Monday, 21 August 2017


Impact! That’s the best single word verb I can come up with to describe the Summit 2017. So much so that I stayed awake the entire time from 1.30am to 9.00am on both days two weeks ago when I watched the Global Leadership Summit (live at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago) via a very good satellite feed. As always, a faculty of fantastic speakers from the Church, NGO, Business, Academic and Research sectors who delivered high impact talks that will have enough content to provide a year or more of excellent leadership development content. It is also interesting to note that the WCA office in America tell me that they have received the strongest feedback in many years.

As is the case every year, different speakers impact people differently. There is no right or wrong. For me the top three were Bryan Stevenson, Andy Stanley and Sheryl Sandberg. The next three were Juliet Funt, Gary Haugen, and Marcus Buckingham. 

Check out the Summit 2017 Highlights video by clicking on the picture at the top of this post.

SHERYL SANDBERG – Chief Operating Officer, Facebook
Sheryl Sandberg is chief operating officer at Facebook, overseeing the company’s business operations. Prior to Facebook, she was vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google and chief of staff for the United States Treasury Department. Sandberg is the best-selling author of Lean In. Her 2017 release, Option B, is an inspiring and practical book about finding resilience and moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks.

  • “When you’re offered a seat on the rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat, you just get on the ship.”
  • “Hire big means to hire people with unbelievable skills and hire people that you want on your team before you need them on the team.”
  • “I started asking how much resilience do I have—but the better question is how do I build more resilience in my life?”
  • “We’ve heard of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), but not Post Traumatic Growth.”

ANDY STANLEY – Leadership  Author, Communicator, Pastor
Andy Stanley founded North Point Ministries (NPM) more than 20 years ago. Today, NPM is comprised of six churches in the Atlanta area and a network of 30 churches around the globe, collectively serving nearly 70,000 people weekly. Recently, Outreach Magazine identified Stanley as one of the Top 10 Most Influential Pastors in America. The author of more than 20 books, he is passionate about serving both church and organizational leaders.

  • “Listen to outsiders.”
  • “Outsiders aren’t bound by our assumptions.”
  • “Close-minded leaders close minds.”
  • “Be a student, not a critic.”
Many of my readers know that I have a huge respect for Andy not only because of his unrelenting pursuit to do church better but because of his lifelong commitment to reach unchurched people. Do you know that his Saturday Night Show now reaches over one million people. How cool is that?

And there is so much more world-class teaching that has made me think and has definitely inspired me.

So, can I urge you to go to our website here and register before the Early Bird rate closes one month before the date of the event you choose to go to. Also check out our Team Incentive option here.

While we are talking about great leadership, let me briefly say something about ‘The Jacinda Effect’. Without a doubt, Jacinda Ardern’s promotion to leader of the Labour Party has changed almost everything in this year’s election campaign season. And to be honest, I can’t help but be impressed—very impressed actually (and I have never voted Labour in my life). What I think is much more interesting is the fabulous leadership case study that is unfolding before our very eyes. I would like to encourage you to look closely at what she is saying and doing with your leadership lenses on.

Finally, I just love social enterprise stories like these: A very good business with even better social outcomes.


Monday, 12 June 2017

My Eyes Have Been Opened . . . Oh My Goodness . . .

Over the last few weeks I’ve learnt a few things—never too old to learn.

  1. Meeting Jessica Harris. Aside from her being an outstanding ambassador for Christ, a champion for the local church, a very gifted 31-year-old speaker and a very nice person, she brought a very sobering message about pornography.  Did you know that according to Barna Research 50% of pastors in America confess to some kind of struggle with porn? I doubt it is any different in NZ. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The ‘hooks’ it has in so many young people, both male and female, is nothing short of frightening. WillowNZ will be addressing this issue again next year, that’s for sure.
  2. Meeting a Christian who has been born and breed in Saudi Arabia. Jeanette and I had the privilege of hosting this man for one night last week. Saudi is, of course, the ‘cradle’ of Islam where both Mecca and Medina are. Our dinner-time conversation was eye-opening to say the least, as we heard about life in an Islamic country where Sharia Law is the rule of law. It prompted me to think about what we should do as a follow-up to Dr Mark Durie’s visit two years ago.
  3. The number of under-13-year-olds on anti-depressants has increased by 80% in ten years to 2163 youngsters, and the number of 14 to 18-year-olds on anti-depressants has more than doubled in ten years to 12,617 youngsters. You can see the 2-minute clip here from last week Wednesday’s TV1 news. It starts at 6.33 minutes. The timing of our Mental Health and the Church conferences couldn’t be better in this respect given that we are focusing on the mental health of children and teenagers this year.
  4. Domestic Violence is such a sad fact in our nation. But did you know how bad the problem really is? Last year 110,000 incidents of violence against women were reported to the Police. That’s 300 incidents every single day of the year. Good grief, it is too hard to believe! Women’s Refuge1 say that this is only 20% of the total number of women affected. NZ has the highest rate of domestic violence in the OECD. I don’t get it! How come we have become such a violent society? How come so many men (mostly) get so angry that they lose control and hit and bash the people that love them the most? We have had a few instances in our neighbourhood in Raglan, if you please, where either Jeanette or I or both have intervened. It’s horrible; there’s no other word for it. May all our churches become safe places for children, women and men to run to if they are at risk and/or have suffered any kind of abuse.

Finally. I guess we are all following the high drama in high places in America right now. What I think is one of the most compelling statements made under oath by James Comey to the Senate Committee last week was this: “I documented my interactions with Trump in memos because I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meetings, and so I thought it really important to document”. As at writing we don’t know where the truth lies, and in many ways, that is now a secondary issue in my mind. I think it is shocking that the head of the FBI even has to do such a thing. But that is a whole other discussion.

I suspect a few of my readers will say, “This is a very negative blog, Alan”. It is! It is a small window into our increasingly broken and fragile world. BUT, where there is brokenness and darkness, the gospel can be at its very best. And so can the local church.