I was going over my schedule for next week and I noticed that I have to be out of town on the first day of the two day Leadership Summit put on by Willow Creek Association every August. Bummer……. Because, as a leader, I go all out, as most of you know, for the entire year and by the time August rolls around, my tank is heading toward empty and it is time for me to make a pit stop and refuel. Although I lead people every day, each year I look forward to learning more about leadership and how to encourage others because, as Bill Hybels, Founder of the Summit, tells us, “Everybody wins when a leader gets better!”
The two day event held in mid August is the one leadership event that I try not to miss. It is a time that combines education with theology and faith in a unique way that helps us, as Christian leaders, to advance the kingdom of God while caring for God’s people in special ways. While the Summit welcomes speakers who are devout in their faith, to agnostics and non-believers, the code of the event clearly states that we are trying to use best practices to obtain the best leadership lessons we can, regardless of the faith of the person delivering the lecture.
Don’t get me wrong. Faith is a huge part of the activities but it is not up to the Summit audience to judge – they are smart, well intentioned speakers who must bring their “A” game to the audience of approximately 100,000 Christian leaders from across the world. And every time I leave after attending the Summit, I feel rejuvenated – ready to go at it again.
That’s how it can be with our faith lives from time to time. We get charged up and then life gets in the way. We don’t stay committed to maintaining our faith and sure enough, we start to lose out edge in our faith lives. Then something, such as church, happens and we are rejuvenated. We get excited all over again, just like when we were young in our faith. But the key here is that we can implement strategies to keep our faith strong between the times that we get refueled. We can read the Bible or pray with friends or make sure that we stay exposed to God centered people, but it is important that we practice our faith every day. Kind of like leadership – it’s not a once a year thing – it’s a journey day after day. But I have to say that the strong infusion is welcome each summer – and I can’t help but thing that things such as Christmas and Easter are the kinds of events that help renew our faith throughout the year.
The verse for tonight is the biblical reminder about the use of our spiritual gifts, including the gift of leadership. Paul tells us, in Romans 12:6-8, ” And we have different gifts according to the grace given to us. If the gift is prophecy, that individual must use it in proportion to his faith. If it is service, he must serve; if it is teaching, he must teach; if it is exhortation, he must exhort; if it is contributing, he must do so with sincerity; if it is leadership, he must do so with diligence; if it is showing mercy, he must do so with cheerfulness.”
My encouragement this evening is that we all are endowed by God with certain gifts that we are to develop and use. That includes you! My prayer is that you will do whatever you need to do to develop those gifts to be used for the glory of God and that you will value those things that God has entrusted to your care. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…