Saturday, August 11, 2007


Before the primary speakers Bill Hybels in ten minutes time presented the results of an extensive study his church conducted on the spiritual growth of the Willow Creek family. His remarks resonated with every pastor present. In a nutshell, Willow discovered that they were doing a great job helping pre-Christians and new/young Christians progress in their spiritual journey. They were doing the least effective job with those considered to be the most spiritually mature members. They were hearing the common complaint, "We're not getting fed." Where they failed was not in providing deeper Bible study opportunties. Where they missed the boat was early on helping new, emerging Christians learn how to feed themselves. Remarkable insights that certainly apply to Chapin Baptist.


Porter is one of the world's foremost authorities on competitive strategy. It was interesting to see how our Chapin Baptists responded to his presentation. It was like we were in a doctor's level business school. A few of our folks were eating up his words. Others were bored stiff. My best takeway from this session--our need to establish goals for every ministry/project we do. What do we hope to accomplish? What are the most pressing needs within the church body? What are the most pressing needs in the community? What gifts/talents do we have in the body that will meet those needs?

Colin Powell

This was a super interview that Bill Hybels conducted with the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State. Let me give you some of what he calls his "Powell Principles".

  • Leaders should promote a clash of ideas. "Argue with me." Then the leader, after hearing arguments must say, "Here is what we will do."
  • Encourage a noisy system. Pull out of people as much knowledge as you can.
  • Only people get things done. Not charts, lectures, etc.
  • Maintain an open door policy. Give people freedom to pop in to provide input and feedback.
  • Reward your best performers. Get rid of your non-performers.
  • Be prepared to disappoint people and to make the.m angry.
  • Check your ego at the door.
  • Make sure you have fun in your command.
  • Avoid war if at all possible.
  • Prepare to be lonely. It is the leader who has to go home after having made the tough decisions.


John is pastor of the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church near San Francisco. He wrote one of my all-time favorite books If You Want to Walk on Water. John hit a grand slam with his message. Using the book of Esther, he talked about A Leader's Greatest Fear. The theme that stirred up lots of further discussion with Chapin Baptists was the idea of "shadow missions." Anything that detracts or distracts from the primary mission is a shadow mission. Even if the shadow mission is only 10 degrees off the primary mission, we are off track and need to be recalibrated. We talked in our circles about how often pride and success can become shadow missions.

Jesus often had to deal with the temptations to get off track from His main mission. His shadow mission--how can I be Savior without going to the cross? How can I be Messiah without suffering?

The question from Esther that lingers on in our hearts--Who knows but that you have come to a time such as this?


Curtis is a well-known and respected screenwriter (Four Weddings and a Funeral; Notting Hill). He has done significant work in dealing with Third World debt and poverty in Africa. This interview was refreshing, enlightening, and soul-stirring. Here is a fellow who admittedly does not have faith issues settled, someone who lays no claim to being a committed follower of Christ. Yet he is making a gigantic impact addressing the needs of the poor in Africa. He has raised a billion dollars in providing assistance.

The students with us on this trip were very disturbed and moved as they saw some of the dire needs in the Third World. They want to make a difference. As Christians and as leaders in Chapin Baptist Church, are we doing all we can to resource poverty-stricken areas in our community and beyond? What more do we need to do to focus on Third-World poverty?

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