2012 Global Leadership Summit Session 1: Bill Hybels

bill hybels 2012Founder and Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church – South Barrington, IL

  • Founded The Global Leadership Summit, now in 200+ U.S. sites, 260+ cities worldwide, and 85 countries
  • Committed to developing and mentoring leaders worldwide, including those in some of the most difficult, overlooked and under-resourced countries
  • Best-selling author of more than 20 books including his most recent release, The Power of a Whisper

Session Notes 

  • Luke 8, parable of the sower.
  • Everyone’s life would be better if God was at the center of it.
  • Man lost his cat on Willow campus and didn’t even know it was a church. Bill realized they needed to “sow more seed” and reintroduce themselves to people in the community through a mailer.
  • Willow started the Alpha course. First class 1/3 of people decided to follow Christ.
  • Started “Getting Started” after services to introduce people to Willow.
  • Pastors, your whole church takes its seed sewing que from you.
  • We must insist on a non-stop series of experiments in our churches to sow more seeds.
  • Everyone wins when a leader gets better.
  • Sow more seeds!


  • The work habits of a leader
    • You are the most difficult person you will ever lead.
    • Many leaders have told Bill this is one of their biggest challenge
    • A leaders most valuable asset is not their time but their energy & ability to energize others.
    • Bill asked himself what are the 6 biggest things I could accomplish this calendar year (with 6 weeks remaining). Most of them involved energizing. Put those 6 things on an index card. Felt energized by the clarity and focus it brought. Accomplished 5 of the 6.
    • You can’t sprint for 6 months but you can sprint for 6 weeks.
    • Willow’s staff has been operating with 6×6 plans
    • God didn’t make you a leader to respond to stuff all day. He made you a leader to move things forward. 
  • Succession planning
    • A high percentage of mega-churches were started by pastors who are approaching retirement.
    • Willow’s succession plan
      • Phase 1: planning – Who will select successor? Time frame? How will pastor be honored? Will the current pastor continue to have a role? +many others
      • Phase 2: Want to find an internal candidate
      • Phase 3: If an internal candidate can’t be found, look for an external candidate
      • Phase 4: Actual succession, ~18 months
    • Board members – understand how deep feelings run in your pastor. Don’t have a person with low emotional intelligence.
    • Pastors, once you get to your late 50s, understand that your greatest legacy is going to be transitioning the church to your successor.
  • Moving people from point a to point b, here to there
    • God didn’t make you a leader to preside or pontificate.
    • Don’t talk about “there” until you make the case that staying “here” is intolerable.
    • When is the vision most vulnerable – beginning, middle, near end? B – middle
    • As a leader, when have I been most vulnerable? B – middle
    • Bill is energized to finish his leadership at Willow well.
    • “What a privilege it is to be a leader”
    • Savor every day you have the privilege to lead.

What impacted you from Bill’s talk?  What action will you take as a result?


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