Well, we took a look at this once before. But since Christian Today saw fit to write another article on this subject, I feel fine responding once again.
Hybels' leadership summit has ended. 50,000+ people have followed their leader, Bill Hybels, to listen to him tell them how to be leaders. Now those people can get on with their lives feeling as though Bill Hybel's 'microwave wisdom' will carry them on through to the next leadership summit.
Is it possible to digress this early on in an article?
Well, anyway, let's find out what everyone learned, shall we?
"Church leaders joining in the Willow Creek Leadership Summit were left with a sobering reminder of the world's woes and the difficult task they have at hand in carrying God's calling."
Oh, good then. 'Cause anybody who is a leader doesn't already know that it's difficult to face “the world's woes”. And anybody who isn't a leader probably wouldn't have the foggiest notion that facing the world's woes is a wee bit arduous; not even when they observe it happening to their leaders. Good thing one Christian leader was paying attention: Bill Hybels. And now 50,000+ other Christians are suddenly aware of the menacing task ahead: the world's woes. Were those Christian leaders unaware of this fact so much so that they actually needed to be reminded of it? At a conference no less?
And what the heck is “God's calling”, anyway? Isn't He God? You know, the One who calls?
"They were asked if they could fully yield to God as one of the most famous humanitarian figures in history, Jesus, had done."
Were they now? Were they ever asked at any point if they agreed that Jesus was a “humanitarian” figure? Or perhaps, what brand of 'humanitarian' Hybels was talking about? Did I say something in my last article about the Willow Creek watering-down phenomenon?
"More than 50,000 leaders stood up at the conclusion of the two-day annual summit, hosted by the Willow Creek Association, repeating some of the proverbs Mother Teresa had lived by for over four decades in her life.
'God, I yield myself fully to you,' they said. 'I will do your bidding without delay. I will refuse you nothing ... I will seek to love You as You have never been loved before.
'Here am I, send me.'"
Okay. Ship 'em all out to Calcutta and have them pick diseased, and half-eaten people out of the gutter like Mother Teresa did. Seems like a good acid test for their newly honed leadership skills, no? Get on it!
Sounds harsh to say, but there is a certain irony in the fact that Bill Hybels rigged up an elaborate conference costing $45 per person only to dote on the life, poverty, and self-sacrifice of Mother Teresa. Is anyone wondering what $45 x 50,000+ equals? $2,250,000+. I wonder what Mother Teresa could've done with that kind of money? I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have used it to cover the overhead on her stadium rentals, church maintenance, sound boards, broadcast technology, and refreshments.
So, is there any reason why Mr. Hybels couldn't have called on 50,000+ people to donate $45 each for the poor people of Calcutta? I suppose 'lead by example' doesn't always imply follow the leader, hey?
Nevertheless, Hybels, in learning about Mother Teresa, was at least able to use her as an excuse for generating more money than most of us will ever see in our lives.
"Noting that no one has affected him more deeply than Mother Teresa, he said the entire summit was worth it for him just to do the research on this woman."
Aren't you glad to know that Mr. Hybels wasn't necessarily interested in what he had to teach, and how it would affect the lives of the people in attendence; that he was mainly interested in researching Mother Teresa? I wonder if he'd do the research anyway, if he weren't charging $2,250,000+ for it?
Moving forward, Hybels promoted the use of stock sayings as a means of improving leadership. So when it comes to catchy phrases, the Willow Creek leader has it down! Hence the reason he could design a question meant to convict the audience of their shortcomings in leadership.
"'Are you lighting up the radar screen in heaven by your yieldedness?' Hybels asked. 'If you were God for a day, would you pick you?'"
Yes, are you making sure that you're trying hard enough to win God's grace? Are you good enough to be one of God's leaders? Have you buckled down in your efforts to yeild to the overtures of God?
I have a category for questions like Hybels asks. They're called Grace By Concentrate questions. Yep, if you just concentrate really hard on doing everything right by God, then He'll give you grace. There's no fooling around with the whole 'grace through faith alone' thing. That's all outdated, and outmoded. We're resurrecting the Old Testament, people! You have to earn your grace, keep your place before God, and constantly flog yourself with how deficient you really are. Shame on you for thinking grace would come freely to those who ask.
Actually, shame on you for worrying about whether you're good enough, or not.
But the clincher for me is this: if I were God for a day, of course I'd send myself. I'd be God! I'd know if I was fit for leading because leading is inherent to being God. He's right at the top of the heap when it comes to who's qualified for leading!
"Although it may seem nearly impossible to many to see another figure like Mother Teresa come along in history and make an impact the way she did, Hybels reminded the leaders that God continues to search for a yielded heart and that He has planned something greater for this generation.
'Greater things have yet to come', the thousands of leaders sang following Hybels' talk."
Greater than leadership summits? Greater than 'microwave wisdom'? Greater than using Mother Teresa as an excuse for wasting money on lavish conferences, and fancy gadgetry? Greater than questions that promote a sense of self-deprication, and false humility?
I should hope so.
But wait! Greater than the 2006 and 2007 Leadership Summits?
"In 2006 and 2007, the conference featured former US President Jimmy Carter, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell and U2 frontman Bono in its speaker line-up. Hybels acknowledged that many people carried doubts about this year's conference because of the lackluster line-up compared to previous years. But many affirmed with applause that they had not been disappointed this year."
So this year's turnout was disappointing because none of that $2,250,000 went to getting grade 'A' celebrities like former US Presidents, and Irish rock gods. Boo-hoo. It's a good thing though, that people were kind enough to give up the accolades for Bill Hybels. He's not quite at Bono's, or Colin Powell's level, but we can let him lead us just the same. We're holding out though for some real leaders next year, Billy.