11 November 2013 by Jason Law CM –
One of the way Christians can make a positive impact in the world is through being leaders of influence and caliber, potent enough to be environment-changers and life-transformers. Seeing a vision for this, Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church, the third largest church in the United States, started the Global Leadership Summit Seminar in 1992. Until today, the annual leadership conference is still going strong, and 2013’s convention attracted more than 175,000 church leaders from more than 14,000 churches and 90+ dominations, and more than 100+ countries. 2013 included 14 more new countries, and the Malaysian leg of the conference took place at Agape Gospel Assembly, Seremban, on the 4th and 5th of November. A total of 47 Malaysian Churches and Organisations took part.
The conference itself started at 9am on both days, but the church was already full by 8.30am. The whole conference consisted of 8 sessions, and included some of the top Christian leaders in the world. For 2013’s conference, the leaders included Bill Hybels and;
- the former Secretary of State for the US Gen Colin Powell;
- Dr Henry Cloud, famous author of Boundaries;
- Chris Brown, pastor of North Coast Church, the largest Evangelical Free church in the world;
- Joseph Grenny, top best-selling author of Influencer,
- Liz Wiseman, author of the best-selling Multipliers;
- Bob Goff, author of the renowned Love Does,
- Mark Burnett, director of the hit TV series The Bible
- Oscar Muriu, pastor of Nairobi Chapel, one of Kenya’s most influential churches
The format ranged from interviews conducted between Hybels and guest speakers, as well as teachings direct from the authors’ best-selling books and their life experiences from backgrounds as diverse as top government to business, to church leadership. Topics ranged from courage to wisdom to influence.
Each talk was conducted through video telecast, but these were vibrant and interactive. The segment that complete each session was the hands-on discussion between different leaders from different churches all over Malaysia. Each talk was divided into subtopics, and relevant discussion questions were given for them. We all came from different backgrounds and denominations, and some even came from different countries like Cambodia and Singapore, but we found that we shared many commonalities, and we learnt different perspectives from each other as well as sharing some of our leadership experiences and struggles. Canaanland provided materials on sale based from each session, and these were snapped up in no time.
One thing I remember from the Mark Burnett session is that he said creating a Christian production does not give us the excuse to do sloppy work. This was evidenced in some performances that the participants also got to see. Besides the talk, there were also a great time of Worship before each session, and performances from some of the most talented Christian artists in the world. There was a comedian Michael Jr, who has a huge following on FaceBook, musicians, and one of the most memorable performances for me was William Close and his Earth Harp.
William Close invented the Earth Harp by himself. It was huge and the strings from both halves of the harp stretched from the stage to the balconies, and yet, the sound was sublime and resonant. I have always felt that there was something spiritual about stringed instruments and William Close’s performance really brought this home with impact. The amount of strength he must have needed just to play the instrument itself must have been amazing. Besides the American performers, there were also performances by local hit artists like Enoch Fernando.
What I found different about this leadership conference is the focus on building character, and leaving a legacy for your followers rather than making your first million or building as many companies as possible. The speakers all have the wisdom that in order for a church, company, or organization to grow, there need to be first of all a long-lasting, healthy, environment in which the organization is allowed to grow. They realize the need for courage during times of organizational difficulty, and the need for courage in admitting and facing these difficulties in front of the whole organization. They taught us that an organization is built on the strengths of its workers and followers and is not a sole project of the leader. We learnt so many things, but they were all centered inwards towards character building, and outwards towards making a positive transformation in our environment.
What I loved most of all is the friendship I found through the conference, some of which are longer-lasting than the conference itself. We were all truly blessed by the Global Leadership Summit 2013.
There will be some articles written about a few of the sessions in this year’s conference. Next year’s Global Leadership Summit will take place on the 6th and 7th of October 2014.
References for pictures