Jesus said, “I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built.”
I’ve just returned from clergy conference, an opportunity for priests and deacons to gather in friendship, consider a new idea or two, and worship without leadership responsibilities. And in a session we called “the fireside chat,” they graciously engaged with me as I shared what’s on my heart and mind as your bishop.
I’ll soon send follow up letter to all clergy, and in the next few weeks I’ll also write in my blog on a variety of issues all loosely under the theme: building our house on solid rock–the practical foundations of healthy ministry. Next week, as a head’s up, I’m going to write about the need for house cleaning, decluttering, and, among other things, replacing rusty “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You” signs. Between now and then, you might want to walk around your church with fresh eyes.
Today I extend an invitation to all who wish to join me and members of diocesan staff on August 10-11 for an inspiring and affordable two-day conferences on leadership: The Global Leadership Conference. Sponsored by Willow Creek Church, the Global Leadership Conference is simulcast at churches around the world, so that people like us can attend without significant travel costs. Moreover, the summit brings in some of the finest leaders from many fields and disciplines, with the express purpose of helping leaders improve and grow.
This year’s faculty includes: Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative; Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church; Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook; Immaculee Ilibagiza, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide and global advocate for peace and forgiveness, and many more.
There are several host sites in our area. The one I’ve attended is First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Landover, MD. The cost is modest: if we register between now and May 23 as a group, the individual cost is $149. If you would like to register as a part of the diocesan group, please email Mitchell Sams by May 22. As the conference draws closer, the cost will rise, but never beyond $209 per person.
I have attended the leadership summit for the last two years. While I didn’t find every speaker helpful, I’ve come away each time spiritually uplifted, with insights and understandings that have improved my leadership. I’ve also gained access to a library of video presentations on leadership topics that I can review and share with others.
Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek said this at the first summit I attended: “When leaders improve, everybody wins.” He also said that one goal all leaders can set is to improve our leadership 5% a year.
Imagine the cumulative impact in our churches and communities we serve if we all set ourselves to improve our leadership, as those called not only to know and love Jesus, but also to invite others into relationship with him, to love as he loves, and to work for his kingdom on earth.