SOUTH BARRINGTON, Ill. – This year's Leadership Summit at Willow Creek Community Church has drawn over 6,000 to the Chicago-area megachurch and over 50,000 others around the world who have been watching the live broadcast of one of the world's most premier leadership training events.
Some 60,000 people have registered for The Leadership Summit in hopes of spending two days to greatly improve as leaders. The summit, which kicked off Thursday, has been a self-investment opportunity for many leaders who are usually too tied up with serving others to make the time to regain vision and fine-tune their leading skills.
According to the Rev. Bill Hybels, Willow Creek's founder and the senior pastor, leaders should take time invest in themselves in order to help their church.
"Everybody wins when you improve as a leader," said Hybels on Thursday during the summit's opening session, titled "The High Drama of Decision Making."
"And sometimes the best way you can bless your church is to make investment in yourself," he added.
The Willow Creek Association (WCA), host of the Leadership Summit, is a growing multi-denominational worldwide network of more than 12,000 churches from 90 denominations and 45 countries. Since 1992, the WCA has been working to link like-minded, action-oriented churches with each other and with strategic vision, training, and resource.
Its annual Leadership Summit, which has been held for the past 13 years, is being broadcast live to at least 117 locations across America and features a world-class line-up of guests and speakers, including Chuck Colson, chairman and founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries; Craig Groeschel, senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv; and Brad Anderson, vice-chairman and CEO of Best Buy.
This year's summit was designed to hold total of nine sessions over the course of two days with topics ranging from "Leading in New Cultural Realities" and "How Leaders Can Get IT and Keep IT" to "Defending the Faith" and "Risk Taking, Barrier Breaking Bold Leadership."
In his opening session, Hybels, who recently released his new book, "Axiom," emphasized the importance and effectiveness of axioms or proverbs and encouraged leaders to utilize them.
"Some leaders, not only have a framework, but they also learned how to condense … questions and wisdom of all their past decisions and compress them into sub-composed leadership proverbs, or sayings, or axioms that give them focused counsel, or 'microwave wisdom,' for their upcoming decision," the megachurch pastor said.
Hybels challenged the attending leaders to compose their own axioms, which "[w]ould add so much to the efficiency and effectiveness and clarity of [their] decision making."
On Friday, summit attendants are expected to hear again from Hybels as well as LifeChurch.tv pastor Craig Groeschel, evangelical leader Chuck Colson, and BestBuy CEO Brad Anderson. A one-on-one live interview with Catherine Rhor, CEO and founder of the nonprofit Prison Entrepreneurship Program, will also be featured as well as a Q&A session that will be hosted at the summit for the first time ever.
The event ends Friday at 5:30 p.m. CT.