Friday, August 07, 2009

Day Two of the Leadership Summit

Off to Day Two of The Leadership Summit sponsored by Willow Creek. Today's summit will conclude with a talk from Bono. Stay tuned for more live blogging. We're also Twittering and you can follow the Twittering by Summit participants by clicking here.

Focusing on the Fringe - Reaching the misfits reaches the world. Dave Gibbons is giving an excellent talk called Thinking Forward: Third Culture Leadership. He defines the Third Culture as the misfits, those on the fringe because in fact if you reach the misfits, you actually reach the world. I think this very true - being somewhat a misfit myself, the resident "Luna Lovegood" around here, this is very true. It's not the bigwigs of society that change the world, it's the misfits. Jesus picked twelve of them, I'm thinking - that ought to be a clue.

We don't need more visionaries, we need more relationaries, Dave Gibbons says. He says we lead by failure, by being transparent about our failures. The world does not understand America's success, he says, but they can understand failure.

That's turning the idea of success upside down.

In the past 70% was spent on sermon preparation and programs, but now he's turned it around and spends 70% of the time of developing leaders, of investing in relationships, having an open door. The best discipleship happens with life on life, not by taking classes, he says. And hanging out with people not like himself. So he moved his office from a safe place to a non-safe place.

  • Priority shifts - swapping the 70%
  • Let local leaders lead
  • Focus on fringe
  • Obedience is more important than passion - Jesus didn't feel like going to cross
How to make it work:
  • Deeper Collaboration - working with the city, working with multiple churches, region, national, international, come together as the body of Christ
  • Communal Living - living together, families live together, no necessarily in the same house but the same neighborhood and hang out together
  • Prayer - It's all about prayer, movements are all about prayer, believing in the power of the Holy Spirit
  • Radical Sacrifice - dying to material possessions of our life, move to another culture, radical sacrifice.

He ends by sharing his own story which is riviting, of being born in Korea and coming to America and finding the American dream and seeing that dream crash, his story is not fringe, it happens every day if we have eyes to see it.

We are now hearing from Wess Stafford, President of Compassion International, who is giving his heartfelt and moving personal testimony. Compassion is one of the world's largest Christian child development agencies, partnering with more than 65 denominations and thousands of local churches in order to serve more than one million children in 24 countries. My own parish of Truro has been deeply involved with Compassion International for many years with our TOUCH outreach program.

David Gergen is now being interviewed by Bill Hybels on leadership. You can teach principles of leadership but you can't make a leader any more than an art teacher can make a Picasso.

Can leaders actually learn and get better, Bill Hybels asks, how actually does a leader get better at leading. Some people are born with leadership gifts and some have the makings of leading, but you have to learn to get better. Gergen says be a reflective practitioner, not just by doing it but by reading and reflecting. Not every reader is a leader, but every leader is a reader. Asking, where did I go wrong? What did I do right? Take the time to reflect. You have to be willing to wrestle.

Most admirable qualities of the four presidents he worked with:

Nixon: Best strategist he ever met, could look into the future and see how history was going to fold and try to bend history.
Ford: Most decent president he ever worked for, did not have to keep your back to the wall.
Reagan: The best leader in the White House since Franklin Roosevelt, principled man, but he also had a contagious optimism about life, always believed you could get to a higher place and we can make it, it encourages everyone to go. Gifted communicator. Seven presidents in a row who were WWII presidents, all war the uniform, had common understanding of sacrifice and a sense of humor; if you can laugh together, prayer together you can work together. Sometimes the right hand does not know what the far right hand is doing - laughter helps.
Clinton: Very bright, quick tactical mind, would do the New York Times crossword puzzle while having meetings in the Oval Office, but he was resilient. Tragic figure in many ways, but always willing to get back up.

Dealing with the dark side, the weaknesses:

Nixon: Good to read Machiavelli first; when he trusted you he brought you closer in and took off the veils, there is a very dark side here too; there were those who appealed to his bright side and those who appealed to his dark side; he was good and decent but he had demons he could not control;
Ford: With the niceness came naive. Politics is a rough sport; Jimmy Carter suffered some of this as well.
Reagan: Weakness was his detachment; even when you are away you have to keep your hands on the wheel, when he a good team around him great White House, but it went off the tracks when he did not; then brought back a great team that put it back on track - so detachment for Reagan. You've got to keep an eye on what's going on, not just turn it over to other people.
Clinton: There was a parallel with Nixon, Nixon had a fundamental character question that came back to haunt him and so did Clinton; he made grievous mistakes, he should have come clean and asked for forgiveness.

Great leaders carry with them great flaws, says Bill Hybels and asks Gergen if this is true. Not all great leaders are great flaws, for example Jesus. "All of us are flawed," says Gergen and maturity is coming to grip with those flaws. The challenge is to integrate our flaws, to recognize we have flaws and come to grips with that. A lot of people are not going to conquer their flaws but have them under control so they don't railroad you, don't hurt other people.

How do you bring alignment between public behavior and private life, Gergen asks. The military puts a lot of attention on this. People who can be very good public leaders have pretty messy private lives - how do we reconcile it? Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the great moral leaders of this time. And yet, he had private life where he was a sinner, a chaotic private life. How do you square his public and private life. The answer was that he tried to keep his private life in line with his public life, he was always struggling and said he was a sinner. His biographer said that he knew that he was a sinner and in atonement for that he took more risks in his public life than he would have been otherwise.

We should be more forgiving and less invasive of people's private life, knowing that people are flawed, but demanding accounting in their public life.

I guess my question is that if this is compartalmentlizing between what is "public" and what is "private" - I wonder?

It is not lonely at the top, says David Gergen. The day of a Lone Ranger as a leader are over. Leaders today get the best results when they have great teams, when they build great teams of leaders. Empower people to inspire others. The leader needs to learn how to partner, how to collaborate with others.

The importance of symbolism, like Ghandi's clothes and Reagan's horse. Leadership is about trust and communication through language, but also symbolic things, symbols matter to people - wear your brand. Churchill and his "V" for Victory sign gave people hope and inspiration. Ghandi was a lawyer and changed his clothes to emphasize simplicity with a spinning wheel. Reagan on his horse, Marborough Man in our culture - it was authentic with Reagan, nothing so good as the inside of a man as the outside of a horse, Gergen quotes Reagan.

Communication - speaches take place within a context, not within a vacuum. People bring questions about the speaker themselves, not just what they say. Who the speaker is speaks as loudly as anything he or she says. The willingness to listen to them is the ability to trust them.

Logos, Ethos, Pathos

Ethos - belief and credibility of the person
Logos - logic of the speech
Pathos - the emotion, to appeal to reason and their emotions

There should be a rhythm to that. A speech should be 15-20 mintues. The flow should be - establish your ethos first, why they should listen to you; then introduce emotion, to open up personally and then message should be the reasoned-part of your speech, the logos. The end should return to the pathos, the emotional appeal and inspire them to do things, a call for action. To go from "come let us think" to "come let us march."

The best leaders have regular habits - self discipline on who you are as a person, physically fit, easy to lead when things are going well, but hard to lead when things get difficult, built time into the day to be with people you cherish, social and loving relationships, have a pattern in your life.

Gergen looks for inner peace in church, looking for something larger community and a sense of well-being, and learn something from the preaching and from the reading of scripture.

Gergen says that for leaders today their spiritual foundation is important to them - it helps them find their moral compass. Clinton understood the world, but did not understand his moral compass. He is working to try to be better, but a moral compass is important to the students and church is where the moral compass is nourished, to have good anchors in life, you want to achieve certain personal goals and your ego can get very large and it can get so inflated and you become arrogant and think that the rules do not apply to you, flying to close to the sun. Religion gives you an anchor, faith, family and friends remind you that not everything is in your hands.

We're not going to change the world so much as we want to be the change we want to see.

LUNCHTIME - I'm here at Bryon's Grill in Fairfax. We have a mob from Truro here - they are in the next room and I'm up at the bar with the laptop. Bryon's is much as the Cafe is - except they have a salad bar. I don't think the Cafe has a salad bar, but maybe we should get one.

I've run into old friends - one was Jim Hagan who used to go to Truro until The Troubles broke out in 2003 and he and his family left to join an AMiA church in DC. One of the wonderful developments of the ACNA is we are all back in the same family again. He's working with folks over at George Mason University developing outreaches to the college students. He caught me up on the church plants that are in the area, including in Clarenton which is on this side of the Potomac.

I also ran into Tom Simmons, rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Purceville. He also used to go to Truro in his pre-ordained days (and that's been more years than I care to mention) and I can remember when a gang of young adults (back in the day) would head up to Ireland's Own in Old Town on Thursday nights to sing the Alligator Song and eating fries with vinegar and wait for one of our gang who was a piper in the Alexandria Piping Band come in after their Thursday night rehearsal - the entire band actually would march out of their rehearsal and march down the streets of Old Town into Ireland's Own, playing the bagpipes all the way. Tom would be in the corner with his cigar - should I have mentioned that - and swapping stories with British-born Truro intern at that time Andrew Payne. Andrew is now a captain in England's Church Army and serving in Sri Lanka. Yes, that Sri Lanka. Tom got to move to Loundon County.

Rather fun to run into both Episcopal and AMiA folks with this mob I'm with from Truro. Good times. The fun begins again in about a half hour. Zoom!

AFTERNOON SESSION: How to change when change is hard is the topic up next.

4:00 p.m. - The next person up to speak is Bono. Bill Hybels is now explaining how he met Bono, that Bono called him. He said that Bono could not figure out why most churches were not aiding those who were suffering global poverty. Has he seen any differences in the church's response to global poverty.

We're seeing a film that Bono is doing the voice over with. He's talking about global poverty while showing clips of man landing on the moon. One small step for man ...

We're now seeing a performance on video of Magnificent.

As someone who has completely gotten off on the church, you have completely ruined it for me, Bono is saying. The church is in the lead, Bono tells Bill Hybels. Bono's looking a bit old. I guess his work is really showing on his face.

He says that when he does When The Streets Have No Name, God walks into the room. He finds the lyrics annoying, that he never finished the lyric, but there's something about the song that just touches people. He wrote the lyrics in Ethiopia twenty years ago and he'd forgotten. As the mist lifted, people who walked all through the night and put their children down to die or were dead adn that was the streets with no name, in Africa.

Intuition is better than intellect, Bono says. "U2s biggest workout is when we don't know what we're doing."

We're hearing amazing stories on how churches have met Bono's challenge to help the impoverished - pastors riding to the challenge including one church raising a half a million dollars.

Why did it take a rock star, asks one pastor?

Did it surprise you months ago when the financial crisis - did it surprise you that the governments could find billions to rescue businesses and not for aid? What does that say? It says that in a crisis we can find these sums of money and that we really believe that someone begging for their life in a far off place is not a crisis, says Bono.

Hybels asks why Bono stays far-off from the church. He finds that frustrating - it seems like you alliagance to it would be higher than it is, it seems contradictory. Bono says he fears denominalization and Bill says you fear so few things in your life I find it fearful. Bono says his father was catholic and his mother was protestant in Ireland, he feels comfortable in both. If he's in New York he goes to St. Patrick's and when he's in the south he goes to Baptist, and when he goes to London he goes to Anglican, and when he's in California he goes to Saddleback. When he finds it hard to take is a lifeless ceremony. It doesn't have to be a charismatic preacher, it doesn't have to be the most supernatural teaching - but a place where everyone is welcome no matter what they look like or how they act - that's where he feels comfortable. People don't want things to be too complicated, they want you to be honest and what's going on in your life that week and then apply it.

The church tends to separate itself from people, says Bono. That's not grace, grace defines that which is in common. Whenever I see grace I am moved by God, he says.

Do you ever want to lay it down, Bill Hybels says, just bailing and being a rock star? It got very bad a few summers ago, says Bono. He was waking across Central Park and giving up on these fanciful ideas. There was a guy sitting on a park bench talking to people going by. He's selling vintage New York Times. He pulls up a copy Man Lands On Moon - and Bono bought them all. You should be surprise that it's hard, this is a journey to equality, it's not charity, it's a journey to equality. So where does it stop, this ongoing journey for equality? Is it someone from another denomination, is that where your sphere of empathy ends, Bono asks?

A few years ago he saw two mothers and their kids, two families and he felt angry and it made it get him out of bed. When politicians say they are cutting aid, they have faces, they are people. Our moon shot, our man on the moon, that's our moon shot, ending extreme poverty. I believe in 50 years that they will look back on this moment and see people who said it's not okay for a child to die, it's not okay.

And it ends with Magnificent.

I was born, I was born
To be with you in this space and time
After that and ever after
I haven't had a clue only to break rhyme
This foolishness can leave a heart black and blue, oh, oh

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar

I was born, I was born to sing for you
I didn't have a choice but to lift you up
And sing whatever song you wanted me to
I give you back my voice from the womb
My first cry, it was a joyful noise, oh, oh

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar
Justified, till we die you and I will magnify, oh, oh
Magnificent, magnificent, oh, oh

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love unites our hearts
Justified, till we die you and I will magnify, oh, oh
Magnificent, magnificent, magnificent


Bill Hybels is issuing the challenge that the most important thing to do - beyond all the leadership skills - we must work with the poor, to do something, get it on our radar screen and the clarity of which Jesus talks about this and the Spirit will guide you. God you lead me the next step, you show me how, dare to make mis-steps to see the great adventure that we and our church will play. I know this is the case for us at Truro, where the Mayor of Fairfax City has been trying to shut down our Love the World Fellowship. It is hard - it's very hard. But one thing I'm learning is that God put Love the World Fellowship at Truro, that was His doing. The parish was cited by the city for feeding "charity meals" in our Undercroft, something that's gone on for fifty years but only now has there been an issue. Why? Why would the city want to shut down Love the World Fellowship when people's lives are being transformed, not only in Love the World Fellowship but in the whole fellowship of Truro. Please pray as the Mayor contemplates taking a recent ruling by the Board of Zoning that was in Truro's favor and having the City Council take steps to elevate this issue to the next level, leading to lawsuits to shut down Love the World Fellowship, a community that reaches out the homeless in Fairfax. 200 men, women, and children come to Truro on Sundays for meals they serve themselves and a time of worship and ministry. Lives are being changed - in ways we never would have imagined. Please pray. Bono's message hits so close to home.


Faith McDonnell said...

I don't know the Alligator Song, but I've heard Pat Troy lead people in the Unicorn Song at Ireland's own. :)

Unknown said...

That's the one! ;-)

There was green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants,
but sure as you're born
The loveliest of all was the unicorn


Chazaq said...

"Why would the city want to shut down Love the World Fellowship"

Because Love the World Fellowship is primarily hispanics and black people.

Martha V. said...

Mary - You always post such great music vids. Perhaps you'd enjoy using this one at some point, even though generically it's just such a beautiful song. First link is to the Il Divo vid and song, second is to the Spanish and English lyrics:

Carolina Anglican said...

Dear Baby Blue,

Thank you so much for hosting your blog. My faith and my church have had a very hard time with all that's been going on in TEC. Your blog has been a principled, but positive voice of reason within this storm and it helps me feel less alone in the Anglican world. I check it every evening first thing.

I know that blogs are a lot of work, but want you to know that what you do means a lot to me.

Thanks, -T. Bell Granite Falls, NC