Willow Creek GLS

Yesterday I went to the Dublin Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. This was as part of the Leadership module that I am taking. I suppose you could say that I should have blogged immediately afterwards with first thoughts. However, for one thing I have been very busy over the past 24 hours. For another, sometimes it is good to reflect on something for a time before committing thoughts to paper (or Blogs!). In any case, my thoughts haven’t changed since yesterday, so here goes.

The event took place at The Exchange in the centre of town. There were about 300 people there, presumably involved in some sort of leadership positions. We started off the day by singing a few songs, then the first session was introduced. The disappointment was that none of the speakers were actually present. Everything was going to be shown on DVD. Not even a live link!

In the first session, Bill Hybels was the speaker. He was speaking about how to move forward in church life, and how to ensure that the church comes with you. Much good advice, much to think about. However, there was very little Scripture used (I will come back to this later!)

The second session saw Jim Collins give what can only be described as a business talk on how to ensure that an organisation ( in this case a church) doesn’t completely fail. I am sure there are valuable lessons that churches can learn from a business model, but there was nothing distinctively Christian about this, it could easily be given in the secular business world.

After lunch, the subject of dealing with leaders who fall into sin was raised. Th speaker for this was Adam Hamilton who had first hand experience of this, and shared very honestly how he, and others on his leadership team worked through this issue, as well as how the congregation was encouraged to respond. This session was full of sound, Biblical principles, and would have been a real help to those for whom this was an issue. At last, something distinctively Christian, although even though the advice was essentially Scriptural, it was not obvious exactly how it derived from Scripture.

The final session had two speakers. Firstly, Andy Stanley on the upside of tension. As was the case with much of the rest of the day, here were some very helpful things concerning how to manage tension in church life, and how to know which problems were solvable, and which would remain as tensions. But again, Scriptural content was minimal.

The second speaker was Christine Caine who is a Hillsongs Pastor from Australia. If you have this Blog previously, you will know my thoughts on women in leadership! In this case, though, I have to say that she was the best speaker of the day IMHO. She was passionate, Christ centred, really enthusiastic about reaching out to the world with the good news of the gospel, and her message was very much Biblically based!

I think you probably get a sense of what I made of the day. In general, I would say we are on very dangerous ground if our starting point is not Scripture, however good any advice may be. I know that people who are not Christians do not accept the authority of Scripture and a more low key approach is needed (as in for example this coming weekend’s Focus on the Family event), but the people here were CHRISTIAN leaders, who need to be committed to the Bible. If we move away from that, we can be open to any advice, and not know whether it is good or bad. So more Biblical input is needed in this event. Also, a few live speakers would be good!

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