Summit helps participants lead where they are

By Mary M. Rall
Community Covenant Church

The Global Leadership SummitCommunity Covenant Church will host the Global Leadership Summit Aug. 6-7, and the experience may be the first step to better understanding the heights God is calling participants to personally or professionally.

Brent George of Anchorage has attended GLS for the last five years, and his passion for the event contributed significantly to CCC hosting the summit this year.

“It expanded my horizons and allowed me to look at more than just my front yard,” George said, who works as an electronics technician. “There is a great, big world out there, and God has something to contribute through me to it.”

Summing up what to anticipate from the GLS can be challenging, though, said Ted Hammett, an information technology project manager from Eagle River.

“I’ve kind of struggled with this question, in particular how to invite coworkers to a religious-centric event,” Hammett said. “In a nutshell, I would call it a world-class leadership/teaching seminar. It’s an enjoyable opportunity to hear from real-time entrepreneurs, industry leaders and the best of the best teachers and authors.”

This year’s GLS lineup includes 13 Christian and secular speakers, to include Ellevate Network Chairwoman Sallie Krawcheck, Wharton School of Business Professor Adam Grant, Hillsong Church Founder and Global Senior Pastor Brian Houston, LifeChurch.tv Founder and Senior Pastor Craig Groeschel and Walt Disney Animation Studios President Ed Catmull.

“It’s an incredible opportunity. Where else and when else in the world’s history have you been able to attend an event focused on being who Jesus called you to be simultaneously with 250,000 other liked-minded Christians in pursuit of knowing Jesus more?” Hammett asked.

The event will be simulcast by the Willow Creek Association, and CCC will be one of more than 375 locations throughout the country to participate in the experience. Hammett said the summit will allow participants to mingle with fellow believers from the local community while simultaneously hearing the ministry of the Word, learning how Christ’s love is being lived throughout the world today and having access to high-quality resources to continue their personal journey of “becoming a disciple who can make disciples.”

The event’s name can be a bit deceiving, though, and George stressed the event isn’t just for those who work or serve in managerial positions.

“Most of us are not in a position of leadership,” George said, “yet we all have influence to speak into another’s life. They will value our opinion, even if they don’t agree with it. That is leadership.”

The summit is more about learning to lead where you are, rather than being in a management position, Hammett added.

“It means to be intentional about becoming a disciple who makes disciples. It means being intentional about moving toward being Christ-like in every aspect of my life,” he said. “Ultimately, it means living a life that is becoming who Jesus would be if He were me in the ordinary moments of my everyday life.”

Some of the event’s featured topics designed to help participants to that end are titled “Crushing the Power Chasm,” “Thanks for the Feedback,” “Creating World-class Service,” “Leading with Leftovers” and “Creativity Inc.”

“The concept of ‘Falling Down Can Be Your Greatest Call’ appeals to me personally,” Hammett said. “I have failed many times. I have stumbled and tripped as a believer; as a husband; as a friend; certainly as a leader; and most poignantly right now, as a father—simply as a fallible human.

“My middle son took his own life just eight months ago at age 19. There is desperately desired hope in the statement ‘owning our stories of struggle gives us the power to write a daring new ending,’” he said. “My heart breaks anew, and my spirit wails with the statement. I so wish I could change one ending that I cannot, but I have hope that Jesus’ power at work in me can yet ‘write daring new endings’ that matter.”

Hammett said one of his most memorable GLS experiences was five years ago when he invited his then 12-year-old son, Noah, to the event, never imagining he would not only want to attend, but would jump into the experience with both feet.

“I honestly thought I might be wasting the attendance fee, thinking he would roll his eyes and not engage in the old man’s idea of ‘great Jesus stuff,’” he said. “Wow, was I wrong. He ate it up, he took notes and talked to me after every session.”

The following year, Hammett said he was unable to participate in the event, so Noah attended with his mother, Renee. Now, the Hammetts attend annually as a family.

“The greatest lesson learned was mine,” Hammett said. “The message, the call, the challenge and the invitation are for everyone. Jesus seizes whom He seizes. Invite everyone, most particularly your own family and those in your circle of influence.”

Registration for GLS is available for $89 until July 7 for regular attendees of CCC at www.communitycovenant.net. The cost will increase to $119 per person July 8 through Aug. 7. Members of the CCC congregation can obtain the discount code by emailing mary@communitycovenant.net.

More information on GLS and its featured speakers and topics is available at www.willowcreek.com/events/leadership.