Bill Hybels is the senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, and chairman of the board for the Willow Creek Association. He convened The Leadership Summit in 1995 following a God-given prompting to help develop the spiritual gift of leadership in the local church. A highly sought-after conference speaker on issues related to Christian leadership, Hybels is the best-selling author of more than 20 books including Courageous Leadership, The Volunteer Revolution, and the summer 2007 release, Holy Discontent.
Notes from his talk are included below.
- A vision that comes that fast and is accepted readily will probably not be owned.
- Nothing matters more than the ownership of a vision
- Owning a vision
- Vision is the most powerful weapon in a leaders arsenal
- Vision is painting of a picture of the preferred future
- John 10 Two types of people who protect sheep – hired hands and owners. Hired hands take off running – it’s only a job. Owners will risk their lives to protect the sheep.
- People who own a vision will pray for it, work for it, sacrifice for it, and even die for it.
- Do I just give assent to the vision or am I willing to own it?
- The church is the hope of the world. Government, academia, and business are important but can’t transform a human heart.
- How do we go about casting vision that large number of people will own?
- It’s hard for activistic leaders to subject their vision to process
- Most leaders don’t understand how detrimental it is to unilaterally implement vision. Makes others feel unvalued. They don’t even want to join the vision.
- Vision formation:
- Sinai vision – Vision comes to the senior leader alone. How cool is that for anyone other than you, senior leaders? Kills the likelihood the vision will be owned.
- Team approach – Instead of the pastor going away for 3 days, schedule a retreat with key leaders and ask this question: What does God want our church to look like 5 years from now?
- Causes other leaders want to dream and talk.
- Terribly slow and inefficient
- Built community, demonstrated value, got people into the conversation.
- What if people get us off course? People don’t always have to have their way, they need to have their way considered.
- Vision refinement
- First draft feels like a holy moment.
- In the past, senior pastors would dismiss everyone and finalize the vision himself
- Willow takes that draft to many groups around the church. Presents it as “just a draft” and asks What excites you? What scares you? What’s not clear? What’s missing?
- Several good things happen. People feel valued, get important feedback, and understand concerns.
- Willow did 40 home meetings to cast vision for their new auditorium, then asked people at the home meetings to give first.
- Vision declaration
- He asked to do a trial run at elders meeting, board meeting, and one other group.
- Then asked for honest feedback. Changed the whole introduction.
If it doesn’t move and stir the leaders, it’s not going to move and stir the congregation
- Colleagues had already bought in before the vision was presented to the congregation
- Declaration phase can even be better when done as a team
- Great leader more concerned with getting ownership than credit
- Vision leaks. People in your church have real lives. Don’t beat the sheep. Just fill the vision buckets back up by recasting vision through multiple modes of communication.
- Celebrate progress along the way. When you an tell a story and mark a milestone do it.
- Would you be willing to die for the vision God has asked you to carry out in this world? Are you a hired hand or an owner?
- Acts 21 Paul could not be dissuaded
- Wise leaders know the single biggest determining factor is the extent to which they believe you own it. They take their ownership cue from you.
- Leaders are saved, then given a vision, and then there’s an intersection between the hireling path (more about you) and ownership path (more about the vision). Where are you?
6 thoughts on “Leadership Summit 1: Bill Hybels – Vision to Die For”
Awesome, awesome, awesome!
Thank you so much for the notes. I couldn’t get to the summit. Great Stuff!! God Bless
Hybels is an amazing communicator. He challenges me every time I hear him speak.
My take away is the PROCESS for developing, refining and sharing the vision.
As a classroom teacher, I have a vision for my students each year that I TELL them about. How much more powerful if I could get buy in from each of those 10 year olds! They are always excited in August and they believe they can do it when we talk about it, but after just 30 days our vision has certainly leaked!
My head is swimming (hopefully not in peanutbutter) trying to determine the PROCESS I need to make this happen in my leadership setting.
Am I willing to die for my vision? So far in all my years of teaching I would have to say no. But have each of those children been worth dying for? Yes. This year, I will knock myself out reaching each student.
What is your vision? Are you the owner willing to die for it?
Ah.. a Vision.. The Bible says without it, the people parish…
When I think of the power of a vision, I think of the brave soldiers who charge up hills with machine gun nest shooting at them.
Nobody does THAT without a vision. That the end goal is so important, that they are a part of it (ownership), and at that moment in time, they are the instrument to move the vision forward; or let the vision stall right there. That person, charging up that hill, knows how important the end goal is, and knowing that they will likely be slaughtered isn’t the point, it is that end goal, the greater good, mustering their courage, understanding that they were born for such a time as this, may God be with me on my journey… Adrenaline pumping; Out of the foxhole and on my way; Rat tat tat all around me; I move forward, I move forward, forward
To be “Driven” by a leader, when you do not “own the vision” is more like cattle being driven… Dogs nipping at your heals, hearing the cracking of the whip, not knowing what is next, to cross a creek, or be “led” into slaughter. No vision, No common good, no courage. Frustration growing, Fear rising. Confusion all around me; Bark, Bark, Bark; Crack, Crack, Crack; Driven, reluctantly Driven forward, Driven forward, Driven
Quite a contrast, but this is all too real in the offices and work places all around us. A few with the upper feelings, way to many with the crack of the whip in their ears, and in their dreams…
We need to remember the play that was presented. How we feel about the boss, how we are felt about as the boss..
I look forward to Bill Hybels talk on Inspire Us. To me it is the other book-end to the Vision presentation.
Start with a vision.. Apply all the leadership tools in the middle, and inspire those you can to contribute, to lead, to participate, to roll out of the foxholes of their cubes for the journey and mission God has placed them into for such a time as this…
this is great. i love it. i desire to be an online memeber. any other books or materials can be forwarded to my mail from this moment. thanks