Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Summit Experience

The first time I heard of the Global Leadership Summit was last summer in church.  It was called Summit Sunday.  The featured speaker we watched was Steven Furtick. I didn't really understand why we were watching this instead of listening to a normal service but I soon found out

 Just the opening alone left me with goosebumps.  Listening to Steven talk was incredible.  Our pastor talked about attending this Leadership summit...but who was I kidding?  The only thing I lead are my children and some days I do that badly.  According to Pastor Phil, if you could hold your hand in front of your face, breathe into it and feel your hot breath, you could be a leader.  Sadly I had already used my vacation so I couldn't go.  Every time they showed the video at church though, I was more and more determined to go this year.

When I scheduled vacation this year I wasn't really thinking about Summit but low and behold, my two weeks coincided with the dates and I gladly forked over my money to attend.  I did some homework, I watched some videos, read some bio's on the speakers, but I was not really prepared for what I was to experience.

Summit is a leadership conference.  However, it's not just about being a better business leader, it's about God's designing for your leadership.  Using God to reach your full potential.  Not every person at this conference nationwide is a believer.  Some are there for the business aspect and the benefits that go along with them, but honestly, if you walked into that Summit with just that intention you could not have walked out after two days, listening to these inspiring, uplifting people and been unchanged.

Bill Hybels, the Lead Pastor at Willow Creek Church, where the Summit is located in amazing.  I get to look at how God uses people in my own church every week, but Bill was incredible.  Humble, unapologetic, or as he said "unapologetically  Christian"  he told everyone at the beginning, to respect each other no matter what your beliefs but they were going to get a healthy dose of God along the way.

The morning got underway with Colin Powell, someone who has always intrigued me.  Listening to him talk it was hard to imagine him as a four-star general barking orders.  This gentle man bowled me over with his quiet vision of how to inspire people, cracking jokes and telling stories.  I listened to him speak of his faith and how his upbringing in church shaped him.  If you want unassuming greatness, look no further.

Patrick Lencioni was hysterically accurate with his narrative of "how to lose your best people" and that it's not about getting a good job, it's about fulfillment.  His model of 3 signs of a miserable job was so accurate it was scary!  Liz Wiseman spoke of leaders who are either Multipliers or Diminishers, again scarily accurate to my current workplace. Pastor Chris Brown was somewhat of a sleeper surprise.  I know they pick these people because they have greatness to share but he looked like a football player and the passion he displayed was something to behold.  He spoke of how leaders can't make it all about them.  He spoke of King Saul and David, then in contrast how Jesus led.  Jesus didn't lead by being served, he led by serving others.  His ultimate point; "Do you want to expand His Kingdom or your own reputation?" 

Bob Goff.  If there was one person I was excited for that first day it was him.  I would have gladly paid my whole admission fee to listen to him.  If you don't know who he is...Google him.  Watch, read, listen to, absorb as much as you can.  Exuberant is too tame of a word for this man.  His energy is ridiculous and if you don't want to stand on your chair and scream and run once he is done, then you have no pulse.  His basic message: Love God, Love People, Do Stuff.  Jesus shows up, Land the Plane and Be Awesome.  I cannot wait to read his book Love Does, and you should read it too.

Mark Burnett was interesting. His was an interview with Bill Hybels.  He was funny and intelligent and he said "Ass" and I thought Hybels was going to pass out.  Can I say that I love that he is also unapologetically Christian?  In a land where sin is accepted as currency, he strives to live above that.

I went home that night with my head spinning.  I prayed that God would help me digest this information and use it to the best of my ability even though I lead nothing right now.  I prayed for his wisdom, to use this knowledge and to go into day two with the same tenacity.

Oh Day two.....I thought Day one was a lot to take in, but Day two,it just knocked it out of the park

Joseph Grenny was great.  He is like a sociologist studying human behaviour and influence and so much of what he said can be used not only for leadership but parenting as well.  Vijay Govindarajan was a true business man, and I have to admit I kind of tuned him out.  He had great things to say but I was mentally preparing myself for what came next.

Brene Brown.  Oh Brene Brown, when I first read her synopsis in the Summit Notebook I knew I was going to have issues.  She is described as a groundbreaking researcher on the topics of shame, worthiness and courage.  Hmmmm, yeah that was going to be tough.  I grabbed extra Kleenex and my pen, thinking if I just take copious notes then I Can distract my mind from the fact that I may as well be her poster child for her research.  NO such luck.  Everything she said may as well have been a giant check mark being drawn above my head.  We all want to be seen and loved, we want to belong, we want to be brave. Check!  We can't give what we don't have. Check, Check.  We can't give help when we can't ask for help. CHECK.  After this particular statement and part of her talk I was pretty sure she was looking right at me from Willow Creek. It's a good thing we broke for lunch, I was a sobbing mess and got out of there as fast as I could, cried my eyes out at home and went back for more.

The afternoon wrapped up with Oscar Murui, Senior Pastor of Nairobi Chapel in Kenya.  He was magnificent.  He was the perfect combination of religion and leadership.  His take on Matthew 9:37-38 was spot on.  Jesus grew his followers then his harvest.  It's simple to translate: you can't have a harvest and too few workers or leaders and a plentiful harvest.  You have to grow or invest in your leaders first.  Dr. Henry Cloud struck a nerve as well.  Any time someone starts talking about worth and people not feeling good enough......I jokingly tweeted that Henry Cloud makes me realize I need intensive therapy...but seriously folks.  When he said "your brain turns into a cesspool of stress when you think of things you can't control" I am pretty sure he said Heather right after it.  Andy Stanley was the last speaker.  He was all God.   Obey God and leave all the consequences to him.  Jesus will continue to build his church and no one's death will stop it.  Strong and powerful which it was meant to be and I know why they let him close. 

There was so much more than just people speaking about God and leadership.  It's hard to articulate, the whole experience, so I would encourage anyone to attend next year or at the very least, Google these people, most of them can be found on YouTube.  Read their books.  If you at all want to even be a better person, leader or Christian you will thank yourself for it. 

I came home tonight emotionally drained.  I went right to my room and laid on my bed face-down for about twenty minutes.  My boys kept checking on me but I felt like I couldnt' process it all.  Other things in my life right now are a contributing factor as well, but we will leave that mess and agony for another time

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