Thank You

2012 is here and we are now simply reflecting on 2011. As an organization we are looking back and learning and growing from our experiences serving alongside with you. There are many moments we celebrate and we celebrate because you are the ones who have made it all happen. For that we want to say thank you!

1. Thank you for your Gift: We are motivated by the notion of “What can one more leader do?” With your contribution to the WCA Emerging Leadership Fund we are able to bring leadership training to under-resourced leaders around the globe.

2. Thank you for reading our blog: This year we’ve launched a new blog platform. You, our readers, are the ones who have been pushing it forward and making it a successful tool for leadership development, thus far.
We are excited to keep moving forward and continue to serve you in 2012.

3. Thank you for attending our Events: Our heart and mission is to serve the local church. One way we do this is through leadership events. At The Global Leadership Summit in 2011, we had more than 65,000 people attend the Summit in US and more than 100,000 attend globally! Because you attend and invest in your own leadership we have been able to fulfill our mission.

4. Thank you for buying our Resources: We want to equip you and invest in your leadership. One way we do this is by providing suggested resources to enhance your leadership growth. We are also very excited to have launched our online store (www.wcasa.myshopify.com) to serve you better!

5. Thank you for your Membership: Because of your membership with the WCA, we are able to equip leaders and the local church. We are humbled and thankful to say that 2011 was a year where we exceeded our membership goal. Through your membership and belief in the local church, leaders are being transformed—impacting communities throughout the globe.

From the Entire WCASA Team

THANK YOU!!!

Own it!

One of the best days of your life is the day you take full responsibility for your own life and health. I can’t tell you how many times I played the “victim card” to justify my insane pace of life. Or, I would lie to myself with statements like “it will get better” or “this is just for a season” or “once we get through this building campaign…”. Living in denial caused such stress in our marriage that my wife would interrupt me in mid-sentence. She would say “Just stop. There is always some project or some problem or some new season. It never gets better.” She was right.

One thing I do know from 30 years of ministry is that ministry will take whatever you give it. The job is never done and there is always more to do.

In recent years, a passage in Deuteronomy 30 has really helped me. As the chapter opens, Moses is describing the life of blessing that awaits the people of Israel. It is an invitation to a better life.

Then, in verse 11 Moses takes any possibility of the Israelites playing the victim card. He says Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. (Deut. 30:11-14)

Personalize the phrases in this passage…
• it’s not too difficult for you
• it’s not beyond your reach
• the word is very near you
• it is in your mouth and in your heart

This life of blessing is mine for the taking. The life of emotional and spiritual health is within reach. But, first, I have to “own it” for myself. Nobody is going to do it for me. No well-intentioned deacon or spouse or elder or close friend can protect me from myself if I choose to lead an unhealthy life.

What I have come to embrace is that no one has been holding a gun to my head. The root issue in my drivenness and excessive busyness was not my environment or the demands placed on me. I was my biggest problem. I had and have choices. And, so do you!

What decision do you need to make to today to take great ownership of your own health?

Faith and the Flywheel

Faith and the Flywheel

January 25, 2012 in Soul Care, Spiritual Transformation with 0 Comments

Flywheel

Over this past weekend, I had the privilege of facilitating what became a God-breathed retreat for around one hundred ministry leaders on the East Coast. Our focus was “Learning to Be Present: to God, Ourselves, Our Circumstances, and Our Calling.” It was a powerful experience, involving many expressions of creative arts and small group interactions that supported and deepened our time.

As God graciously met with these leaders and opened their understanding of his desires and purposes for their lives, many “hallway conversations” revealed that our desires as a planning team were being realized: great connections were being made.

One such conversation stands out in my mind: a strong, national leader within this hard-driving highly evangelistic organization and I began to wonder together about the relationship between strategic planning and the realm of the unseen world… the spiritual realm! We jokingly referred to this important confluence as the intersection of “faith and the flywheel”. Maybe you’ve wondered the same things…

How do we attend to both realms at the same time? Does it matter that we do? Which is more important? Is that even a valid question?

Let me define our terms: by “faith” we meant the way an individual, and hopefully a team, depends on God for their strength, wisdom, and even ministry outcomes. Whether one leads in a ministry or any other
setting, how are we to understand the place of faith in our processes of setting and achieving organizational goals?

Philippians 4:6-9, The Message:
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

By “the flywheel”, we refer by nickname to all the vitally important leadership lessons we strive to implement: the Hedgehog Concept, Five Dysfunctions of Teams, the disciplines of strategic planning, social networking, innovation, excellent customer service, etc.

Colossians 3:23, TNIV 
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

I think this conversation deserves much more thought and effort—it’s really about integration. Notice King Hezekiah’s epitaph in

2 Chronicles 31: “In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.”

BOTH.
As I reflected further, I noticed a few practical ways that our team at the WCA is seeking to grow in our experience of “faith and the flywheel”:

On the “faith” side, we are exploring new ways to request prayers of intercession from those who care about our cause. And we are establishing new ways to gather for 30 minutes of focused time, a few days each week, to specifically pray about the work we do.

On the “flywheel” side, we continue to hone our meeting effectiveness, the strategic alignment throughout the organization, and incorporate the many great truths from our own Leadership Summit archives!

And on the direct interface, in an effort to deepen our relationship with God and each other, and become crystal clear around the call God has placed on the WCA, we held a first-ever offsite overnight retreat last week for our entire staff! Amazing.

Bottom line, many of these ideas are concepts we are already familiar with and passionately committed to. But in the day to day busy-ness of life, the intentional implementation on either the faith or the flywheel side can get lost amidst the flurry of the immediate. What helps us take in those great concepts and, in fact, lead where we are? We are learning more and more every day.

Maybe it’s time for you to increase your own, or your team’s, integration between faith and the flywheel. But how? Here are a couple of actions steps that can help lead you in the right direction.

-Corral a virtual team of intercessors to pray specifically
-Secure times throughout the workweek to set aside for focused prayer together
-Plan a retreat to instill vision back into your team
-Invest in your leadership through LIFT online courses

It’s truly possible to bow the interior of your heart in prayer while giving excellent leadership. You’ll be providing holistic, excellent leadership, with a clear eye to the reality of the spiritual realm.

We hope you’ll join us in that process!

With you on the journey,
Mindy Caliguire @MindyCalliguire

Family Series, Part 3 (Wess Stafford)


A few months ago, we were having dinner with three other couples and I asked them who, other than their parents, had influenced them the most during the first 18 years of their life. We talked so long into the night that we joked about ordering breakfast. I have mentioned many times that my second grade teacher, Miss Van Soelen impacted my life in remarkable ways. So did several other key adults. Please think a moment about who God used to impact your life and breathe a prayer of gratitude to God.

This weekend at Willow, Wess Stafford, the president of Compassion International, joined me as we continue our family series. Several months ago I heard him give a talk about how a child’s life can be altered in an instant by the right kind of interaction with an adult. Immediately I asked Wess if he could give a version of that message to the Willow family. I was elated when he changed his schedule to be able to join us. So please come because this weekend may change the way you look at how your life can influence people you care about.

Blessings, Bill Hybels

Download Message here

Wess Stafford knows firsthand what it feels like to be a child trapped in circumstances beyond his control. Years spent in an abusive missionary boarding school marked him with a passion to help the youngest and most vulnerable in our communities: the children.

“At the age of 10, I received my calling, my purpose, and my life’s mission in my darkest and most painful moment, in the span of about 90 seconds,” Wess says. His punishment from an abusive houseparent on that day: being forced to stand on a chair, holding a birthday candle lit on both ends. “I knew in my heart that he was wrong,” Wess recalls. “This time, the houseparent had unwittingly put himself in a place where I could actually win, if I could endure enough pain… Standing there alone on my chair, I had received my calling. In an instant, I had gone from victim to victor. From that day forward, I would protect children. I would forever speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.” Stafford knows that it only takes a moment—whether positive or negative—to change a child’s life.

As president of Compassion International, Wess is fulfilling this calling. Compassion International brings holistic Christian child development to more than 1.2 million children in some of the world’s poorest communities. Compassion International—and its president—understand children and childhood. Releasing a child from poverty is the most strategic way the church can reshape a life, a family, a community—and ultimately a nation.

A Strategic Partnership
Compassion International’s heart beats for the child in challenging circumstances—and for the churches that serve them. Compassion International understands that implementing a great child development program requires powerful, effective churches in each developing country—churches led by visionary, indigenous pastors. The Willow Creek Association equips and encourages these leaders through The Global Leadership Summit, brought to 120,000 such leaders across the globe each year. The WCA is honored to have Compassion International as a Strategic Partner, helping expand the GLS to dozens of new venues—and reaching thousands of churches and the children who turn to them for hope.

How Long Does It Take?
Individual moments in a child’s life can make all the difference, Wess says. He expounds on this concept in his most recent book, Just a Minute: In the Heart of a Child, One Moment … Can Last Forever. This weekend he brings a high challenge message to Willow Creek, which continues our Family Series.

As adults, we must recognize the power a moment has to guide a child toward purpose or calling in life. Sometimes it is words and other times it is consistently living a life of integrity that will impact a child who’s watching you. Join us this weekend to see how you can be a catalyst for shaping a child’s life.

Family Series, Part 2 (Bill Hybels)

Senior Pastor Bill Hybels challenges us to bring unity and hope to our world through the power of God. Bill then welcomes Dr. John M. Perkins, a Civil Rights activist for more than 50 years who has inspired racial reconciliation in our country.

To download MP3 at the following link

TIME MAGAZINE ARTICLE 2010

One Sunday last fall, Bill Hybels, founder and senior pastor at the Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, was preaching on the logic and power of Jesus’ words “Love thine enemy.” As is his custom, Hybels was working a small semicircle of easels arrayed behind his lectern, reinforcing key phrases. Hybels’ preaching is economical, precise of tone and gesture. Again by custom, he was dressed in black, which accentuated his pale complexion, blue eyes and hair, once Dutch-boy blond but now white. Indeed, if there is a whiter preacher currently running a megachurch, that man must glow.

Yet neither Hybels’ sermon, nor his 23,400-person congregation, is as white as he is. Along with Jesus, he invoked Martin Luther King Jr. Then he introduced Shawn Christopher, a former backup singer for Chaka Khan, who offered a powerhouse rendition of “We Shall Overcome.” As the music swelled, Larry and Renetta Butler, an African-American couple in their usual section in the 7,800-seat sanctuary, exchanged glances. Since Hybels decided 10 years ago to aggressively welcome minorities to his lily-white congregation, Renetta says, few sermons pass without a cue that he is still at it. “He always throws in something,” she says. She’s been around long enough to recall when this wasn’t the case.

In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. famously declared that “11 o’clock Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week … And the Sunday school is still the most segregated school.” That largely remains true today. Despite the growing desegregation of most key American institutions, churches are still a glaring exception. Surveys from 2007 show that fewer than 8% of American congregations have a significant racial mix.

Since Reconstruction, when African Americans fled or were ejected from white churches, black and white Christianity have developed striking differences of style and substance. The argument can be made that people attend the church they are used to; many minorities have scant desire to attend a white church, seeing their faith as an important vessel of cultural identity. But those many who desire a transracial faith life have found themselves discouraged — subtly, often unintentionally, but remarkably consistently. In an age of mixed-race malls, mixed-race pop-music charts and, yes, a mixed-race President, the church divide seems increasingly peculiar. It is troubling, even scandalous, that our most intimate public gatherings — and those most safely beyond the law’s reach — remain color-coded.

But in some churches, the racial divide is beginning to erode, and it is fading fastest in one of American religion’s most conservative precincts: Evangelical Christianity. According to Michael Emerson, a specialist on race and faith at Rice University, the proportion of American churches with 20% or more minority participation has languished at about 7.5% for the past nine years. But among Evangelical churches with attendance of 1,000 people or more, the slice has more than quadrupled, from 6% in 1998 to 25% in 2007.

Family Series, Part 1 (Darren Whitehead)

Teaching Pastor Darren Whitehead kicks off the Family Series with a down-to-earth look at relationships, parenting, and the challenge of offering excellence at work without short-changing the family.

He wants to tell a redemptive hopefilled story through your family

To download MP3 at the following link

if you experience any problems in downloading this talk, please email us at anicke@willowcreeksa.co.za

5 Ways to Become a More Authentic Leader

This is a guest post by LaRae Quy. She was an FBI agent, both as a counterintelligence and undercover agent, for 25 years. She exposed foreign spies and recruited them to work for the U.S. Government. Now she explores the unknown and discovers the hidden truth via her blog, Your Best Adventure. You can find her on Twitter as @LaRaeQuy.

Leadership begins with knowing who you are and what you believe. Authenticity is the need for leaders to be themselves regardless of the situation. For this reason, it is more than self-awareness. It is the ability to share the deepest and truest part of ourselves with others.

My undergraduate degree was in Business Management. The first thing we did was to identify successful leaders and write papers on how to mimic their behaviors. Textbooks were full of tips on how to do this and tests made certain we ingested the critical points that led to their success.

Authenticity Matters

While it’s instructive to observe and learn from others, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Successful leaders understand that the path of leadership is a journey of discovery … about themselves. We are not textbooks to be read once and then put away to gather dust. Our lives are a living testimony to change, growth, and renewed hope.

Self-awareness makes it easier to us to view our choices through a lens that brings our values into focus. If we are self-aware, we can begin to understand how well our actions align with our beliefs, values, strengths and weaknesses.

Life As An Undercover FBI Agent

Ironically, I found authenticity to be most important component while working as an undercover FBI agent. As you may guess, undercover work was about misrepresenting who I was to the targets of my investigation. I lied about my name, job, and address. I told them I was an expert in something I wasn’t and had a bogus set of credentials to back me up.

The details were no problem to fabricate with ease—and conviction. From organized drug gangs to Russian spies, I learned how to tell a lie with a straight face and get away with it. Even if the targets were suspicious of my weak background experience and limited professional expertise, I found the most convincing way to persuade them was to be honest about who I was as a person and share the deepest and truest part of myself.

My success as an undercover agent came from being myself—it attracted people to me. The only time I really ran into trouble was when I didn’t take the time to be authentic.

Being honest with others is not dependent upon the situation because an authentic person knows who they are in any given moment. They don’t flit from one belief system to another because of a fad, pressure from others, or circumstances.

Authenticity matters. Regardless of the situation, we respond to people who acknowledge the complexity of life and life’s decisions. No matter how hard I tried or how long I practiced, I ran into trouble when I pretended to have a different set of personal values. The game was up.

Life In Seminary

After I retired from the FBI, I completed a three-year graduate program at San Francisco Theological Seminary. I found that I used many of the same skills in the seminary that I developed as an FBI agent—the desire to get beneath all the layers of denial and uncover the truth about people.

The journey toward authenticity is twofold: first, discovering our personal values and beliefs, and, second, exhibiting behavior that is consistent with those same values and beliefs. We can be authentic leaders if we are committed to be being true to ourselves—regardless of the situation we are in or the people around us—so we can be real and genuine.

How You Can Look Into Yourself

Let’s take a look at five ways you can be more authentic:

  1. Discover your strengths:
    • Look inside of yourself and identify your strongest threads.
    • Reinforce them with practice and learning.
    • Carve out a role that draws upon your strengths everyday.
    • Recognize that your greatest room for growth is in the areas of your greatest strengths.
  2. Manage your weaknesses:
    • Spend time in identifying your weaknesses.
    • Do not ignore them.
    • Acknowledge that you cannot be talented in all areas.
    • Find ways to manage your weaknesses so you can free up your time to hone your strengths.
  3. Identify your personal values:
    • Rank the following values in order of importance: integrity, patience, honesty, gratitude, humility, forgiveness, compassion, perseverance, spirituality, joy, and discipline.
    • Expand the list by adding other personal values that are important to you.
    • Articulate the importance of each value to your life.
  4. Develop a strong connection between your values and your behavior:
    • Commit yourself to your personal values.
    • Stay the course regardless of obstacles.
    • Find ways to go over, under, or through the obstacles.
    • Do not go around them—instead, overcome them.
    • Remember that your behavior reflects your values.
  5. Build relationships with a diverse group of friends and associates:
    • Create genuine relationships by being authentic.
    • Authenticity builds trust and makes us more compelling and attractive leaders.
    • Be prepared for the adversaries that will be created because you’ve remained true to your values and beliefs.
    • Remember that leadership is not about being popular.
Know What You Believe and Why You Believe It

In essence, this is what it takes to be authentic: know what you believe and why you believe it. If you do, your world won’t fall apart when the unexpected shows up.