For me the Leadership Summit is a twice a year event every August. First, comes the event itself and for the fifth year in a row Community Christian Church was a satellite site for Leadership Summit. And then two weeks later comes the Leadership Summit Debrief where myself and all the Lead Pastors who host a satellite site gather with Bill Hybels, Jim Mellado and the WCA gang to review how it went this year and talk about next year. They used to hold the debrief in South Haven, Michigan and there were only about twenty of us. Since there are now about one hundred of us they hold it in a Chicago hotel and there isn’t nearly as much interaction. However, it is an exceptional group of leaders and I always get a chance to connect with a person or two and learn something. Here are a few examples:
- I had dinner with Greg Hawkins who is a really, really bright guy. If Hybels is the visionary of Willow World it is Greg that actually makes all the pieces work. I was glad to hear how excited he is about Willow’s new Chicago campus. He thinks they could have as many as 2,000 people attend the opening service. Wow! It was also interesting to hear Greg and Nancy Beach (now I feel like I’m name dropping – but only church leader types would care!?!) do not consider Willow on the cutting edge anymore. I would agree, but I didn’t expect them to say it. In the 70’s and 80’s they actually created a new paradigm for doing church, but that was a long time ago. Greg and Nancy do consider Willow very influential and because of that they are shifting how they use the Willow Creek Association from a platform to distribute Willow Creek “stuff” to a platform for other innovative churches. The best example is the upcoming A2 Conference. Notice how many other churches are given the platform. This used to be the Prevailing Church Conference that featured how WillowCreek Community Church does it. I personally think this is a brilliant move for them and the Kingdom. I’m forming some thoughts on how that is a win for them and the Kingdom and I may post those in the next couple days.
- I also got a chance to connect with Lee Powell, the Lead Pastor at Cedar Creek Community Church. Lee started the church in 1995 and it has grown to more than 6,000 in attendance. I first met Lee when they were thinking about going multi-site. They have done it in a big way! And if you have heard me talk about our twice a year IGNITE campaign to invite and include new people, Lee is the guy who gave me the idea. At CedarCreek they call it The Big Push. He gave me a new brochure that included a website about The Big Push. If you want more info then click HERE.
- I had a great conversation with David Loveless. I first got to know David at a NewThing Multi-Site Practicum when they were planning for their second site. He is a great guy who has really persevered and is seeing God do amazing things at Discovery Church in Orlando, Florida.
- I got to meet Bob Bouwer who is the Lead Pastor at Faith Church in Dyer, Indiana. They have more than 3,000 in attendance every week and are getting ready to add a second site. NewThing has been providing them coaching over the last several months. Brian Zehr, our NewThing coach has been telling me about Bob and this terrific church in northwest Indiana, but I never met him till last week. It was cool to make the connect.
- For those of you who were at the Leadership Summit, the highest rated talk was Wayne Cordeiro’s talk.
- My favorite moment at the debrief? It was Hybels reflecting on Andy Stanley’s talk when he said he works 45 hours and then goes home. Bill said, “45 hours…I’m just getting started after 45 hours!”