Leadership Summit Session 1 | Bill Hybels

Bill Hybels kicked off this years Willow Creek Leadership Summit with a talk titled “The Privilege of Leadership.”

Bill Hybels is the Founding and Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. He is the author of two great leadership books Axiom and Courageous Leadershipas well as The Power of a Whisper

Here are the highlights I grabbed from his talk:

Leaders Lead the Way

  • Everyone wins when a leader gets better.
  • Hybels retold the parable of the scattered seeds (Luke 8) at the start of his talk.
  • No matter how much seed is sown, some people are closed off to it.
  • The reaction to a message doesn’t impact its truth.
  • Jesus created a seed rejection ratio in this parable. He chose a 75% seed rejection ratio, which is incredible to think about.
  • Everyone’s life would be better with God at the center of it.
  • If you want to see more trees in your church, plant more seeds.
  • Do the people who drive by your church everyday know you are there?
  • What happens if leaders don’t listen to those around them, to the Holy Spirit? They miss out.
  • A church takes ALL of its cues from its leaders. Never changes.
  • Leaders must fight autopilot at all cost.


  • Work habits are the things that leaders struggle with the most.
  • Uncertainty about how to order a leaders life keep them from maximizing their impact.
  • Leaders think their time is their most important asset, it isn’t. Their energy is and their ability to energize other people.
  • In the next 6 weeks, what are the biggest contributions could I make to the church?
  • 6X6 is a game changer. Make your weekly calendar be based on your 6X6 goals.
  • God didn’t make you a leader to respond to things all day, but to move stuff ahead.

Leadership succession

  • In a planning phase, every question must surface.
    • Who decides what?
    • Who is involved?
    • How long will something take?
    • In succession, what is the pastor’s role, what does he do after the transition?
    • Make sure your greatest legacy as a leader means your church will live on past you as the leader.

Move People

  • God doesn’t make you a leader to keep people still or for them to think you are smart. God makes you a leader to move people to a better future.
  • Don’t paint the picture of the future until you build the case for why you cannot stay where you are.
  • The middle of a leadership vision is when it is most vulnerable. Not at the starting line or when you can see the finish line.
  • Year 10 – 15 can be the season when a leader is most vulnerable.
  • My overarching thought of leadership is, what a privilege it is to be a leader.

4 thoughts on “Leadership Summit Session 1 | Bill Hybels

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