Friday, October 30, 2009
Last week the GLS was held in 22 cities, 10 countries and in 8 different languages. This week the GLS will reach leaders in 12 cities and 9 countries. Below you'll find a run-down of where we'll be.
Welkom, South Africa
October 31-November 1
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Stay tuned for updates about the powerful ministry we expect to see as we serve these international church leaders.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
We have just completed GLS Perth, Western Australia – not without our challenges!
First off, on day one, there was a bit of a scurry just before afternoon tea. I was wondering why the event team were not getting to their stations for the break...unaware that they were trying to coax a 6 ½ foot King Brown snake out of the prayer room!
Then, on the beginning of day two, I arrived at the venue at 7.30am to join the volunteers for breakfast, I was greeted by slightly concerned staff letting me know the power had gone off 15 minutes earlier do to high winds and downed power poles. The supplier was expecting from 2-4 hour delays. We waited. By 9am, 250 delegates had arrived and no hope of power soon. The Arts team quickly brought bongos and acoustic guitars into the foyer to build an atmosphere to relax people. At 9.30 we gathered the delegates in a very dimly emergency-lit auditorium to explain further and have a time of prayer and acoustic worship.
At that point, a pastor came to us to say he had a portable projector, speakers and generator within a 30 minute drive from the venue....would we like his equipment? Yes!!!! This man was not even booked into the conference and had just come for the day to help. Isn't it great when God knows our needs before we do! Delegates were sent to places all over the venue to use their workbooks to process the issues from the day before. Tim Keller had been hugely impacting, so they were keen to talk and share their insights. Phone calls were made, the Event Manager rang and ordered a coffee cart to come, morning tea cakes were dished out...and all seemed calm. I sat with the Producer and we re-scheduled Day Two.
Praise God, soon generator-powered system was installed and we were up and running. The rest of the day ran smoothly, we adjusted for the time loss, and the delegates were extremely pleased with the calm response from everyone involved. During the volunteer moment at the end...there was a thunderous applause for all...especially the I.T. team who I’m sure aged 5 years in the process!
This year an AOG church in Perth brought their Senior Pastor and entire team. After the Summit, a couple days later, I bumped into their Executive Pastor. We began chatting about the GLS and she mentioned the power outage on day two. I began to apologise to her and hoped it hadn’t put a damper’on the Summit for her. However, she cut me off and said how much she valued that time. She mentioned that their entire team had gone to a quiet place and had sat for the hour and a half and had formulated a brand new mission strategy...completed! She said that she can't remember ever leaving a conference with a strategy in place and the team all on board!
I am constantly overwhelmed by the way God goes before us in every aspect of our global events...a reliance on him is a ‘must’ as we work together to see leaders strengthened all over our world!
Monday, October 26, 2009
As you can tell, our teams do an amazing job of telling the story of their culture. We are so proud of the work they do.One of the highlights of the Summit was the immense creativity of the Agape Drama and Art Ministry Teams. I was blown away by their creativity. During the third session break, the team members were disguising themselves and acting out at different corners which took many by surprise. In fact I thought these acts were real. I saw a young mother yelling and scolding at a boy; a woman went about collecting garbage; a drunkard totally lost himself in the crowd; and I was actually approached by a young and seductively dressed prostitute asking me if I was lonely and needed company!All these took place right before the public’s eyes during the break. Had I not been told by someone that these were drama people, I really would have thought to myself, “Who are these people? Why are they found in the Summit?” Then they all appeared in chains on the stage before the start of the last session by Wess Stafford. With the spotlight shinning on each of them by turn, one by one began to share about their deep seated pains and hurts.
If I wasn’t busily taking pictures of all of them, I would have been moved to tears by their stories… They were so good! They actually set us up for Wess Stafford’s session on “Leveraging Your Past”. People could immediately connect to Stafford’s message after seeing their acts. At the closing, Ben invited people who need God’s healing to come forward. I was one of those walking up crying my heart out to God!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Often when we are in discussions with potential donors or with organizing committee members in a country, we hear comments such as, “For the GLS, don’t you just put a DVD into a player, press the ‘play’ button and watch it?” or “Wow! Why is the GLS so expensive? What can cost so much? It’s really just a DVD conference.” Let us give you a glimpse into the process we go through each year in a relatively short timeframe, between the US Summit in August and the GLS events being held as early as October and through November of the same year.
It all starts with getting the script of a Leadership Summit speaker’s presentation. At the original presentation at Willow Creek, we have six court reporters who write down every word a speaker says. When they are done, it is forwarded to an editor who makes sure that it is understandable and has made the necessary corrections to enable the message to flow appropriately. These texts are then used for three purposes: developing learning aids, translating the material, and producing the printed version of the talks.
First of all, a set is sent to a group of people who are learning experts. They examine the presentation for specific learning points which will be used in a workbook for each GLS participant. These workbooks are then used at the GLS during the processing time as well as later when churches use the material for further training. Once these workbook lay outs are completed, they are sent to various countries around the world for translation and production.
Another set is sent to any countries which will require translation to translate the sessions and other elements of the Summit into their own vernacular. This year we will translate all the Summit content into 29 languages. This includes common European languages, as well as Russian, Chinese, Malay, Faeroese (do you know where that is spoken?), Icelandic, Estonian, and Polish, just to name a few. Depending upon how the translation will be included in the DVD, whether by voice-over or sub-titles, a lot more work must go into adjusting the translation to fit the particular requirements for either of those delivery methods. Sub-titles can only use about 80% of the words; voice-over necessitates the spoken translation to fit with the original delivery in English.
Then, once the translation work is completed, it has to be included in the DVD for use at the conference. This requires quite a bit of technology, whether voice-over or sub-titles and we work dozens of vendors around the world to make that happen. After a thorough quality check, the DVDs are produced in the particular format for a given country, which is NSTC, PAL, and Secam. Because the sessions are also sold to anyone wishing to buy them, thousands of Team Editions (12,000 units this year) are being produced, labeled, packaged and sent to each country. And remember, the workbooks and the Team Edition of the DVDs in the translated form must all be ready when the first GLS takes place in some counties already in mid-October. Because of customs regulations and other import challenges, the Team Edition DVD sets are produced locally within a number of countries in relatively small production runs, adding significant costs. Because some countries do not have a wide availability of DVD or even CD players, those countries will actually print the material and hand it out in booklet form to the GLS participants.
Due to the particular needs of various audiences, it is not always effective to use the specific sessions from the latest Summit. Therefore, we go through the archives and select appropriate sessions from what has been presented in the past years. Sometimes that requires editing for certain comments which may be out of date, cultural appropriateness, deterioration of quality, or making sure we have the agreement of the speaker to use it again. For this year, 2009, we have 24 unique versions of the GLS. What complicates matters even more is that for each version different program elements, such as dramas, multi-media elements, and worship music, are required to maximize the impact of the event.
In order to provide an impactful experience for an event lasting two full days, the projections of the DVDs require very high quality equipment, almost comparable to the equipment used in top movie theaters. Consequently, we are using very powerful projection equipment and enormous screen sizes, like 8x12 feet. This section alone could be expanded to fill several pages because to procure projectors and other equipment of the quality we need, as well as the operators who understand all the technology, is a significant challenge in many countries and often very expensive. In some countries, there may be only one or two pieces of equipment of this quality and these may be owned by a TV station or a large corporation and are therefore not available to us. Some may say, “Do you have to go to that extent when it comes to delivery quality?” to this, we can only answer, “Absolutely! It is a gigantic hurdle to have people come to a conference which has no live speakers. One way to overcome that is to have exceptional audio and visual delivery of the presentations.”
At first we had considered merely making the sessions available for purchase so people could buy it and watch it at home rather than holding a conference. However, we abandoned that idea when we discovered that less than 18% actually watch the sessions after purchasing it. Although over 90% of respondents to a survey we conducted in various countries indicated that leadership is one of their greatest development needs, getting people to attend a multi-day conference watching DVDs, even at the outstanding quality we described, is still a challenge. Therefore, we thought of a few other ideas to enhance the experience. One is that we do a guided discussion or process time after most sessions, in order to maximize the learning from each session. When this is well done, it adds incredible value so we spend a considerable amount of time in selecting and training the facilitators who manage that portion of the program. Another thing we do is assure that attendees are served with great excellence, care and professionalism. To achieve that, as well as all the delivery of other production elements of the conference, we conduct training sessions in various regions in the world where everyone involved in a critical discipline of the GLS is properly trained and equipped. As a side benefit of this training, we have been told by many churches that it had a hugely positive impact on the way they do church. The level of excellence, and remember, “Excellence honors God and inspires people.” has markedly increased in all the churches that are involved in the GLS in some way. After looking at all of this, we are sure it will become clear to everyone that the GLS is much more than putting a DVD into a player and pressing “play.” It requires incredible planning and administration skills, people skills and long hours because of the time pressure everyone is under to be ready when the day comes.
This year we will probably offer the GLS in about 160 cities in approximately 60 countries, requiring an overall investment of $4.4 million. Is it worth it? In Russia, some pastors came in a minibus, driving five days and nights one way to attend the event, and begging us to bring it to a city closer to where they live. In another situation, people have to make all the preparations and hold the event very low-key so that the local authorities do not become concerned. In spite of potential serious personal consequences, they are putting on the GLS and reaching hundreds of Christian workers, hungry for leadership development. Let us close with a comment by one attendee about how he was impacted by the GLS. “The church in my country in many ways is still operating as if we were living in the past century. If we don’t change, we will become even more irrelevant than we already are. I can think of no other event that provides the inspiration, skill, and level of excellence that would prepare us to implement the changes necessary to build churches that will reach this generation in ever increasing numbers. I would not miss the GLS for anything and look forward to each event with great anticipation! Please, do not quit offering this vital training to us!”
The GLS is big deal for many, requires a lot of work and funds and there is not doubt that God is using it in amazing ways.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
"As one of the leaders I am going to share the substance of this Summit at our next synod [regional] meeting and challenge us to start the rethinking process from our own synod, then to the general assembly [denomination].
"I was the Founding Director of Research Nigeria Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, 1979-1980. Before then I was the Director of the National Policy Development Centre (Think Tank)1976-1979. Consultant to UNPD, I had a misadventure into politics as a presidential candidate but God used the opportunity to let me see the rot in Nigeria political life.Through all this years I never had a challenging and powerful conference like this one, indeed this is great and inspired by the Holy Spirit.
"As a result of this conference, one of my burdens now is to find ways of influencing political leaders to let their Christianity show in their conduct of public affairs. Thank you so much for the great impacts that this conference has had on me and my wife"
Monday, October 19, 2009
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Sao Goncalo, Brazil
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Prince George, Canada
Thunder Bay, Canada
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Mpumalanga, South Africa
An APPEND loan officer trying to reach the home of a client.
APPEND network staff that were also affected by typhoons contributed money and we also share our clothing with our poor clients. We decided not to spend a single cent for any Christmas party in our offices but rather use this budget for relief and rehab. We learned from the Word of God that “giving” is a privilege of the rich and the poor and if an opportunity “to give” arises we have to grab it and not contemplate on it. We have repacked and distributed relief bags containing noodles, canned goods, mats, towels, drinking water, cleaning items, slippers, off lotion, rice, milk, cooking oil. Other relief bags contain underwears and clothings for those who were not able to salvage any of their clothings. We distributed 8,100 relief bags in Metro Manila and 13,100 in Central and Northern Luzon, Philippines.
From Bracknell, UK:
“We brought our largest team yet to the summit (16 people) and without exception they all loved it. Our leaders, prospective leaders and followers were moved and challenged and they were inspired and motivated to take our leadership and church to the next level.”
-Chris Porter, Easthampsted Baptist Church
"Again and again, the GLS challenges us to look further and reach higher."
-Andrew Darmanin, St. John's Church
From Bristol, UK:
"I met with God and He revealed my future..."
Korin Jones, Divisional Children's Officer
From Cape Town, South Africa:
“I have to admit that I went to the leadership summit last week a little nervous that I would be wasting a Friday of work and a Saturday of family time. I can honestly report that in twenty years of business conferences and many Christian camps and conferences, I have neither been challenged nor informed as broadly nor as deeply as I was at this event."
-Rob Jones, Somerset Baptist Church
I had very little idea of what I was in for as although the people in my growth group have spoken of it I had not even watched the previous DVD. They said it was life changing and I thought yea right…a bunch of people getting together to watch some DVD’s life changing?? Well it most certainly was that for me! I found that each and every one of the talks had huge and wonderful lessons for me to apply to my everyday life, and not only that but they applied to my business life too. Thank you for the best and most profitable and inspiring two days I have ever had!!
-Jenniffer Duke, St. Mathews
"The Global Leadership Summit is such a transformational and awesome experience that will never leave me the same. Thanx for giving my life a lift. A new day has dawn in my life." @gent2smile - Lagos, Nigeria
"So blessed to be part of #globalsummit today in Newcasle, Australia. What
an incredible moving of his spirit. Feeling inspired!"
@clairetwivey - Sydney, Australia
"I attended GLS in Cape Town this weekend past. My first time. Words fail me! Will never miss another one..."
Andries de Vries
And, today and tomorrow, on the other side of the world, Oct 19-20 - The GLS in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is envisioning attendees:
"Global Leadership Summit was absolutely inspiring. Looking forward to Day 2 tomorrow" @tjtee
Check this space again tomorrow for a full run down of where the GLS will be this weekend as GLS season nears its halfway point.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
New Zealand, Auckland
New Zealand, Christchurch
Nigeria, Lagos (2 sites)
South Africa, Cape Town
South Africa, Jeffrey's Bay
United Kingdom, Coventry
United Kingdom, Gerrards Cross
United Kingdom, Poole
As The GLS has progressed across the world, our international leaders have begun to dialogue via twitter as an outlet for their insights and thoughts as they participate. Click #globalsummit to go directly to a search of the official GLS hashtag to see what participants are saying.
This promises to be a life transforming weekend, so be in prayer for the leaders who will attend, that the Holy Spirit would speak to their hearts; encouraging, convicting when necessary, and inspiring these leaders to be the Church in their countries. Most of all, ask God to use The GLS as a vehicle to bring God's Kingdom to earth. Check back here for stories of all that has happened.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
So, we are curious. What are your thoughts about his talk? How will you lead differently because of it? What problems are you up against in your organization that he spoke to? Feel free to share any and all insights you gained in the comments section. Here is one blogger's take and a couple of quotes from his talk to get your juices flowing:
"The world is becoming turbulent faster than most organizations are becoming resilient."
"When an organization misses the future, it's not because it was unknown--it was because it's unpalatable."
"The longer you're down in the trenches, the easier it is to mistake the edge of your rut for the horizon."
So, click below and share away. Lets start a dialogue and learn from each other.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
From Port Elizabeth, South Africa:
“This was a life-changing experience. I am ready to step out of the past…”
“This conference is my third one but by far the most impressive! What struck me as so precious was the message of "make a difference". I have been receiving this message in numerous ways over the past month from God and this weekend, he shouted it to me! I've tasked myself to obey and do what I can, because even one person can make a difference somewhere and somehow!”
And pictures from Durban, South Africa:
Some pictures from the London, Orpington site:
I came into this Summit run a few weeks ago feeling weary. Months of emails, vision-casting, planning, strategising has left me feeling drained and tired at the thought of leading another event.
Today, as Stafford spoke, God began a process of melting and then strengthening. I was facilitating this session and we had a ‘ministry moment’ planned. After Stafford, people were going to be invited to write their burdens down on a small piece of paper they were given as they entered the auditorium for this session, and then come to a cross that had been set up at the front of the stage area and place them there at the feet of Jesus. They would then be able to move to tables/ushers situated around the room to partake in communion. The worship team began to sing ‘Breathe’ and the presence of God settled on us all. It was hard to stand and lead the people in this time as indeed my heart was touched so deeply. I was able to place my burden at the cross and then spend time watching others move all over the auditorium to do the same. The team began to sing ‘Amazing Grace, my chains are gone’ and there was a sense of victory in the room. I felt the Lord reach down and just fill me afresh.
The other facilitator finished the session and dismissed everyone to lunch, yet many of us justsat as the sounds of the worship team and the musicians gently washed over us. There was no hurry to lunch, no rushing to leave this moment where God supernaturally spoke and restored hearts. So often in our roles, we give and give and give. We don’t always have the privilege of the time to withdraw from this...however, we do have the opportunity to engage in the midst of what we do. We can either sit and plan the next thing, checking runsheets, making sure people are ready for the next task...or every now and then we can turn our eyes toward Jesus and allow him to ‘renew us on the run’. The message to me more than ever was about where my heart is when I am leading. If it truly remains on Christ and a readiness for Him to touch my life and the lives of others [in amongst the role I hold] then He becomes my strength. He becomes my motivation. He renews and restores as I serve. I live what I am asking others to do. Only God!
During this ministry moment, I lay burdens at the cross today that I will not pick up again. They belong to the Lord. Different ones knelt, others stood with arms in victory. All different expressions of a God who is alive and strengthening His Kingdom. Praise Him and Him alone.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
From our facebook page:
"Just done two days faciliating the Scottish GLS in Edinburgh - really good days with lots of challenging teaching, great worship and lots to think about!!! Inspiring stuff!!" -David Richards, Scotland
"What can I say? FANTASTIC. Thanks to everyone who made the UK Stafford GLS such an awesome couple of days. Now down to His business!" -Liz Hancock, UK
"Whangarei is the place to be GLS has so much to offer. GOD has a powerful message and Bill Thank you that you are a leader and willing to spread you knowledge and share knowledge with others assisting you." -Linda Scott, New Zealand
From twitter, using #globalsummit:
"Loving the Willow Global Leadership Summit in Stafford" @shuggill, UK
"Forgiveness .. I choose to forgive you .. you took my childhood but you will not have the rest of my life!" @Bevadair, New Zealand
"Amazing and inspiring and repleneshing first session from Bill. Really relevant." @StPaulsCamb, UK
This is just a taste of the life changing work that took place this weekend. We won't know until the other side of Heaven all the stories that God is writing through this event.
Next weekend, October 9-10 promises to be equally as exciting. 6,000 or so expected guests are preparing to arrive at 12 sites for a very impactful experience. Be praying for God to open their hearts in these next several days.
Australia, AdelaideNext, we'll be showcasing a conversation held with Nigeria's The GLS's country leader, Francis Olubambi, about the state of the church in Nigeria, the obstacles the body of Christ faces there, and how the GLS is working to transform the leaders who are able to effect change in this impoverished, sometimes even corrupt and crime-ridden country.
New Zealand, Dunedin
New Zealand, Nelson
Nigeria, Lagos (two sites)
South Africa, Durban
South Africa, Port Elizabeth
UK, London Battersea
UK, St. Albans
Friday, October 2, 2009
God answered our prayers today at the Joburg GLS. We had cloudy skies but the weather was perfect in every way - it was neither warm nor cold! Yea God, you are awesome and you bless us way beyond any prayer we could ever think to pray! ...Within an hour of arrival registration was set up and then 300 volunteers gathered in volunteer central for their final briefing and prayer. There was air of peace and calm among them as they gathered in their serving teams then dispersed to receive our guests. Registration flowed smoothly and happy delegates began gathering in the church foyer waiting to run for the best seats.
Right from the start the delegates engaged fully and responded exuberantly with the Choir Planet opening and the worship set which followed. It was awesome to see 1800 leaders openly responding to God in worship and praise as they prepared their hearts for the sessions of the day. Bill Hybels' talk and the song designed especially for it in the first session created an atmosphere of surrender among the delegates to receive heart surgery from the Holy Spirit. During the song 20 dancers appeared in the room with red umbrella's symbolizing the blood of Christ cleansing us and forgiving us while on the screens a scene of pouring rain depicting refreshing and renewal and revival as a response to the message. There was a tangible presence of the Holy Spirit as delegates allowed themselves to be drenched by the images of pouring rain and then seeing the red umbrella's (the blood of Christ) available to cover them and release them. It was a powerful moment.
What an anointed day. Praise God. There were equally incredible days in the UK and New Zealand as well. Check back here tomorrow for updates from those sites.
Smiling volunteers greeted guests as they exited for their tea break. Gary Hamel's session opened with a video clip about the pace of change in our world. Immediately the audience responded to Gary's message. Our facilitator Gary Rivas then challenged them to evaluate things that they have been doing the same old same old for the past 3 years and then discuss it together with the pastor and their team. What a challenge which they responded to as the room was abuzz with discussions which continued into lunch time.
Jessica Jackley provided a refreshingly disarming message to which our delegates could not help but be inspired & motivated to make a difference. Of course they absolutely loved Andrew Rugasira, a fellow African, who was next and they clapped and cheered and verbalized their approval of his exceptionally excellent message and challenge concerning Aid vs Trade. And still the spirit of gentleness, peace, calm and surrender continued to grow after each message as God prepared them for the final session of the day by Wess Stafford.
This was the part of the day which took everyone's breath away as delegates responded at the end of the day by taking communion and forgiving those who had trespassed against them and by nailing their hurts, burdens and names of those they needed to forgive to 3 wooden crosses positioned around the auditorium. We watched mesmerized and humbled as hundreds of people queued to take their burdens and nail them to the crosses, began to pray in small groups for those who were sobbing and crying before God. The atmosphere was quiet as the Holy Spirit worked. Delegates who left the room did so almost like ghosts as they showed respect toward those who remained to do business with God. The sound of hammers hitting nails were audible and they sent shivers down the spine as hurting people nailed their hurts to the crosses. These ministry moments lasted for 40 minutes as people knelt at the crosses, comforted one another, took communion together as couples, and prayed together.
It took our breath away to watch as God healed, delivered and forgave His children. What a Mighty God we serve who is always faithful to do what He promises if we will simply surrender... And so we are doubly expectant of what God is going to do tomorrow...
Thursday, October 1, 2009
"Excitement and expectation and awe is rising higher and higher as we prepare for the GLS in Joburg tomorrow...God has done the most incredible things as we have raced towards the event. We have 1780 people registered and we expect about another 50 to arrive for the event to register on site, far surpassing the projected 1500 participants. Thanks everyone for all your hard, faithful, passionate work on the GLS.Our South African friends in Johannesburg are lifting up one prayer request in particular. The weathermen are predicting rain for the weekend, normally no big concern. The venue in Johannesburg, however, has a tin roof, extremely noisy in the rain, and all the food is to be served - outside.
I have a verse which God gave us yesterday when we did devotions and started a Wednesday of fasting and praying for the GLS around the world - Romans 8:31-39:
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things? ...
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ...
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The emphasis is that we are more than conquerors, God has answered every prayer for the Joburg event."
"Joshua was an ordinary man like you and me and when he prayed for the rain to stop it did. So we have stood on that and prayed the bold prayer for God to keep the rain away until after the GLS as all refreshments are served in tents outside and rain would just ruin the experience for everyone."
As you can see, our teammates in South Africa are bold in their belief that God will provide. Will you pray along with us not only that God will keep the skies clear, but that the spirit would move in these 1800 participants and start a revival in Johannesburg? Keep the rest of the GLS sites this weekend in your prayers as well as God wants to do amazing things in the UK and New Zealand too!
Stay tuned right here for the inspiring updates from these sites...