HTB leadership Conference Live Blog
Thanks to the very generous people at HTB I was given a guest pass for today. So thank you. There’s a real buzz in the Albert Hall as the worship band kicks off the day. I’m no expert but it looks like Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon and the guy from Hill Songs up front. The light show is amazing, the screen is the most high def I have seen at a conference. We sing some anthems and then we are off. I will try and capture as much as I can for as long as i can… here goes…
There’s a bit of a funny pause as the Bishop of London is running a little late – its fun to watch Nicky Gumbel fill the time – some great fun and games
Bishop of London is described as the man who preached the gospel to more people at one time than anyother person in history. We watch a clip of Will and Kate’s wedding. The Bishop talks about his upbringing and explains that his mentally disabled younger brother “humanised me and he pointed me to God.”
Describing his youth the bishop says:
“I was so conservative as a young person that my parents had to rebel against me.
“In 1968 I turned up to the interview for my theological college wearing a bowler hat.”
“As I left “I have to tell you Chatres a man with your views has no place in the modern church of England”
Of his time as Chaplain to Archbishop Robert Runcie the bishop says
“I had a worm’s eye view of the Anglican Communion.”
“Silence and stillness are our main educators” the only way to listen to them is “to get up very early.” The Bishop explains he got up at 5.30am and realised that the Dali Lama had already been up for 2 hours.
The Bishop’s tips to young leaders who want to grow as a leader:
“you have to have some gifts to start with. Some of the most saintly people I know are not gifted to operate in public. So you need some leadership gifts to get started. There are saints to learn from so the reading of history for me has proved to be a continuing education.”
The people the Bishop have most learnt from “the early church, I have been spending the last few days with St Augustine’s city of god. Augustine’s life and reversals and suprises and the fact that he was very busy bishop is remarkable. How much he packed in.”
How are we going to train up more young leaders? “I don’t think we have been bloody, bold enough – I think now is the time because we know over the next 10 years 40% of the full time clergy in London will retire. Now is the time to say that “being a servant of the word of God is the most thrilling way to send your life” – we need to be more assertive and “dare I say cheerful – I go round trying to spread apathy where ever I go… but I am buoyed up by the enthusiasm of what God is doing around.”
There is only one church – we need to think London and think Christian.
Matt Redman takes to the stage with LZ7 – great performance of 27 million –
Christine Caine is up now – she founded the 8:21 organisation which is an antitrafficking group. She has written three books – they are a good summary of who she is says Nicky Gumbel. She is part of Hill Songs Sydney, church.
“A life unleashed”
“Stop acting like a Christian just be one”
“Can I do it all?”
I am here representing the nameless and faceless nobodies who are doing our best for Jesus. I am one of the convicts from the colonies. I am Greek – I apologise for bankcrupting the planet. We thank God for Nicky and Pippa for unifying so much of the body of Christ. I am glad that I am alive right now – as a woman I wouldn’t have been allowed to speak at all.
I went to a mission at the university of Sydney I was a Greek Orthodox and wouldn’t set foot in a protestant church– there’s a greek Cypriot that is speaking – there was a funny little man called J John who was doing a mission. I was part of the leadership team at Hill songs for over 20 years.
We watch a video about “expired food” – My parents don’t believe in expirtation dates. We believe in a God who doesn’t believe in expiration dates.
“The one thing we need to know – is that he who promises is faithful – if god has spoken a promise over your business or your church – I wanto to speak faith to us this morning – more than anything else – we need to learn how to stir up the gift of faith inside of us. Jesus will do what he said he will do – he who promised is faithful. We need to come right back to whom we believe…”
(she’s speaking very very fast…)
Judges 2 – when Joshua and his generation died – another generation arose that did not know God. What a sad enidghtment it would be if another generation arises that did not know the lord. We don’t have the option to quit… (come on – says Judah Smith in the background)
Little bit of history of the Olympic games and the US 4x100m women’s team. They had the fastest individual runners and the best track record. But in 2 succesive Olympics they first passed the baton too late and the second time they dropped the baton. It doesn’t matter how good you are, how fast you are – if the leadership does not pass the baton on early enough or if we drop the baton then we will affect the future of the church for bad.
“Currently we have more slaves than there has been in the history of humanity – that’s not ok with me.”
“God has not called us just to do church – but to be the church that makes the difference.”
Christine spoke for an hour – she was very dynamic – she reminded me a lot of Danielle Strickland and I would shares many of her amazing strengths as well as some of her weaknesses.
For me it was inspiring to see a woman so clearly commanding an auditorium of over 4000 church leaders, some of whom would have a problem with women preachers and yet she was bold, articulate, inspirational, quotable and insightful. Was it a perfect sermon – ofcourse not. But I have yet to hear the perfect sermon from anyone. As a piece of inspirational communication it was excellent.
The take home points for me was a challenge and an encouragement:
The challenge is asking if we are waiting too long to pass on leadership to the next generation – I have been reflecting on this a little bit. Do we want a strictly come dancing approach to leadership transition. Where Arelene is replaced by Aliesha? Arlene was actually a lot more insightful than Aliesha – she knew her dancing – and could comment and critique because of decades of experience whereas Aliesha offers a fresher face and attracts a different demographic. Perhaps we need more diversity in our leadership. I hope this isn’t just my reflections now that I tick a different box on the survey form – 40+. But I recently met a young leader who has been given enormous responsibility and I just don’t think they are up for it yet. They have been appointed because of youth not track record, experience, gifting or necessarily character. My job is not to be jealous but to offer support – but still I question whether the challenge to hand over leadership quicker should be matched by an equal charge to make sure we do sufficient training and equipping to release this younger leadership.
My other take home message was an encouragement – Christine spoke with passion about her own story of closed adoption and only discovering pretty late on (in her 30s) that she was adopted and of a serious abuse history she experienced at some point in her past. Her openness about this history was helpful and highly appropriate and empowering for many people who live with these kind of issues in their past. It gave me hope for the many many children in our care system who have no access at the moment to a church community or a gospel of hope and grace. Its timely that in the national fostering fortnight this kind of story should be shared.
These conferences are fantastic places to network and meet people. I had some really helpful meetings with leaders from Alpha, New frontiers and New Wine so ducked in and out of seminars. They seemed to be of variable quality – a lot seemed to use the talk at you for an hour style of learning which ofcourse has a place – but from time to time it would be worth the church engaging with a bit of education theory.