commit to yourself?
By: Scott Cochrane (@WScottCochrane)
Former ‘marketplace guy’ and executive pastor, and now executive director at The Leadership Centre Willow Creek Canada.
Post used with permission from Scott's Blog: A Leader's Journey (Thanks Scott!)
Wednesday, December 1
For the past months, we’ve been posting a series of wallpaper downloads with scripture. Our hope is that they will serve as a daily reminder to connect and be in a relationship with our amazing God—a Father who meets us where we are.