Session 3 opened with instrumental music with guitar, cello, dejembe, and piano.
Bill Hybels is speaking at the Church of the Resurrection Leadership Institute.
Bill opened up by giving Adam quite a few compliments. He said, “Adam asked me if I believe in free speech. I said yes. Adam said, ‘Will you come to Kansas City and giv one?’”
The 5 Greatest Lessons that Bill has Learned in Leadership Over the Past 35 Years
If I were on my deathbed, and someone asked me about leadership, I would say:
Taking people from here to there.
Vision is a picture of the future that produces passion in people.
Vision is not your service schedule.:)
“Without a vision, the people perish (they die a little on the inside to your leadership. They lose the sparkle in their eye. They start attending your church mechanically. They ask, “Why do we do this every week?”
A lack of vision bothers business people in your church. They can’t compete without a crystal clear vision.
What I’ve learnmed recently is that the first thing I have to do is to make it impossible to stay where we are. “Here” has become terrible, unbiblical, unjustifiable. Start by saying, “We can’t stay here.”
For the 3 years leading up to the “I Have a Dream” speech, MLK had convinced as people as possible that “we can’t stay here.” Then, he said, “We could go there.”
Convince people that we can’t stay here.
Bill talked about his experience of church as a child that sang songs about transformation and life change but nothing ever happened.
Give reasons why, “We have no choice but to be done with here.” But, after we work really hard, someday we’ll be there, and it will feel like this, smell like this, be like this, and yoou will be so proud of what God is doing in this church.”
Every time you make a little progress, you have to celebrate! “We’re part way to there, and it’s huge!”
Vision leaks. There’s a hole in the bottom of everyone’s vision bucket.
The peope in your church have real lives. They don’t remember everything you say forever.:)
You don’t beat the sheep for forgetting.
Use creative redundancy to remind people at least monthly of the vision.
Preach the vision and then hold post-service meetings to refill everybody’s vision bucket. I won’t beat them up. I’ll just recast the vision.
Vision is the most powerful weapon in the leader’s arsenal.
Vision is paiting a picture of the future that puts passion in people.
2. Get the people in your church engaged.
Nehemiah 4:6, “And the people worked with all their hearts.”
Huge difference between someone who agrees with the vision and somsone who owns the vision.
Great leaders understand the power of ownership of the vision.
When each member of the team feels like they have skin in the game, when they have access ot the leader, when their opinions matter.
Bill said that his father built several successful businesses, but no pastor ever engaged his dad. He died without ever feeling the thrill of a God-honoring vision.
My dad would have had to sense that a pastor was totally committed to the vision. He would have never gotten involved with a small vision. he would have a needed a hige, high-risk vision. if you have small, safe, santitized visions, small, sanitized people sign up for them.
He would have needed to be asked, probably more than once, and by a senior leader. Our highest capacity people stay on the sidelines until I take them to lunch and say, “I know you have a lot of responsibilties, but I need you. if you would help me, we could make real progress. Will you pray about it?” I have asked people 4-5 times.
He would have needed a crsytal clear idea and some latitude. He would have wanted feedback.
He would have recruited 15 franchise players into the local church, and that church would have been changed.
Bill had one volunteer for several building construction projects totaling $100 million. He was emotional because it was done; he was so excited about leading teh projects because he thought buildings buildings was the only thing he could do for God.
High capacity people will own the vision to to their toes.
3. Make your gatherings memorable.
Create great church services. Work so hard trying to make you gatherings memorable that you’e people wouldn’t think of missing your gatherings, and they would regret not inviting their friends.
Acts 2:43 “a sense awe”
Awe- holy moments, God is working so powerfully that you can feel it in the air.
A pastor in London asked anyone in the mediacl profession to stand. He asked members of the congregation to look at them and pray for them. Then the pastor led in a prayer for them. How do you think people who work in medicine felt the next day?
When some staff junk was taking place, I went to a small Africa-American church alone, and an older lady sat down at teh organ and played, “It’s me, Lord, Standing in the Need of Prayer.” I realize that it was me who needed prayer.
People come into your church saying, “Don’t leave me the way you found me when I walked through those doors.”
Design services in whcih peolpe can feel the touch of God somehow, some way.
Not manufactured passion, yeller louder, or sweating more.
Break your backside in the weeks before services to create worship experiences, on your knees prayerfully, “God, what can we do on this upcoming weekend that will wreck people?”
Willow brought in a guy to pain the way he had sinned in the 30 days since the last Communion- dark, bold colors. Music is playing that dramtizes that. Then, the mood switched to painting and playing music about how God cleans us. Then everyone took Communion.
Meet with creative people on your worship creation team.
Your gatherings matter! They determine if people are going to be touched by God or not!
4. Pace yourself for the long haul.
1 Cor. 9:25 “run to win the prize”
I read “The Ultra Marathon Man”
Pacing is everything in distance running. Not too fast, not too slow. Establish your absolute best pace that will give you a shot at winning.
I never thought I would make it to Willow’s 25th anniversary. I started out way too fast. I hit a wall of exhaustion. I hurt myself deeply and considered “leaving the race.” I went to a Christian counselor. I’m burning bas fuel. I’m trying to please people, and I’m trying to understand why.
I spent four years in counseling.
Willow will celebrate their 36th anniversary soon. I would not be in the race were it not for that four year era in which I sought help from a counselor.
You’re know you’re running too fast when you’re prayers are just cries for help.
I know what it’s like to say, “I can’t keep this up, but if I stop, it will all come crashing down.”
People who have their humility to go talk to someone usually find help and experience some kind of healing.
On Willow’s 35th anniversary, Bill took 4 people on vaction who helped him start the church. One guy asked, “Why couldn’t our next 5 years be the best 5?”
5. Pay attention to whispers from God.
What’s happened in my life could be reduced to one word, “whisper.”
My dad had a plan for me until I heard the whisper from God to leave the family business and help a friend in a youth ministry. I knew that if I obey this whisper, I will destroy my father.
I went in to talk with my dad, and my dad asked, “Who told you to do this?” It came in the form of a whisper. “You’re betting the farm on a whisper?” Yes. “Well, it better be right.”
I left the company with nothing, and I remember thinking, “I just bet the whole farm of my life on a whisper. I better be right.”
I got another whisper, “Start a church in a movie theater.” Really?
The services did not go well at first. It took two years to see the kind of fruit we had hoped for.
That started with a whisper.
The Willow Creek Association started with a whisper.
The new care center that will feed thousands of hungry people started with a whisper.
You’re here today in this room because of a whisper. How is it that you wound up here? You got a whisper.
Whispers really, really matter. Whispers lead people to God. Whispers lead people to serve. Whispers matter.
Quiet your life so that you can hear them. Discern them carefully to make sure they’re from God. Then, when you’re sure they’re from God, obey them no matter what.
The local church is the hope of the world.
Adam then interviewed Bill for a few minutes.
AH: How do you listen for the whisper?
BH: I make it a part of my daily spiritual practices- reading Scripture, pray, journal, include a listening portion for 4-5 minutes with a journal out. “God, do you want to affirm anthing to me?” Now, I’m going to go to work, but I’m going to keep one ear open all day.”
I believe people get whispers in direct proportion to how much they want to hear God’s voice.
AH: What does your daily spiritual discipline look like?
BH: Mine is unique to me. I’m a morning guy, so I start in the morning. I have energy and clarity at 6am. I read Scripture on a Bible reading plan. I journal application from the Scripture, I write out my prayers, because I can’t stay focused on my prayers. Then I read my prayers to God. Then, I listen and write down what I am sensing.
It’s often people-related, “Jack need your affirmation today. He’s been working hard. encourage him.” Sometimes I need to apologize to someone.
I make a promise to God everyday. God, I want to keep this conversation going all day long. Please speak to me thoughout the day.
Do this whenever you have the most energy. Do what works for you.
AH: Tell us about reinventing and church lifecycle.
BH: Bill drew a lifecycle curve diagram. We don’t put all of Willow on teh graph, because each part is in a differen place in the lifecycle.
A recent small group idea tanked in 18 months. I met with Willow people in a post-service meeting to describe the tanking. He apologized and invited people to vent about the ministry. People vented for 45 minutes.
60 days later, Bill had another meeting and decribed the new small group plan.
This has been true of every ministry at Willow. Nothing rocks forever.
Ex. The minute weekend programming starts to get stale, we do a 2-day offsite retreat and reinvent.
Willow only had volunteers for the first 3 years.
Assess these 3 areas on the lifecycle curve:
1. Weekend gathering.
Admit where they are. It’s an idictment on your leadership if you don’t talk about it.
2. Kids ministry and student ministry
Whose willing to volunteer to resurrect our childrens and student ministry?
Adam closed by praying for Bill that his best years of ministry would be ahead of him..