Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Review. . . The Leadership Summit

Ok, this is late. Sorry, but I had to stop by the office on my way home. Home from where? I'm so glad you asked. I have spent today, yesterday and will spend half the day tomorrow at a satellite location for the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. Now, anything Willow Creek is not going to be terribly Presbyterian; but so far we have had two Presbyterian speakers. Today we had John Ortburg from Menlo Park, and yesterday we had a New York minister who must have been Presbyterian. He spent several years in the U.S. House of Representatives and said he was never afraid of losing an election -- because God had elected him first. I don't think most of the Baptists got it. . . . then again, I'm not completely sure the speaker got it. . . .

Ok, the Conference. The schedule was:
  • Bill Hybles, Vision to Die For;
  • Carly Fiorina, Tough Choices;
  • Floyd H. Flake, The Heat of Responsibility;
  • Marcus Buckingham, Go Put Your Strengths to Work;
  • Michael E. Porter, Strategy and Leadership;
  • Colin Powell, Leading at the Highest Level;
  • John Ortberg, A Leader's Greatest Fear;
  • Richard Curtis, Living for the Greater Good;
  • Jimmy Carter, Building Humanity; and
  • Bill Hybels, Whatever You Do, Inspire Me!.
Jimmy Carter starts tomorrow. So, I haven't heard him yet. Several of the others were worth the price of admission by themselves. Granted, I was at a satellite location, not the live venue; and I was there on a bought way in advance in quantity for cheapest possible amount ticket.

John Ortberg basically preached a sermon on the Book of Esther that was so good I was trying to figure out if I could afford to live in a box under a bridge in Menlo Park when I discovered that his sermons are on his church's web page.

Marcus Buckingham teaches a way of focusing on your strengths instead of your weaknesses. The message was good. The presentation was wonderful. Michael Porter is a Harvard business professor who is an expert on strategic planning. He made a number of excellent points about focusing mission projects where the church's resources and strengths lie, focusing on maximizing the value that you produce, setting clear goals and making sure that your strategy for reaching those goals is sustainable. The weakness in the presentation was that he focuses exclusively on the perspective of a Ph.D. in finance. Nonetheless, the presentation was very valuable. Richard Curtis is a filmmaker who has used his vocation to raise incredible amounts of money for charitable relief in Africa. Those were my favorite presenters so far.

Any discussion of the speakers doesn't convey the atmosphere. I don't generally care for contemporary worship, but there were a number of aspects to the music and worship interspersed among the speakers that were intensely memorable. Assuming that my church buys seats in bulk again next year, I plan to go again. If nothing else, it is interesting to consider church work as leadership in the same way that CEO's lead corporations and Generals lead armies.


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