Follow God. Lead the Church. Change the World.

6 Takeaways from the 2015 Global Leadership Summit

We recently attended our fifth Global Leadership Summit in a row. They’ve all been great. This year was no exception!

Here are some of my key takeaways …

1. Develop grit!

As usual, the talk which impacted me most was the opening session by Bill Hybels, who talked about the intangibles of leadership, inspired by the book, The Intangibles of Leadership by Richard A. Davis.

All of the intangibles Hybels talked about resonated with me and challenged me, particularly the first one, grit. An example of grit is The Little Engine That Could: “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” Real-life examples include, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Hybels said, “Gritty people don’t quit!”

Thankfully, Hybels said …

Grit can be developed, but the arch enemy of grit is ease. Grit development demands difficulty.

This also has implications for parenting, as Hybels mentioned. When we try to make our kids’ lives easy, we prevent them from developing grit!

It also caught my attention when Hybels noted that “many top leaders push themselves physically.” This gives a whole new sense of motivation for things like exercise!

Hybels said, “When senior leaders demonstrate grittiness in their day to day leadership … the organization gets grittier.” He added, “Gritty organizations are unstoppable!”

Other intangibles of leadership include self-awareness, resourcefulness, self-sacrificing love, and a sense of meaning. All equally important!

2. Increase commitment!

Craig Groeschel focused on five areas …

  • Build your Confidence
  • Expand your Connections
  • Improve your Competence
  • Strengthen your Character
  • Increase your Commitment

I especially loved what he said about commitment. In fact, this statement is worth remembering …

There is more in you! Your brain does not understand what God is capable of doing through you.

Groeschel quoted Ephesians 3.20, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since …

Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us. (CEB)

After telling the story about a board of ordained ministry rejecting his call to ministry (incidentally, it was a United Methodist board, though he didn’t name it in his talk), he said he sensed God speak to him …

You are not who others say you are. You are who God says you are!

3. Lead with courage!

Leadership requires grit, tenacity, and courage. I love what Brené Brown said this year, as well as last year …

As leaders, you can choose courage or you can choose comfort. You cannot choose both.

It’s a good reminder!

4. Lead with right motives!

Too often, leaders simply focus on gaining followers. Nigerian pastor, Sam Adeyemi, made two points …

  • “You will not find the definition of success for your ministry or organization until you help the
    people I sent to you to succeed.”
  • “The object of leadership for many leaders is their own success, but the object of Christ’s
    leadership was the success of His followers.”

Leaders must have a healthy, biblical view of success!

5. Be shaped by worship music!

As great as the talks were, and I enjoyed all of them, some of the most-impacting moments were the music. On the first day, Sharon Irving sang “Calling on Fire,” which was awesome. I love the line, “Come set our hearts ablaze!”

On the second day, Bill Hybels led a segment on leadership and music where he shared how music ministered to him at crucial times in his leadership. This segment, which was not a typical leadership conference segment, really resonated with me. I’ve written posts about the role of worship music in my life, including Songs for Leaders, Songs for the Valley, and Sing Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs!

Hybels said …

Music and leadership have an interesting juxtaposition. The leaders I know who face the greatest pressure, climbing the biggest hills, have the closest affinity to the power of music.

The segment was interspersed with songs. I was especially impacted by Sharon Irving’s rendition of “No Longer Slaves,” especially the line, “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God!” Another important reminder!

After this segment, I posted on Facebook, “I listen to a lot of worship music. So do our kids (Sarah calls it ‘God music’). Pretty sure we’ll ramp it up a few notches after that session!”

6. Keep growing!
There were so many takeaways, it’s impossible to focus on all of them. In fact, Bill Hybels said his goal is for leaders to grow 5% each year. You can do that by focusing on a few key takeaways.

And, growing is so important. Hybels often says, “Everybody wins when a leader gets better!”

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