It's been two exciting few days at the Global Leadership Summit. I've attended the Scottish versions of this event twice at which the talks are viewed on dvd and those have been great events.But, from the stunning Willow Creek Community Church campus to the committed service of the five thousand church members who have volunteered to look after us during the conference, the real thing has been exceptional. The church has escalators, two balconies and the seats are better than those we sat in when we went to the cinema the other evening. This local church has more people attending it at the weekend than the whole of the Scottish Episcopal Church. It is BIG (but servant-hearted!).
The quality of the teaching has been very high and I have been both uplifted and challenged by what I have learned or been reminded of. I believe the expression used over here is "God has rocked my world".
Catherine Rohr of Prison Entrepreneurship Programme was amazing today and the powerful testimonies of the former prisoners who shared the platform with her moved everyone in the auditorium. She articulated a huge problem - how is it we can handle David and Paul as murderers, because they are oldschool, but can't offer real forgiveness for people today who have paid their debt to society but will forever be ex-cons in the eyes of the world? Where is the new beginning for them? We have a problem in the UK getting faith-based programmes like this into the prisons. Yet the statistics indicate that real transformation is taking place in prisoners' lives through this ministry.
Bill Hybels shared in the closing session from his study of Mother Teresa's life on how to pursue relentlessly the calling the Lord has given us.
So many of the faculty have shared nuggets on personal management, casting vision and keeping focussed on the task at hand. I am brimming with ideas and excitement at what the Lord wants to do. The Summit comes to Glasgow on 3-4th October - I recommend church leaders and business people to check it out. You can get a flavour of what's been happening here.
I've also spent some time with some new friends from the Church of the Resurrection (Rez), Wheaton, Illinois. I even got to sit in on one of their staff meetings this afternoon over lunch. It's nice to know the issues dealt with are universal.
Tomorrow we begin the road trip part of our time in America with a long drive to Memphis probably via St Louis.
I'm going to Graceland, Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee..............