Investing in Our Leadership

Willow Creek photo

You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.  Matthew 5: 13-16

I’m blessed to be with a dozen EDOW leaders, lay and ordained, at a local host site for the Global Leadership Summit 2016 live streamed from Willow Creek Church. It’s amazing to realize that we are among 400,00 people participating in the Summit around the world.

Last night at dinner I asked those of our group to identify one or two ideas that particularly inspired them. There was no shortage of possibilities!

Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek, spoke on “The Lenses of Leadership;” and onstage he interviewed Melinda Gates of the Gates Foundation. Alan Mulally, former president and CEO of Ford, spoke on “The Art of Working Together,” and Jossy Chacko, the leader of global ministry working to transform the lives of millions in Asia, followed with “Unquestionable Ways to Expand Your Leadership Reach.” Then Dr. Travis Bradberry spoke on emotional intelligence, and the day ended with Patrick Lencioni describing three characteristics of “The Ideal Team Player.”

Such content presented is impossible to absorb in one sitting, but the Summit provides access and review of all material from present and past speakers through GLSnex (which you can download as well). But we all had something to share.

The primary take-away for me on the first day is the importance of intentionally investing in our leadership. We may have natural gifts, have had pivotal  life experiences, and hold a leadership position. Yet all of us, as Rabbi Edwin Friedman used to say, “from parents to presidents,” have a responsibility to cultivate our leadership skills and invest in the leadership potential of others. “Everyone wins,” Bill Hybels said, “when leaders get better.”

Hybels stressed the importance of a leader’s passion–not simply for the leader, but for all who are positively affected by it throughout the system. The leader’s passion sets the tone, and inspires others to live with passion themselves.

What happens when a leader’s passion wanes? Everyone suffers.

And whose responsibility is it to rekindle and keep our passion strong? Ours.

When I consider ways that I keep my passion alive, many of the gifts of this summer come to mind: daily quiet and prayer, riding my bicycle in beautiful places, reading great books, and spending time learning from those whose life examples and wisdom inspire me. My passion also rises when I see things in this world that need to change and I feel God wants me to be a part of that change.

Here at the summit, I also realize that my passion comes alive working alongside others toward a common vision. What a gift, once again, to be with EDOW friends and colleagues learning together and energized to serve Christ’s mission by becoming the best leaders we can be, in faithfulness to Him and for the good of our people. But it’s not only a gift. It is our responsibility.

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