Day 2 of the Leadership Summit started with the topic of tough callings. Unfortunately, one of the speakers slated to appear, Stephen Sundar, was unable to appear due to a visa issue. So, Wess Stafford stepped in and shared. Wess has an amazing story of overcoming atrocity and abuse. He’s made an impact in the lives of children around the world. Here are my notes from the first part of the session.
Tough Callings by Bill Hybels
- It’s easy to romanticize leadership. It’s easy to think if we do all these leadership functions well, we should grow in hugely successful franchises.
- We like the stories of Microsoft, the rags to riches story.
- We need to be careful in thinking if we get better as leaders that everything will go up and to the right.
- What if God were to assign leaders to things that were important but would never see any type of success. Would you be willing to lead something like that? Would you lead in an underresourced part of the world? Would you say, “Yes God!” Could you give God your best every day in that?
- We can be addicted to the narcotic of growth and success. We’ll step into leadership opportunities that promise growth, success, wealth, early retirement. We like to lead stuff like that. We can get hooked on the narcotic of growth, success, and visibility.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
- This isn’t our home. It’s a campsite. We’re passing through. We march to a different drummer. The poor are rich. The servant is the leader. The weak are strong.
- When we get to heaven we will be surprised who the heroes are of this day.
- Soddo, Ethiopia – During the famine, the church would meet in secret because of the persecution of the time from the Communist government. I met with the church leaders, in the dead of night, who looked to me for words from God. I considered myself a boy amongst men, who had these scars from persecution.
- The example of a preacher being bold in Ethiopia. He would preach and reflect Jesus despite it being illegal to do so. He was thrown in prison for his faith. The preacher would then preach to the prisoners. So the government officials wanted to make an example of him. They were going to execute him in the public square. They rigged a electrocution system and strung him up to it. The officials made a scene and ridiculed him. They threw the switch, and the power went out in the town. The preacher was alive. He was taken back to prison and told he would be killed the next day. The preacher preached to the prisoners again. He knew where he was headed in Heaven. The next day, he was marched out to the public square again to be made a spectacle. Again they threw the switch to electrocute him, and again the power went out in the town. He was still alive. The officials said, “We don’t know what to do with people like you!”
- I caught up to this man and talked to him. I told him how people in the West were praying for him. He said he prayed for the West. I asked, “When you pray for us in the West what do you pray for?” He said, “Your suffering is worse than the West. It’s possible for a follower of Christ to go all day, or even all week, to go without praying. Is that true? We meet in the dead of night, when there is no moon, so we aren’t persecuted. Your Christians would rather go on a picnic, on a nice, day, but not go to church. We rip out pages of a Bible to spread the Word so we can memorize them. I know people by passages of scripture. I ask for Isaiah 58, and someone stands up and recites it because that was the passage they were to memorize.”
- During the oppression the church grew five fold in Ethiopia.
- Revelation 7:9-10 – After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”