Leadership Summit Session 8 | Bill Hybels

Bill Hybels closed out this years Willow Creek Leadership Summit with a fantastic talk.

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 some highlights I grabbed from his talk:

  • Everyone wins when a leader gets better.
  • Leaders need an annual gut check about their leadership.
  • The world needs leaders who will passionately pursue what God is calling them to do.
  • Jesus reminds us (Matthew 16:18) that he will build his church and nothing will prevail against it.
  • For too many people, the church is lifeless, cowardly, and hopeless.
  • It’s one thing to see a vision, it’s another thing to be seized by a vision.
  • A vision gives people a picture of the future.
  • Vision causes people to sacrifice joyfully.
  • Without vision, people perish. They don’t die physically, they settle for a life of a lesser purpose.
  • A vision causes us to give up everything for it.
  • A fired up Christ follower, from a fired up church, is what God uses to change the trajectory of broken lives.
  • The message of Jesus is what changes a person heart. God has entrusted the message of Jesus to the church to take it to the corners of the globe. Means, the local church is the hope of the world.
  • The hope of the world is at stake when it comes to how we lead our churches.

Will the local church, the hope of the world, be able to sustain itself until the end of time?

  • Whole empires throughout history have disappeared.
  • Companies with tons of money and clout but are no longer in business.
  • Who it is that is actually building the church and sustaining it is who will keep it from disappearing.
  • Jesus is the sustainer of the church (Matthew 16:18).
  • Building the church is the main thing Jesus is doing until the end of time.
  • It is incredible to think that Jesus is not only building His church, but includes us in that and uses us to bring about His plan.
  • What would happen if we got up in the morning and joined in, full on with what Jesus is doing? How would the world change? How would our churches change?
  • A leader calls people out, calls them to be a part of the vision, to make a move.

What was your biggest takeaway from this session?

Zero to Sixty: 60 Principles and Practices for Leading a Growing Church

book coverJust finished Bob Franquiz’s book Zero to Sixty. Bottom line, every church leader, pastor or elder needs to read this book. It was so practical and helpful. It is one of those books with a nugget on every page.

This book really tracks well with the coaching network I am in with Nelson Searcy (as Bob went through the same network).

The book is broken up into 4 sections:  Leadership strategies, staffing strategies, ministry strategies and personal development strategies. Much like Axiom.

Bob covers everything from vision casting, marketing, creating and sustaining a small group culture, rest and sabbath, how to plan a preaching calendar, hiring and firing staff and volunteers, what a pastor’s wife does and does not do (really important chapter), giving, goal setting and my personal favorite the “stop doing” list (worth the price of the book).

Here are a few things I highlighted:

  • You are always communicating vision. Everything you do inside and outside of your church, everything you say and don’t say communicates vision. How you spend your time, what gets announced, communicates vision.
  • If you’re not engaged in growing your leadership, you’re not engaged in leadership becauase at its core, leadership implies growth and change.
  • It doesn’t matter how important you say small groups are. What matters is eliminating the competition to small groups.
  • The sign of a healthy membership system is that not everyone will join. When your vision is clear, there will be those who aren’t going in that direction and will want to find another church to attend.
  • Every great leader knows that his time is his life.
  • When you challenge people, you invite them to go to a higher level.
  • Servanthood is about being servant hearted, not simply doing everything.

This is a must read book for every church leader. I got so much out of this book.

Axiom: Powerful Leadership Proverbs

book coverWow.

That is my first reaction to Axiom by Bill Hybels.

This book is a collection of short (2 – 4 page) chapters that encompass many of the leadership lessons and teachings that Bill Hybels has given over 3 decades of leadership.

This is a must read for any leader.

The book is broken up into 4 sections (Vision & Strategy, Teamwork & Communication, Activity & Assessment, and Personal Integrity). The sections really lay out what a leader does, not just a pastor, but a leader of any organization. There were so many good ideas, so many nuggets that I took away from this book. It will definitely be a book that I come back to.

Hybels walks through how to lead meetings, how the ending is the most important part of a meeting and sets the tone for the organization as people leave a meeting. He talks about the importance of words, this is something I’m learning more and more about as a leader.

One other thing that grabbed me was when he talked about making the big ask and not saying no for someone. I think one of the fears of leaders is asking people to step up and do great things for God. Often, we will actually answer for them before we even ask them. I had a mentor tell me, “Let someone tell you no, don’t say no for them.”

Here are a few nuggets:

  • A key responsibility of the leader is to know what season the organization is in, to name it, and then to communicate the implications of that season to his or her followers.
  • Leaders build credibility by not screwing up.
  • Promptness is about character.

Here are a few posts that this book inspired:
Leaders & Followers (Are They That Different?)
The Power of Words

This was by far one of the most helpful and practical leadership books I have read in a long time.

The Power of Words

In his book Axiom, Bill Hybels says, “Leaders rise and fall by the language they use.”

Recently, I have been learning more and more about the power of my words as a leader. When I speak, people pay attention. When I don’t speak, people pay attention. Leaders are always speaking.

Leaders are always casting vision. You may only preach on vision a few times a year, but what you do, how you spend your time, what gets rewarded and celebrated, are all communicating what is important.

A few weeks ago I made on offhand comment to someone that really sent this message home. Our words set the tone for our churches. What we make fun of, makes it okay for others to make fun of. What we bash, makes it okay for others to bash. What we get excited about, makes it okay for others to get excited about that. People wait to see what we do and say, and then do likewise because we set the rules and tone for our organizations.

Remember, as a leader, you set the tone. With what you say and do.

You are always talking.

Leaders & Followers (Are They That Different?)

Are leaders and followers that different? Are they separated by a lot?

They are different, but they aren’t separated by many things. In fact, what separates them and makes them different is very little, but what makes them different is incredibly significant.

It is the difference between an owner and a hireling. Owners will die to protect something, they will put in grueling hours to make sure an organization is running smoothly. A hireling will leave when their shift is up.

Many (not all) leaders and followers are the same way. In most churches (not all), the people who come week in and week out are not owners. The leaders of the church wish they were, but many aren’t. They show up, sing some songs, listen to a sermon, they give some money, they might even serve, but they do not own what is going on.

The reason?

Many don’t believe that their pastors and leaders own things.

So how does that change?

Bill Hybels said, “Wise leaders understand that the single greatest determinant of whether followers will ever own a vision deeply is the extent to which those followers believe the leader will own it.”

Too many leaders are lazy. Too many leaders expect their followers to do things they are not willing to do. This does not mean that a leader does everything, but if a leader is asking his followers to sacrifice, he needs to be as well.

Leaders need to pour everything they have into what they are doing. All of their passion, energy, and talents. Leave it all on the field.