Travelling home after a really encouraging time at the HTB leadership summit. Here are my highlights from day 2. You can read my reflections on day 1 here.
1. What a difference a day makes
You can read my reflections on day 1 here.
I had struggled a bit with Patrick Lencioni’s presentation yesterday. It came across very culturally conservative and strangely lacking confidence. But today he was in brilliant form. I think its all about finding your niche and your voice. He was speaking on one of his best selling books – the 5 dysfunctions of a team and had lots of really helpful nuggets of wisdom, great energy in delivery, excellent stories.
He looked so much in his element. The transformation was remarkable and reminded me how important it is to help people find their passion and their gifting and release them into it.
2. Bridge Building
Nicky Gumble conducted a very gracious interview with Cardinal Christoph Schonborn from the Roman Catholic church. The cardinal had a lovely, warm and engaging manner. He talked about his own experience of coming to “a personal relationship with Jesus” and the work of the Spirit in his life especially relating to the Conclave to elect the Pope. He spoke about his closeness to Pope John Paul II; Pope Benedict and Pope Francis.
Nicky offered gracious hospitality to a cardinal and these are exciting days for a new kind of ecumenism. We witnessed a meeting of the ‘other’ in friendship rather than opposition and there was a standing ovation in the Albert Hall at the end.
One question that was in my mind after my favourite part of Lencioni’s presentation on day 1.
The top right quandrant is where we want to be. The labels are mine – ( you can probably come up with better ones.)
Culturally I think there is a major fight going on within evangelicalism between a judgementally arrogant right wing conservatism and a friendly relativism. Between those are two extremes there is of course spectrum between those positions. The danger is that we end up strong on grace and weak on truth, or strong on truth and weak on grace.
But there is also another dynamic at play. Again drawing from Lencioni today. When building a team – he argued that we need to start with trust building. Before trust is established we are not ready to face conflict. Conflict without trust just becomes power politics. But once trust is established then there is room for constructive conflict where everyone is enriched.
The manner of the interviews played to Nicky’s very friendly and gracious spirit. So when Nicky interviewed the cardinal the emphasis was on bridge building and finding common ground. To an onlooker you might think that it was full on embrace of the catholic church – a blurring of all boundaries as no contentious issues were raised at all. But if you look at this as trust building so that the harder conversations can be had in a spirit of friendship there’s a very interesting opportunity ahead. At some point we are going to have to talk together about the tricky subjects. There will be lots to learn about the nature of unity from our catholic brothers and sisters. We’ll need to talk about what salvation, grace, the gospel, Mary, papal infallibility, the eucharist, purgatory means. We will grow in our grasp of the gospel together as iron sharpens iron because we will have the honest conversation – and we will have somethings to offer to help our catholic brothers and sisters revisit these important theological issues.
3. Ellie Mumford
It was great to see a woman on stage preaching with passion. Ellie championed “lashing ourselves to the scriptures – just as sailors used to lash themselves to the mast when encountering storms.” She gave a clarion call to be more biblical as well as experiential in our relationship particularly with the spirit of God. Quoting the adage:
Word without the spirit – you dry up
Sprit without the word – you blow up
Word and Spirit together and you grow up.
There was a call to be confident in the work of the spirit of God in our day. Lots of stories about healings with a brief passing reference to the “not yet” of the kingdom of God when he doesn’t answer our prayers.
4. William Wilberforce Centre
There’s a fantastic group of people working through the implications of radical hospitality. There was a ‘more theological’ seminar which featured Graham Tomlin, Pete Greig, Sue Colman and Paul Cowley and others. My favourite quote from this seminar was:
The gospel is an invitation to hospitality – it is first a word of welcome. @gtomlin #lc13
I was then privileged to be part of a panel that sought to work out the practical implications offering the church some models of radical hospitality. ideas included:
Night Stop – an emergency overnight accomodation for 16-25 year olds
Safe Families – a Chicago based scheme that offers preventative interventions to help at risk families stay toegether being trialled in Middlesborough
Home for Good – our fostering and adoption campaign.
There’s a very upbeat optimistic spirit about the church. Ellie Mumford echoed it when she said that this was the most exciting time to be a christian. But there is an infectious positivity about the HTB culture which is really encouraging to connect with.
So thank you HTB for a challenging and inspiring time.