Jon warned that fame is the most dangerous drug in Christianity right now – it’s wrecking young leaders. He reminded us that we are famous with God, which is what matters.
He declared that God will never be handcuffed by our failures or unleashed by our successes.
And he pointed out how awesome it is that we serve a God who fixed a problem with a party (a reference to the prodigal son story, if I remember right).
Addressing those in a transitional season, Craig Groeschel identified four phases of transition:
- Spirit’s prompting – He pointed out that God often speaks in small ways, so we have to pay attention in daily life.
- Certain uncertainty – He urged us not to stop just because we don’t know what’s next and declared that to step toward our destinies we have to step away from our security. He said God often won’t reveal everything to us because we can’t handle the details and suggested that if you’re not leading with a little uncertainty now and then you’re not leading with faith.
- Predictable resistance – Craig pointed out that the Enemy doesn’t want what God put in our hearts to prosper and warned that if we are not ready to face opposition for obedience to God, then we are not ready to be used by Him. He also said that if we blame ourselves for declines then someday we’ll take credit for successes, and declared that we shouldn’t worry when we’re being criticized, we should worry when we’re not (in this world you will have trouble…).
- Uncommon clarity – Eventually you’ll know you’re in the sweet spot you were created for.
He also identified three levels of leadership – people who want to make a name for themselves (“I’m good”), people who want to make a difference (“we’re good” – a trap the Church often falls into), and people who die to self (“God is good”).
According to Matt Chandler, we need to be out from under the weight of law, not obedience to law.
He reminded us that we shouldn’t define our value by external things.
He also reminded us that God calls us sons and pointed out that while we wouldn’t want to hang out with a Judge, we would want to hang out with a Dad.
As “co-heirs with Christ,” we are not the black sheep of the family. So what is it we inherit?
- God Himself. No matter how good things are, God is better. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, all you have is Him. Your job is not better than Jesus.
- One day we’ll be resurrected and imperishable.
- We get the world – the nations are our inheritance. God will reach the nations regardless, but we are invited to play.
- Suffering and rejection. If we contextualize to the point that no one’s offended, then we’ve lost Jesus. God promises to be near and to sustain us when we face suffering and rejection. And it is not unloving of God to wound us now for our long-term benefit.
All told, he declared, your base had better be sonship.
According to Simon Sinek, to be a leader all you need is followers, who are people who choose to go the direction you want them to. You can get them to do so either through manipulation or inspiration and most leaders tend to rely on manipulation.
Simon drew three concentric circles with the middle one labeled “Why?”, the second “How?”, and the outer circle “What?” He suggested that few can articulate why they do what they do, but said people aren’t drawn to what you do but to why you do it.
What you need, according to Simon, is clarity of why, discipline of how, and consistency of communication (authenticity – the things you say and do you actually believe). He said you need to remember why you do what you do and said that leaders become leaders by putting their mission (the why) in a way we can all understand.
Introduced by Michelle Rhee on video, education reformer Geoffrey Canada urged attendees not to confuse leadership with celebrity, pointing out that while he’s attained a measure of fame, he’s still doing the same thing today he was doing 30 years ago.
Geoffrey pointed out that evil is a real thing and asked us what we’re going to do about it? When it comes to our failing schools, do we not know or do we not care? After all, Christians are supposed to have the courage to do the tough things.
He asked, who is your role model? His is Harriet Tubman, who got out of slavery, but went back to get others out.
He said we’ve decided to let kids fail and then we put them in jail, and that we’ve decided that cost-wise caring for kids isn’t scalable but imprisoning them (which is much more expensive) is.
He declared education to be the social service equivalent of Katrina and said that if you don’t save the kids in your community, they won’t be saved. The authorities don’t have a plan and they don’t expect us to care.
After reciting his powerful poem “Don’t Blame Me,” Geoffrey made some powerful points in the Q&A:
- Institutions (like the Church) often lose sight of their mission and cling to their traditions instead
- For a lot of these battles we won’t taste the victory, but we need to do it anyway
- Churches are the only ones who teach forgiveness – we need to be out there forgiving kids for what they do. No one is doing it so they don’t have a path to salvation.
As according to custom, Andy Stanley closed out the conference with a very practical talk, this one on creating high-performance teams. He said we need to study what works, not just what doesn’t, because if we don’t know why something is working we won’t be able to fix it when it breaks.
In short, to have a high-performing team you need action-oriented people who have extraordinary clarity over the what, why, and how.
For such a team, he said you need to recruit doers, not thinkers, because it’s easier to educate a doer than to activate a thinker. You need to put them in the right seat on the bus and make sure they understand how what they do impacts what others do, so they know how essential they are.
You have to clarify and communicate the win, which must be something they can control and will become magnetic north for doers.
Any conversations about change must begin by casting vision for the preferred future – people won’t let go of what they have until they know where you’re taking them.
You must organize around the “what” you’re trying to accomplish and allocate the lion share of time and resources to it. You must also create terminology around the “why,” which is where the inspiration is.
You must orchestrate and evaluate everything, eliminating discretion at the operating level, which will actually make it feel more, not less, personal. You must evaluate formally and systematically, creating a feedback loop. And you must identify the mission-critical events in your organization and stay close to them, otherwise you’ll end up focusing on numbers, which don’t tell the whole story.
And if you start this process, you’ll attract better people.
All in all, Andy’s session was extremely helpful as I think about revamping our Coaching system. Thanks to one of my coaches, I’d already been made aware that I need to clarify the win for coaching.
Before Andy’s session, emcee Chris Seay gave us the following homework assigments:
- How will you use your creative gift more and better?
- Listen to the Holy Spirit: I will _________________________
- What’s the one thing you need to begin to respond to?
In the next few days (hopefully), I’ll do one final post answering these questions (to the extent I’m willing to make those answers public) and boiling everything down to a few key takeaways I need to implement.