Norfolk leaders engage at Willow Creek summit
Church leaders mixed with those from community groups and schools at Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit, which was video-cast at Kingsgate Community Church in Great Yarmouth on October 16 and 17. Keith Morris reports.
Around 140 leaders at the Yarmouth location joined 260,000 attendees world-wide for the popular event which combines teaching from well-known church leaders, business gurus and celebrity speakers.
The summit was opened by Willow Creek senior pastor Bill Hybels who spoke about the intangibles of leadership, which he described as: having grit and perseverance, self-awareness, resourcefulness, self-sacrificing love and creating a sense of meaning, quoting Abraham Lincoln and Pope Francis in the process.
“What is your white-hot driving force,” he asked delegates. “We need to build a compelling case for the ‘why’ of everyone’s job. You need to find out what is in your ‘top box’ and then pursue it with all your heart.”
Next up was Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and President of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Ed believes that the principles behind creativity can work in all settings to make anything possible: “Creativity is the new business currency,” said Ed.
He also talked about the power of a story: “Stories are the way we communicate with one another. Good stories are the ones that connect with the emotions… and they can impact and change the world for good,” he said.
We also heard the story of Nathan Burl Cain, warden at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, which houses 6,300 prisoners and had a terrible record of violence and killings. Nathan created a revolution in the prison which now has half a dozen churches and a seminary.
Also featured were Horst Schulze, CEO of Capella Hotel Group who spoke about creating world class service and Monrovia pastor Albert Tate who said: “Don’t underestimate the power of a dumb idea,” referring to the feeding of the 5,000.
Social work professor Dr Brene Brown, gave a very personal account of ‘the stories we make up when shame strikes’: “We are all hard-wired to make up a story when something bad happens to us. It makes us feel better and we actually believe it,” said Rene.
“When we deny the real story it owns us but when we address the story it defines us,” she concluded.”
Groups attending the Yarmouth summit included YMCA Norfolk, Matthew Project, Diocese of Norwich and Taverham Evangelical Church.
Co-organiser, Ian Savory, senior leader at Kingsgate, said: “The GLS is a world-class leadership resource and it is great to be able to provide this type of event locally. We have community, school and agency leaders here as well as church leaders – a total mixture.
“The lovely thing about this conference is that people can come from a non-Christian background and not be put off. It’s a good showcase.”
Pictured top is the Global Leaders Summit in Great Yarmouth and, from top, host Ian Savory, the NYFC band and one of the many discussions taking place between delegates. Pictures by Dave Cossey.