Viral Leadership

Each year our son, Stephen, and I go to the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. It’s our annual father-son leadership… relational… kick-back… climate-check event. And, we’re Willow Creek purists, traveling to the Barrington, IL mother campus and sitting on the main floor as close to the front as the competition for seats will allow.

This year’s Summit was the best in my memory, and in terms of scale; the biggest: 75,000 participants in the United States of which 8,000 were on the Barrington campus. The international edition reaches 170,000 participants at sites in 535 cities in 100 countries in 45 languages.

I intended to give a few great quotes from each of the thirteen presenters in this mailing. But, when I reviewed our notes (Thank you, Stephen!) from one of the sessions, “Viral Leadership: Multiplying Impact Exponentially” by Pastor Oscar Muriu (Nairobi Chapel, Kenya), the plan changed. His message featured five convictions about leadership that deserve a more detailed summary. Here they are. I may summarize other sessions in future mailings.

Conviction 1: The size of your harvest depends on how many leaders you have (Matthew 9:37-38). “Then he said to his disciples, ’The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’” The more harvesters you commission the greater the harvest will be. Jesus first found his leaders (disciples), invested in their lives, and grew them. One of the signs of great leadership is how many leaders you have raised up.

Conviction 2: Live for the next generation (Psalm 71:18). “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.” David was not living for his own generation. The only way your vision can live beyond you is to invest it and instill it in those who will be there when you are gone. Look and identify those you are investing in who are at least 20 years younger than you. Have at least five younger leaders around you for at least a year.

Conviction 3: Identify the leaders around you and take them to God in prayer (Numbers 11:10-17). “The Lord said to Moses: ‘Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders… They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.’” Moses was feeling discouraged and was complaining to the Lord when there were already seventy well-equipped leaders under his nose. Be open to see the leaders around you who are ready to serve. Pray those people into ministry.

Conviction 4: Instill five loves into your budding leaders (Mark 12:30-33). “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

  • Love the Lord with all your heart — this is a matter of character.
  • Love the Lord with all your soul — this is a matter of conviction (values, beliefs, dreams).
  • Love the Lord with all your mind — this is a matter of comprehension.
  • Love the Lord with all your strength – this is a matter competence. – Love your neighbor as yourself — this is a matter of compassion.

Conviction 5: Never do ministry alone (Acts 4:13). “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Always have emerging leaders around you. To be alone is wasting an opportunity to invest in another person’s life.