Tag Archives: Christian

A Conversation with Bill Hybels and Gary Schwammlein About The Global Leadership Summit

I had been traveling quite a bit and was trying to figure out what it was that made some churches and organizations prevail. It finally occurred to me that the common denominator to these flourishing organizations was leadership. The function of leadership was taking place at a higher level. The more I thought about it, I recognized that there was a lot of training available for other disciplines, but almost nothing that dealt with the function and potential of leadership. We launched The Global Leadership Summit (TGLS) 20 years ago to develop leaders that would in turn create thriving local churches and redeem their communities for Christ. Based on the response, we quickly learned that we were on to something and were addressing a need that people were really hungry for.

-Bill Hybels

FPpicThe Summit’s faculty draws not only upon the Christian community, but the expertise of leaders from a variety of disciplines. How do you reconcile this with the kingdom of Christ?

Bill: That’s something that makes TGLS completely unique. Each year we state that our highest value is humility. Humility allows us to learn from anyone. So every group represented has to humble themselves and realize that those from other sectors have something to offer us. We believe that if we do that, we are all going to get better.

Gary: When leaders get better, everyone wins. People all over the world are seeing that the Summit is more than just a conference to develop individual leadership skills but is actually a catalyst for changing a community. They use what they learn all year. We want to build prevailing churches that impact the world. Without great leaders, that will not happen. We want to reach people in all walks of life to advance the kingdom of God.

Why is the Summit so personal to you?

Bill: My father was a Christian and a successful businessman. He had a very hard time bringing those two worlds together. He would soar in his business but struggle in understanding how to make those principles available to his church and other faith-based organizations. People in those organizations also didn’t know how to tap into his abilities and acumen. I remember growing up thinking that it would be something if all of this knowledge could be traded equally among all of the organizations that so desperately needed the same thing. Churches, governments, and businesses all have to be well led. There is a lot being learned in each of these sectors, but very little sharing across sectors.

What are the plans for this year’s summit?

Gary: We have seen significant growth in attendance, particularly in the past few years, and we obviously would like for that to continue. There seems to be an added momentum surrounding the Summit not only in the U.S., but globally. We say it every year, but we think we have assembled the best faculty to date.

You are expecting the Summit to be held in over 125 countries around the world this year. How do you accomplish that?

Gary: We begin of course with hosting the Summit at the Willow Creek campus and broadcasting it via satellite to over 400 host sites in the U.S. and Canada. Everything is recorded and made available via DVD to those around the world wishing to host the Summit in their locations. These events begin in October and run through February or early March.

You did something pretty unique and bold last year by commissioning an independent survey to determine the effectiveness of the Summit. Can you tell us why you decided to do that?

Gary: Over the years, we have collected thousands of stories from attendees all around the world describing the impact that the Summit had on their lives – powerful, powerful stories over a wide range of topics. I always wondered if there any way to quantify that impact. Qualitative data is one thing, but what if we could determine the impact quantitatively? We knew that the conference was making a difference, but we wanted to try and quantify the impact over time and see how leaders lived and led once they returned home and how that was transferred to their churches, organizations, businesses and communities. So after many years, we found an agency, Excellence in Giving based in Colorado Springs, that had the ability to conduct a very specialized study and the results were amazing.

What surprised you the most?

Gary: For me personally, we found that 25% of repeat participants said that TGLS inspired them to share the gospel. On average, those who did not work in the church reported 38 first time commitments to Christ over the past two years and among those who were church leaders, an average of 54 first time commitments were reported. That is amazing! This is a leadership conference, yet people come and because of the variety offered and God’s Holy Spirit working, people get energized, they go home, and they are incredible witnesses for Christ.

Bill: We are fond of saying “facts are your friends”. Some leaders are only led by intuition, which can be effective, but if you have some data to support that intuition it is all the more better. We now have the data which proves that if people attend the summit year after year, there are very important shifts that take place in their leadership capabilities, in the decisions they make, the quality of teams they build, and the quality of vision they cast. If this has done anything, it has given us more confidence and more passion to expand the influence of the Summit. It changes people. It improves their leadership. And we have the facts to support it.

Who comes to the Summit?

Bill: It was fundamentally pastors to begin with, and they began to bring staff members. Then maybe 5 years into it, we began to see pastors invite business leaders from their church, board members, donors, that type of thing. When the business leaders began to see the value of the Summit, they invited colleagues and people from their senior executive teams. From there, we kind of found our way into the NGO world and then the education environment – colleges and universities. It’s just been an ever increasing concentric circle – government, military bases. We are now finding our way into prisons. The beautiful thing about the subject of leadership is that it is relevant in every setting of society.

The Summit sounds very unique in terms of its constituencies. Doesn’t it takes a holistic approach to reach them all?

Bill: Without question. It is excruciatingly difficult to pull off well. This year, we have a business person from a large company who is bringing 250 people from his top leadership team. Most of them have no religious affiliation whatsoever. Those people are not anticipating that they will hear 30 minute talks from pastors and that prayers will be prayed and songs to God will be sung. We are at the point where it’s a challenge to touch all of those various sectors the way they need and expect to be touched. But, it’s a challenge that we welcome.

What kind of feedback do you get from those who were not expecting what they experienced?

Bill: I think the growth of the Summit probably speaks to that. It has grown from 2,000 to 250,000, so most of the people who come have found great value in it. At the end of the day, I think it’s such a well-rounded experience that people say there’s nothing else like it, and I want more.

Gary: We want to make the Summit the best leadership conference people can attend. We don’t apologize for the fact that it’s held in a Christian environment. Many people who come find Christ while they are there. Last year, a contingency of 50 Chinese business leaders came. Five of them found Christ, and 3 were baptized while at the conference.

Do you have any favorite stories?

Bill: The stories that register most profoundly with me are those about pastors receiving new vision for something they never thought could be carried out in their environment. But, they come to the Summit, get their confidence bolstered, their faith deepened and the power of vision grabs hold of them. By the same token, it is equally as gratifying for me when a business person gets the grander vision. When they say, I’m not just making widgets Monday-Friday and then going to church on Sunday, but I’m going to make widgets and build a team that is valued and functioning at a high level. I’m going to do all of this for the glory of the One whose name I bear.

Gary: I have the privilege to travel around the world, and I hear stories from every country. One of the most encouraging things for me is when a pastor says I was ready to quit but didn’t do so because of the Summit. Results from the survey indicated that a remarkable 96% of return participants said that they gained courage to lead in spite of opposition while attending the Summit. Two months later, at the time the survey was conducted, 10% said that they would have quit had it not been for inspiration they received from the Summit – that is huge to me.

To listen to an interview with Bill and Gary click here: http://www.firstpersoninterview.com/bill-hybels-gary-schwammlein/

For more information about The Global Leadership Summit visit:
http://www.willowcreek.com/events/leadership/

Q&A with Sean Dunn Founder and Executive Director of JesusCares.com

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Q: What motivated you to create the ministry of JesusCares.com?

A window of opportunity now exists for us to bring the Gospel to a generation that is literally dying without it. Not with an invitation that can be rejected, but with an invasion of truth that interrupts the lives of people ages 15-25 through the media that they use every day. Our unique strategy—to “go into all the world and preach the good news to all” by leveraging mainstream media and technology—is doable, cost-effective, and cutting edge. More importantly, it’s working.

Q: Through the JesusCares initiative, the parent ministry, Groundwire, is continuing to grow and to “interrupt” the lives of teens across the entire country. What has been your strategy for gaining exposure?

Groundwire’s strategy is to buy ad time on television and radio stations. Our thirty and sixty-second, Christ-centered radio spots proclaim the message of God’s unconditional love to millions via some of the most influential secular stations. We also reach our target audience through television buys on MTV, VH1, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Comedy Central, TruTV, and Nick at Night.

Q: What happens after someone views or hears a JesusCares spot? How do you then go beyond the radio and TV spots to share the message of the Gospel?

After encountering a JesusCares ad, young people are directed to our website to download podcasts, read online devotionals, or talk with a spiritual coach. Hundreds of volunteers from around the world form a team that offers coaching 24 hours a day. Since 2006, we’ve interacted with broken and searching youth on thousands of live chats. Students are drawn to the honest dialogue we offer about spiritual issues, often receiving Christ as their Savior as a result of our coaches’ ministry. We then connect as many as we can to local churches and resources where they can continue to grow. We are praying for more volunteer coaches to join our ministry.

Q: Some Christians might be hesitant to volunteer as a coach because they feel they aren’t qualified. What kind of person makes a good spiritual coach?

A: Spiritual coaches are sold-out Believers who are committed to the Great Commission and love people. They realize that although they are not perfect, God desires to speak through them. They realize that technology offers amazing opportunities to minister to people all over the world. Coaches need to be over eighteen and willing to submit to a background check and go through the necessary training. The key qualifications are compassion, a teachable spirit, good listening skills, sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading, patience, resilience and authenticity.

Q: What does the process of becoming a coach look like?

A: Training begins when an application is completed and returned to the Director of Ministry. From that point, the majority of training is done online and consists of learning how to deal with the different types of conversations that might take place. There are a series of written responses that take place in email format and then an online mock chat as well.

Q: Describe the issues JesusCares coaches address most often as they interact with young people.

A: The most common issues include:

• Self-Image: Students are trying to figure out who they are. They are looking for acceptance, belonging, and meaning.

• Loneliness: An abnormal number of people live lonely and desperate lives in the midst of families that care and with crowds all around. They feel isolated and as if no one cares.

• Hopelessness: Many students feel that their life will never get better. They are trapped in painful circumstances and can’t envision a time when things will get better.

• Fear of Failure: They are afraid that they won’t live up to others’ expectations for them. Some respond by placing all of their value on their achievements. Others stop trying all together. They won’t disclose their goals, so that no one will ever know if they fail.

• Transition to Independence: Many students rely on their parents’ faith, morals, and convictions without developing their own. When it’s time to venture out and make their own choices, they give leadership of their life to the first person or group that comes along.

• Lust, Immorality, and Sexual Addiction: Many people (even Christian young people) are caught in this horrible battle with lust. They are drawn in by sexual images and fantasies but then feel dirty and guilty after giving in to them. The shame that comes from sexual mistakes continues to hold them in a difficult cycle. They want to be pure but don’t know how to get there.

• Spiritual Connection: They hunger for a real and personal relationship with the Living God. They long to know God intimately but have never been taught how. It has not been intentionally modeled for them. So, they wonder if the person down the street, who appears so close, loves them more than a seemingly distant God. They think something is wrong with them.

Q: Through JesusCares and other initiatives, Groundwire targets not just teenagers, but young people in their early twenties. Why do you think young adults continue to struggle with so many issues that were once associated just with the teenage years?

A: Young adults do not have the stability of healthy families, strong spiritual lives, and distinct purpose that used to be more common. They are struggling to find themselves, find purpose, and find hope. To quote scripture, this generation is “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” When Jesus recognized these conditions in Matthew 9:35-38, he came to a conclusion. “The harvest is plentiful”.

Q: How have you seen JesusCares impact the families of the young people you counsel?
A: One young man we coached first responded to a JesusCares spot because of fears over his parents’ constant fighting. During the chat with our coach, “Taylor” accepted Christ. A few days later, he discovered that a friend on his lacrosse team was a Christian. That friend invited him to church. Soon, Taylor’s family visited the church to witness his baptism. Before long, the rest of the family responded to the gospel, and his parents sought relationship counseling through the church. In Taylor’s words, “My home feels different now. It will take time, but my parents say they want our house to be `full of Jesus’ from now on.”

Q: Not all the individuals reached by JesusCares are non-believers. How have coaches encouraged Christians who are struggling?
A: There are countless stories. Recently, one of our coaches encouraged a teenage girl from a believing family to tell her parents she needed to take a pregnancy test. Praying with the coach and experiencing the support of her parents has helped this young woman deal with feelings of shame and fear and withstand pressure from the baby’s father to get an abortion.
Q: What is your vision for the future of JesusCares?
A: We are working towards a national launch and anticipating this impacting millions in the US before we take it into some other strategic nations. The goal is to flood the culture with pictures/messages about Jesus as He truly is–kind, loving, compassionate, and forgiving.

www.JesusCares.com

Q&A with Bill Myers about The Jesus Experience PART 1

billmyerspicA portion of The Jesus Experience is about love vs. works. You compare works to a “Father-son project”. Can you elaborate on that comparison?

So often we get the Great Commission ahead of the Great Commandment. We wear ourselves out trying to serve God instead of adoring Him. We’re like a dry wick in an oil lamp burning ourselves up, instead of saturating ourselves in His Presence and burning the oil of His Spirit. Yes, He’s called us to serve, but even that is to draw us deeper into Him. Who are we fooling? He doesn’t need us to work for Him. He can create anything He wants – except our friendship. That’s the one thing we can give Him that He cannot give Himself. Serving Him is simply a way to work side by side with Him to become better friends as we learn, love and yes, even laugh, with Him. And from that relationship comes more fruit than I ever dreamed possible.

You confessed that you saw people as objects, as tools to advance God’s kingdom instead of His children. How has the shift in your perspective impacted your life, relationships, and ministry?

Very subtly my purpose in life had become achieving success for God instead of enjoying my intimacy with Him. I had become a Martha servaholic, instead of Mary sitting at His feet loving Him. “The Jesus Experience” is about how to return to being Mary, to adoring first (which actually increases our doing). When that happens we begin to see people as God sees them – not as instruments to accomplish His purposes but as His beloved children. We see them not through the critical eyes of “what’s wrong with them” but through the loving eyes of “what’s missing”.

You talk about a place where you go to worship and pray to God in private every day. Can you describe why you feel this is an important part of your relationship? What would you recommend to those that a place of solitude is far out of reach?

Many of my Christian friends know all about Jesus, chapter and verse, but they don’t know Him. They love Him with all of their mind, but not all their heart. It’s like marriage. The only way you get to love someone is by spending deep quality time talking AND LISTENING to them. Not attending classes on how to be a good husband. Not talking to my spouse. Not even service (I did not fall in love with her by emptying the cat box for her). I fell in love with my wife by listening to her – deeply. If the Bible is true and God speaks to us in a “still small voice,” it’s important we quieten ourselves enough to hear Him. Wherever we can find that “quiet place,“ becomes our place of solitude. It can be anywhere . . . even on the freeway during rush hour (if I keep the radio off).

In today’s fast paced world, spending time in the Word can be difficult. You refer to using a technique called lectio divina. Can you explain that further?

It’s an approach to the Scriptures dating as far back as the third century. Instead of racing through a chapter a day or, worse yet, trying to read the Bible in an entire year, I’ll park on one verse or section, taking the time to slowly savor its deepest meaning. I’ll chew on it, often reading it several times, asking the Holy Spirit to do what He loves – instructing and guiding me. Yes, there is a definite time to study scripture in its context, to know the history, to know the background, but that’s more of a mental exercise. The spiritual exercise, which should come during my deepest worship times, is simply drinking in and waiting upon the Lord for any personal insight He may have for me.

Bill Myers is an award winning author and filmmaker, whose work in Christian media has impacted millions across the world. Through a casual, friendly tone and humor peppered throughout, The Jesus Experience is an enjoyable roadmap to a deeper relationship with God through freedom found in Christ. Myers has created the perfect crossroad between approachable and attainable that all believers can appreciate.

www.BillMyers.com

Calling All History Makers

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Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.

– Harry S. Truman
33rd President of the United States

The Global Leadership Summit Catalyzes, Inspires & Equips Leaders for Global Impact
Where would we be without leaders? If President Truman is right, society would grind to a halt, stagnate and eventually die. History itself would cease to be written. For 20 years, The Global Leadership Summit (TGLS) has been actively ensuring that this unfortunate demise never occurs through its efforts to catalyze, inspire and develop Christian leaders around the world. In fact, the Summit and every other endeavor of the Willow Creek Association (WCA), centers around a singular idea – that inspired, encouraged, and equipped Christian leaders create thriving local churches that redeem their communities for Christ.

According to an independent study commissioned by WCA and conducted by Excellence in Giving based in Colorado Springs, the annual conference is making a significant impact in inspiring leaders to actionable change within their spheres of influence. The study specifically revealed that TGLS is playing a vital role in ensuring a steady supply of passionate & qualified leadership, giving valid cause for hope that society can genuinely be changed for Christ.

With a solid 3% margin of error and 99% confidence level, responses from repeat participants in TGLS indicate that the event has a positive effect in several areas critical to an ongoing presence of courageous, dedicated and skillful leaders. A sampling of attendee feedback is included.

1) The Global Leadership Summit Sustains & Inspires Leaders
• 96% said that they gained courage to lead amidst opposition while at the Summit. 10% said “they would have quit their leadership position without inspiration from TGLS speakers to persevere”

“I left vocational ministry in 2006. I was burnt out, and I quit. I went to the Summit as a business person and became so convicted by all the speakers (Louie and Bill in particular) that I am now exploring my calling into ministry in fresh and exciting ways. It may be vocational or may be as a business person. Either way, my life and the lives of others I will be with is now changed.”

• 77% said that they experienced God in a special way while attending the Summit. 32% reported a “revitalized relationship with God” as a result of TGLS.
“All of the speakers had an impact on me in varying degrees. I think the two that had the most, were Louie Giglio and Tyler Perry. They brought an element that tied my faith into my daily walk and leadership responsibilities. They inspired me to want to continue in an intimate relationship with the Lord, to work harder to share that intimacy with the Lord in my relationship with others, whether it is personal or professional. To grow in Christ and let Him work through me in all areas of my life.”

2) The Global Leadership Summit Catalyzes New Leaders
• Amazingly, 19% of U.S. attendees believe they do not lead anyone. Yet, the percentage drops significantly with attendees that return year after year suggesting that an ongoing involvement with TGLS enables people to discover the leader within.

• 28% of attendees were inspired to start new leadership roles. 87% of those reported feeling a “greater sense of significance and satisfaction” in the new work or volunteer position

“After 2013 Summit, I felt God challenge me to take on a leadership role with the young adult ministry at my church. That year, we had maybe 5 regular young people attend our church. But as this summer went by, I found more college kids to become part of my leadership team and we’ve grown to about 20 people. Attending this year’s Summit has energized our group, and we are making bold plans to make a greater impact in our church, community and ministry. I’ve seen God take ahold of my life and others around me to become the light to our local college campuses. I can’t wait to see what He has in store for us. I wouldn’t have had this team come together without the Summit, so I’m very grateful for WCA.”
3) The Global Leadership Summit Develops & Equips Leaders
• 65% of repeat participants had taught, on average, 68 other people over the past two years about leadership
• 81% of attendees cited concrete ways their supervisor had become a better leader as a result of TGLS

“After attending the previous 3 years, I felt compelled to bring my team this year. I understand that by providing leadership training to everyone, everyone has an opportunity to find the leader inside them. I will now focus my efforts to mentor the team members who discovered or renewed a calling or specific focus for them.”

In 2014, more than 227,000 leaders in 798 cities and 112 countries were equipped at the Summit, and they are making history!

The Global Leadership Summit is August 6-7, 2015
Register at a Premier Host Site Location – Call 800-570-9812 for details and registration assistance.

www.WillowCreek.com

Redemption Starts Now

Finding Your Place in God’s Movement to Radically Transform a Broken World

jesusagendaA single Texas mother must choose between paying the rent or buying groceries for her family. Children in an African village go barefoot because their families cannot afford shoes. A young Guatemalan girl is sold into slavery in the sex trade. How does God respond to this brokenness? And what does all of this have to do with the average American Christian?

Dr. Albert Reyes serves as the CEO of Buckner International, a global Christian ministry focused on serving vulnerable children, orphans, seniors, and their families. In his new book, The Jesus Agenda, Reyes explores the blueprint for ministry laid out in Jesus’ first sermon recorded in the Gospel of Luke. The directions are clear. To be like Jesus, we must become, first and foremost, agents of redemption. Jesus came to redeem the lost—not just secure their eternity in Heaven but deliver them from darkness on earth.

“I used to think serving vulnerable children, orphans and seniors was not my job or within my scope of ministry. I guess I had not read my Bible very well,” Reyes recalls. “In my mindset, social ministry and evangelism were mutually exclusive. As I have grown as a follower of Jesus, I’ve come to realize that the practical impact of the gospel and the gospel message of salvation cannot be separated. It is two sides of the same coin. Personal faith in Jesus as your redeemer goes far beyond solving the spiritual problem we have with sin. This is the Jesus agenda – preaching good news to the poor, proclaiming freedom for the prisoners, recovering sight for the blind, releasing the oppressed, and proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor. It is the ministry to which every Christian is called.”

The Jesus Agenda confronts western Christians living in relative prosperity and comfort with detailed accounts of the desperate circumstances plaguing “the least of these” around the world. What is God’s heart for the fatherless in the global village? What should our response be to the 60,000 unaccompanied and undocumented minors that came to our border in 2014 seeking a better life? How does an agent of redemption reconcile the reality of life in the West with life in the developing world when it comes to matters of faith and action?

“I want readers to prayerfully consider this question: How would your profession or vocational skills benefit the poor, those in prison, the physically challenged, and those who are oppressed in your community? “Reyes says. “You have been placed where you are for a reason. You have a role to play in someone’s redemption story.”
Reyes believes the advent of the internet, the ease of international travel, and the abundance of financial resources place heavier responsibility on those of us in the West to serve “the least of these” in our global village—both at home and abroad.
“Redemption may mean reuniting a baby and his mother,” Reyes says. “It may mean giving a cup of cold water, a meal, a shower, or a pair of shoes to a family crossing our border without documents. Wherever we have an opportunity to shine hope into the lives of the least of these, we apply our hands and feet in redemptive ways to catch up to what God is doing on the planet.”

The Jesus Agenda weaves together the redemptive stories of biblical figures including Moses, Joseph, Ruth, and Zacchaeus, drawing faith principles from each then applying those principles through present day stories from Buckner’s worldwide ministry—the American single mother and her children who escaped a violent relationship and found a fresh start, the village in Peru that was relieved of sickness thanks to water filtration programs, the kidnapped Guatemalan infant who was rescued and returned to his mother, and many more. Each chapter concludes with thought-provoking discussion questions, making The Jesus Agenda an ideal vehicle for church small groups or individual study.

The Jesus Agenda: Becoming an Agent of Redemption is written by Dr. Albert Reyes
For more information visit
www.JesusAgenda.com

About Buckner:
For more than 136 years, Buckner International has been transforming lives through hands-on ministry, serving the most vulnerable from the beginning to the ending of life. Buckner is one of the oldest and most unique faith-based social service organizations of its kind, serving people each year in the United States and worldwide.

Prayer, Pursuing God’s Imaginably More

Prayer frequently receives positive medical and media exposure for its benefit to the human soul. From lowering blood pressure to aiding in recovery from surgery, prayer is recognized as a valuable practice even in the secular world. Dr. Mac Pier was instrumental in the formation of the New York City united prayer movement, Concerts of Prayer Greater New York in 1988, and is the current founder of The New York City Leadership Center and their annual Movement Day congress. He has witnessed first-hand what prayer can do for the individual, as well as for cities. Pier’s mission is to see the great global cities of the world transformed by the Gospel of Christ, and he believes that prayer is a fundamental pre-requisite if that mission is to be realized.

In a recent article on the blog Collaborations, Pier reflects on a few key events of the past year that all point to the possibilities that exist when we pray. He issues a challenge to Christian leaders in cities everywhere to pursue God’s “imaginably more” through prayer.

“This past September, I had the opportunity to witness the power of prayer in a Pentecostal Church in Gothenburg, Sweden. Much of the country is greatly under churched. Yet, in this one congregation, some 450 Iranians have been baptized in the past two years. This is a great example of God rearranging people in the world to accomplish a greater purpose. More Muslims have converted to Christianity in the past 15 years than in the past 1500 years combined. Christians have been praying.
In watching the emerging interest from diverse cities around the world in Movement Day we are witnessing many “immeasurably more” moments unfold. These moments are the results of a twenty-five year old concert of united prayer (Concerts of Prayer) in New York City.

• In Columbus, Ohio, more than 1000 leaders gathered to pray on a Sunday night this past September. Being evenly represented by African-Americans and Anglos, it was a great sign of hope for a globally influential city with a world-class university, state capital, and thriving business community.
• Early in 2015, more than three hundred pastors and leaders gathered for the 24th annual Pastor’s Prayer Summit of Greater New York.
• February 1, 2015 will mark the 20th anniversary of The Lord’s Watch – a daily prayer vigil that has knit churches together for Greater New York.
• In Dallas, TX, A Prayed 4 City, was launched in January 2013. One year later over 1400 leaders gathered for the first Movement Day Greater Dallas event, described by many as the most diverse gathering of its type in memory.
God’s greatest passion for our cities is to see His people come together in visible unity. The most effective way to do this is to pray together. Prayer accelerates trust geometrically and more quickly than any other initiative in a city. It grounds us in a true sense of proportion to who God is and who we are.
What gives prayer real power, imaginably more power, is the simplicity of agreement on what we believe God wants to do in our cities. As we love our cities, love the church in all of its expression, and pray together, God will do immeasurably more.”

You can read more about the leadership initiatives of The New York City Leadership Center by visiting www.nycleadership.com as well as by subscribing to their blog Collaborations.

Vision, Diversity & Collaboration

The Dream is Still Alive at Movement Day Greater Dallas

Some may only see Martin Luther King, Jr. as a voice of racial reconciliation. However, King spoke often to the power of the gospel and the Church in achieving societal improvement. Movement Day Greater Dallas (MDGD) second annual congress on January 22, the same week as Martin Luther King Day, will encompass a diverse cultural and ethnic constituency of Christian leaders from business, education, healthcare, nonprofits, government, and the church.

MDGD is not just a social movement; it is also a spiritual one, just as the civil rights movement had at its core a spiritual foundation that many in 2015 seem to have forgotten. It strives to promote a unity that overcomes hate, violence, and injustice. The goal of MDGD is city transformation through Christian communities working together, and as a result, bringing reconciliation and healing across all cultural and ethnic boundaries through a collective gospel movement in the city.

In Beyond Vietnam 1967 Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.”
“In the same way, the principles of unity in action being prioritized by MDGD are in absolute harmony with this quote. We know that this kind of love trumps all of the challenges facing our cities today. We are not attempting to be ‘nice’. We are not trying to be socially correct. We are moving to have transforming impact through God’s kind of love and works,” states Jon Edmonds, Executive Director of Movement Day Greater Dallas.

Founder of Movement Day and The New York City Leadership Center, Mac Pier comments, “Part of the legacy of Dr. King is teaching us the profound truth that being radically loved by someone radically different is the most powerful expression of the gospel. Dr. King embodied the value of being a voice for the voiceless and celebrating the radical act of God to become like one of us in order to communicate His love for us. MDGD is a sign of hope to the cities of the world just as Dr. King’s legacy is an enduring sign of hope to the world.”

Buckner International, a lead partner for MDGD, is actively involved. “The vision of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King gave us hope for a better nation, the possibility for a greater union, and a pathway toward a better future for all Americans. He envisioned a nation shaped by a mosaic of cultural diversity and uncommon unity. Remembering his life and work reminds us we still have work to do, changes to make, and a new future to create. MDGD is an effort for Dallas area leaders to accelerate the development of the kind of future Dr. King envisioned,” comments President and CEO of Buckner International, Albert L. Reyes.

One Dallas marketplace leader cited Dr. King as saying, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”. Gregg Whiteman, president of Gregory Whiteman Investments, Inc. added, “MDGD addresses such challenging issues as human trafficking and poverty as well as sensitive issues like racism. This is the best opportunity to unite us all and help eradicate these problems.”

“Dr. King dedicated his life to God, peace, and non-violent social change. He was focused on the enhancement of society and MDGD exemplifies the spirit and principles for which Dr. King stood. As one of the keynote speakers for MDGD, I want to keep the spirit alive and invite all to join the movement!” says Dr. K. Shelette Stewart, Associate Director at SMU Cox Executive Education.

In celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. King, we also celebrate what a unified church, a church standing in agreement with God’s word, can accomplish. “If it were not for the church answering the call, the civil rights movement would have been reduced to nothing more than an event. By God’s design, Dr. King was the vessel that God chose to champion His will concerning equality in America. And, by God’s design, the unified church was the vehicle that God chose to establish His will concerning equality. MDGD represents a unified church moving from expression to establishment, for the furtherance of the gospel, and the establishment of God’s kingdom here on earth,” states Area Executive Director of Prison Fellowship, Mercury V. Bynum II.

Movement Day Greater Dallas is a collaborative leadership initiative of The New York City Leadership Center founded by Dr. Mac Pier. As the first replication of Movement Day in New York City, MDGD is a model for expanding gospel movements in cities around the world. Our mission is to accelerate city transformation through Christian communities working together in the Greater Dallas area.

_CDE4077JOIN THE MOVEMENT
Movement Day Greater Dallas
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center
www.MovementDayGreaterDallas.com