For almost twenty years, Janet and I have attended the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) that is broadcast from Willow Creek Church in South Barrington, IL and simulcast to hundreds of sites across the country. This phenomenal program generally occurs the first Thursday and Friday of each August and I usually clear my calendar a year in advance. It makes it convenient that our home church is one of the host sites and we volunteer to help out in anticipation of providing a great venue experience to all the people who will attend the Summit at our location.
Leadership can be a tough thing at times and I almost pace myself to show up at the GLS “on fumes” to be encouraged, motivated, energized and taught the newest leadership stuff each year. There are world class speakers and people from all walks of life who teach sessions on getting better as a leader through the use of a variety of disciplines. So I usually really look forward to this time of rejuvenation. For me, it is like nourishment – like being fed!
But last August, in 2018, there were some internal issues that had to be dealt with at Willow Creek and our church decided, for the first time in 18 years, to pass on being a host site. I was disappointed in the announcement but certainly respect those folks in authority who made the decision to sit last year out. Rather than attend at another location, Janet and I sat out as well and I continued on with my normal leadership teaching and coaching throughout last year.
We were pleasantly surprised to learn that our church would once again be a host site for the GLS this August and so we registered for the program that was held this past Thursday and Friday. It was like seeing an old friend. I attended all the sessions during both days of the Summit. And Janet, who usually sits some of it out, only missed one of the sessions.
I didn’t realize how much I needed several days to immerse myself in listening and learning about the latest and greatest leadership stuff out there. It was awesome, as usual. My specialty is in team dynamics and so it was easy to see how the material can be leveraged for entire teams to improve productivity and outcomes. I could go on and on but I won’t.
Suffice it to say that the entire Willow Creek GLS was created in response to one of the comments that the apostle Paul makes in the book of Romans. He speaks about spiritual gifts and how each of us are endowed by God with certain gifts that can be used for the betterment of all mankind. Some of the gifts are more visible than others – such as teaching, hospitality, leadership, etc. Others are less visible – and those include helps, mercy, faith, and a host of others that some of us have.
Our verse for tonight references Paul’s comments on some of the spiritual gifts. He tells us, in Romans 12:6-8, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
My encouragement this evening is that God has endowed each of us with special gifts that we are to use them for the betterment of the entire body of Christ. We do not all have the same gifts, but we must depend on others who have complementary gifts to complete the work of the church. My prayer is that we will all recognize the things that we do well and openly share our gifts with others as a testimony to Christ and His church. May God bless each of us in the use of the gifts that we have been endowed with. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…