Leadership Summit Reflections, Part 2

The second day of the Summit was full of good content and I found myself challenged in many different parts of my life and ministry. Listed below are the speakers and what I recorded as meaningful.


Ashish was fascinating and had much to say about how new staff members come in and go out of an organization. One thing that he mentioned, which hits home with me as a new staff member (I certainly am not saying I am a “star” though) is
that hiring a star is like an organ transplant. 90% of work must be done with post-op, socializing and integrating him/her into the system.

Listening to Jim was like drinking from a fire hydrant. I took lots of notes on his topic, but will share just one point in order to spend more time on my thoughts on the interview from Bono. Collins must not have been a professing Christian, since Hybels kept referring to his hope that he is “getting there.” Hybels noted that Collins seems to have written his latest Monograph with a more spiritual pen, noting his concern for humanitarian causes and the like, than his other writings and asked why. Collins shared that
life is about contribution; that economics are a means to an end.My mentors planted in me a seed and that I am here for a reason; that I have gifts not to be wasted in this world.”

BONO–see next post, as it takes up a lot of space


Wayne Cordeiro. I have been familiar with his ministry in Hawaii but this is the first time I’ve heard him speak. He was very engaging and was authentic about his crash in ministry and personally (the title of his talk was “Dead Man Running”) He talked about his burnout in ministry and how God worked through his emotional crash to help him make new bearings in his life to be able to renew his soul and maintain balance. What I learned from Cordeiro is my need schedule rest and ministry to my family first and then place appointments and scheduling as a second step. I must know what drains my tank and what makes it full. I was convicted that I am not filling my tank with enough rest (mainly sleep), and I feel guilty when not working.

Bill Hybels closed the Summit with what ended up being an interesting twist for the conference. He said that God told him to speak on the necessity of clarity from the Pastor, using a trumpet in battle as an illustration for sending out a clear signal to those on the battlefield. He gave some examples of leaders who kept their message clear–Winston Churchill’s “Never” speech to Great Britain, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s sermon from jail. The interesting twist came when Hybels focused in on the one key message that must be clear from leaders today–Substituionary Atonement. This has been a hot topic in the blogosphere and in theological circles here lately (visit here for a good launching point) and I assume that Hybels felt like he needed to enter the conversation and take a stand.

Hybels emphasized how Jesus was absolutelty clear about his message (which was subst. atonement, according to Hybels) and that Pastors must be this way today. He gave an explanation of what the term means and then walked everyone through it from the Garden of Eden to the Crucifixion.

I was taken back by Hybels choosing this as his closing talk. There are certainly many other views of atonement widely accepted and taught throughout church history and presented in Christian theology. Why he chose to single out this one and reduce the gospel to one central metaphor puzzled me (perhaps a response to the recent disussions of it in emergent conversations and in Christianity Today?). I also kept thinking of how Jesus’ primary message was about the Kingdom of God, speaking much more about its reality and work here on earth rather than teaching about how individuals can go to Heaven. I certainly understand the necessity of speaking about sin and eternity, but this does not seem to be Jesus’ primary focus in the Gospels. He was seeking to call people out to make a difference in this world by participating in God’s work of redemption of the world and that judgment would come on the basis of how that work was carried out (lots of parables are coming to mind here). When we look at Jesus’ words and actions, I see a much bigger, expansive gospel than when only one theory of atonement is presented.

About John Henson

I am Pastor of Church for the Highlands in the Highland neighborhood of Shreveport, LA. I am also Chaplain of Volunteers of America of North Louisiana. I am husband to Jinny and father to a middle-schooler named Jack. Most of my time is taken up with starting a church, but I love running, a good cigar, and reading what mystics have lived and written. Member of Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
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