There is no better day to initiate my faith & leadership blog than today – the day after the Global Leadership Summit. After two days of great presentations and insights, I have many perspectives to share.
First things first. Is this new blog category worthy of consideration? Will it appeal to leaders other than myself? Can faith and leadership be voiced in the same sentence? Will my career as an external consultant be jeopardized by my open statement of being a Christ follower?
On one hand, I have been wrestling with sharing my faith and it’s role in leadership for some time. People within my church are certainly familiar with my faith. My closest friends and relatives know my passion and commitment. Several of my best friends and I have been traveling parallel journeys. Finally, I have had the pleasure of serving a few growing churches who seek my counsel as a consultant.
On the other hand, many admit to having religious conviction, and believing in a higher being. The last Gallup polling I saw put the percentage polled at 85 – 90%. It’s time for transparency, for courage and dialogue on the interconnectedness of faith and leadership.
It is not only worthy of consideration, but one of our great imperatives and opportunities. The issues we face are bigger than us, worthy of our faith and prayer. We are surrounded with good people with positive intentions. We’ve put structure and strategy in place to move forward, but often see the negative impact splashed across the headlines.
Faith brings opportunity, not weakness; guidance, not complete answers; connection, not walls.
I spent the past few days with other christian leaders learning from some of the greatest minds around the world. I learned new perspectives, reinforced several core ideals, discussed applications to the world of work, and came away with even more questions. We heard from the likes of Gary Hammel, Patrick Lencioni and David Gergen. All names you most likely recognize. What about Harvey Carey, Tim Keller, or Bill Hybels? Leaders from the christian world you may not have recognized so quickly.
For two days I listened and tried to internalize the teachings from these legendary teachers. I am just beginning but have some early observations –
- Many leaders and teachers are simply wise beyond their years. David Gergen has been at the intersection of power as an advisor to four presidents, but his teaching is filled with humility and insight.
- Leadership doesn’t kick in after 5 workshops or after 10 years of experience. Jessica Jackley shared her journey into social justice as the co-founder of Kiva.org. A few years short of 30, she and her small group have launched and successfully grown the world’s first peer-to-peer micro-lending website.
- There are many paths to success. Dave Gibbons, shared how he has build a sustainable church by targeting those on the fringe. Tony Blair shared the realities of leading the British people through crisis after crisis. Andrew Rugasira, shared how his vision for a different form of aid has shaped the entrepreneurial engine of Africa.
- I have witnesses the power of the arts and music as an integrated element of faith. The clear voice and instruments of Josh Wilson and others bridge the topics and speakers that share their perspectives.
Building Sustainable Impact
Once again, great event for me! Thought provoking, inspirational, connecting and heart-warming. I’ll be back next year.
Now that I’ve been washed with this experience and have opened my perspective to all of you – what’s next? What questions are still left unanswered?
I wonder how the site attendance in Madison, Wisconsin can grow exponentially? I wonder how a great event can be part of an ongoing learning process? Most of all, I wonder how we can reach those who put a wall between faith and leadership, or any other significant area of learning.
No turning back now. More to come. Do you have thoughts of your own about the summit or this new line of thought that brings faith & leadership together? Please share in a response or post of your own.