Mario Vega: Session 6 – The Leadership Summit

Mario Vega: Senior Pastor, Misión Cristiana Elim, El Salvador

▪    Leader of one of the world’s largest churches with 73,000 attendees, campuses throughout El Salvador, more than 7,000 cell groups and a staff of 92 pastors

▪    Misión Cristiana Elim achieved exponential growth in the midst of civil war through the successful implementation of cell group strategies

▪    Known for his humility, his passion for justice and for the rights of children

▪    Contributing columnist for El Pais, El Diario de Hoy and Church Growth International Magazine


I Samuel 15: 34- 16:1

There are defining moments in our lives that reveal our character.

Those that allow themselves the liberty of a moral failure open the door for more failures to come.

The moral failure of a leader will challenge the integrity of others as well.

As leaders we are not only responsible for our own actions, but also the actions of those we influence.

Will you choose God or man?

When you find yourself having to choose between God or man, look at the decision-making process Samuel went through:

  • Denial
  • Depression
  • Acceptance
  • Action

Integrity loss can not be fully restored.

Leaders are defined by the ongoing decisions they make.

Do you allow personal bias to influence your decisions?

Never give yourself permission to avoid doing what is right.  Don’t give yourself permission to remain in the valley of depression.

Every right decision that a leader makes will strengthen your influence.




Patrick Lencioni: Session 5 – The Leadership Summit

Patrick Lencioni – Founder and President,The Table Group; Best Selling Author

▪    A leading organizational consulting firm, The Table Group advises clients with ideas, products and services to improve teamwork, clarity, employee engagement and overall organizational health

▪    Author of ten business books with nearly three million copies sold, including The Five Dysfunctions of a Team which, after ten years in print, continues to be a weekly fixture on national best-seller lists

▪    Named by Fortune Magazine as one of “The Gurus You Should Know” and by The Wall Street Journal as one of America’s “Most Sought-After Business Speakers”

His upcoming book, The Advantage, explores the significance of organizational health and why it trumps everything else in business


Organizational health is the single greatest competitive advantage in business.  It is virtually free and accessible to any leader who wants it, and yet it remains  untapped in most organizations.

It remains untapped because too many leaders think its beneath them.

Two Requirements for Success:

1) Smart – finances, strategy, marketing, technology

2) Healthy – minimal politics , minimal confusion, high morale, high productivity, low turnover

Four Disciplines of a Healthy Organization

1) Build a cohesive leadership team (behaviorly aligned)

2) Create clarity (intellectually aligned)

Six Critical Questions for Clarity

  • Why do we exist?
  • How do we behave? (Core values – A core value is something that you’re willing to be punished for.  To violate a core value is to sell your soul.)
  • What do we do?
  • How will we succeed? (Strategy – the myriad of intentional decisions that differentiate you from your competitors)
  • What is most important, right now?
  • Who must do what?

3) Over-communicate clarity

If your people can’t do a good impression of you when you’re gone, you’re not communicating enough.

4) Reinforce clarity

My Commentary:

I simply love Patrick!  His energy and passion are so motivating.  His principles are far and away some of the most applicable principles to ministry of any business leader I’ve studied.  His principles are birthed from heart and a passion for people.  If you’re a church leader, you need to read and study Patrick’s books.  Apply the concepts and principles and I promise you’ll bring clarity and purpose to your team.


Craig Groeschel: Session 4 – The Leadership Summit

Craig Groeschel – Founder and Senior Pastor,

▪    A pioneer in multi-campus church, holds 76 weekly worship experiences, ministering to over 40,000 people

▪    Known for leveraging technology to reach a new generation, including the development of LifeChurch’s popular YouVersion Bible App

▪    A creative and relevant Bible teacher, he’s deeply passionate about leading people to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ

▪    Author of influential books, including the soon-to-be-released Soul Detox


Bridging the Generation Gap

Don’t resent, fear or judge the next generation.  Believe in them because they need you!

If you are not dead, you are not done.

You do not just delegate tasks to the next generation.  If you delegate tasks, you create followers.  When you delegate authority, you create leaders.

Embrace the season you are in.

If you feel entitled, you’ll overestimate what you can do in the short run but you’ll underestimate what you can do with a lifetime of faithfulness.

You lead up by showing honor.  Show honor publicly and it results in influence privately.

Honor builds up, dishonor tears down.

Respect is earned, but honor is given.  You show honor to those above you.

If you ever want to be “over”, you need to be “under” with integrity.


1) Create ongoing feedback loops between generations

2) Create specific mentoring moments

3) Create opportunities for significant leadership development


Jim Collins: Session 2 – The Leadership Summit

Jim Collins: Nationally Acclaimed Business Thinker and Author

▪    Relentlessly curious student of enduring great companies, he is the author of the leadership classics Built to Last and Good to Great

▪    Groundbreaking researcher and founder of his own management research lab in Boulder, Colorado

▪    Former faculty at the Stanford Graduate School of Business

▪    Relentlessly curious student of enduring great companies, he is the author of the leadership classics Built to Last and Good to Great

▪    His newest release, Great by Choice, answers the penetrating question, Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not?


The “X” factor of great leaders is humility combined with will.

3 Distinctive Leadership Behaviors:

  1. Fanatical Discipline
  2. Empirical creativity
  3. Productive Paranoia

The 20 Mile March Principle -You need a 20 Mile March in order to turn good intentions into great results.

The signature of mediocrity is not an unwillingness to change, the true signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency

The marriage of creativity and discipline is key to leadership success.

Creativity is natural.  Discipline is not.

The only mistakes you can learn from are the ones you survive.

If you are only strong when conditions are good, that is malpractice.  Great leaders are strong when people need you most.

Preserve the core (the values/the heart) and stimulate progress.

How do you use a bad event as a defining moment?

How do you make the most of a good event?

Greatness is not primarily a function of circumstances.  Greatness is a matter of conscious choice and discipline.

Markings of a Great Organization:

  1. Superior performance relative to your mission
  2. Make a distinctive impact.  What would be lost if we disappeared?
  3. Achieve lasting endurance

Your organization is not truly great if it can not be great without you.

My Commentary:

Jim is quite likely one of the most influential business thinkers to my leadership development.  His book, Good to Great, rocked my world as a young twenty-something.  I’ve since soaked up every book he has written.  The depth of research behind his writing and the impact of his principles is profound.  Principles founded in truth prove to be true whether in business or ministry. 

Condoleezza Rice: Session 2 – The Leadership Summit

Former U.S. Secretary of State, Professor of Political Science at the Stanford Graduate School of Business

▪    Former Stanford University Provost—responsible for a $1.5 billion annual budget and the academic program for 1,400 faculty members and 14,000 students

▪    Author and co-author of numerous books, including: No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington (2011); bestseller Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family (2010)


With freedom comes not only rights but responsibility.

Democracy can not mean the tyranny of the majority.  The strong should not exploit the weak.

Democracy is only as strong as it’s weakest link.

If every life is worthy, every life is capable of greatness.

There is a lot the government can do, but it can not deliver compassion.

The greatest responsibility of leaders is to help others see their own leadership qualities and potential.

The most important attribute of a leader is irrepressible optimism.

It is indeed a privilege to struggle.

The high calling of leaders is not to accept the world as it is but for what it could be.


My Commentary:

Strong, confident and humble.  What an absolutely beautiful combination and this is my impression of Condoleezza.  I was very inspired by her heart and compassion.  I love that she admitted moments of wanting to give upI appreciate that she can laugh. I was also intimidated by the big words she uses. :)

Global Leadership Summit – Bill Hybels

Founder and Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church – South Barrington, IL

▪    Founded The Global Leadership Summit, now in 200+ U.S. sites, 260+ cities worldwide, and 85 countries

▪    Committed to developing and mentoring leaders worldwide, including those in some of the most difficult, overlooked and under-resourced countries

▪    Best-selling author of more than 20 books including his most recent release, The Power of a Whisper


Leaders Must Sow Seeds:

Luke 8

Leaders, whether you like it or not your whole organization takes their seed sowing cues from you.

One of the fundamental requirements of a leader is to stay curious and to remain experimental.  Entropy should not happen on our watch.

Everyone wins when a leader gets better.

Sow more seed.


You are the most difficult person you will ever lead.

Many leaders inaccurately assume that their most valuable asset is their time.  Your most valuable asset is energy and ability to energize people, the values and the culture of the organization.

6 x 6 – Bill’s self-management plan: Create 6 key initiatives that you focus on for the next 6 weeks.

God didn’t make you a leader to respond to stuff all day.  He made you a leader to move stuff ahead.

Those gifted to lead know that your worst day as leaders is still far better than your best day as a spectator.

My Commentary:

Bill is like the Godfather of church leadership.  The nuggets of wisdom that ooze from him challenge me every time.  I admire his drive, his passion and his humility.  I marvel that at the age of 60 he still gets emotional about the purpose of ministry and leadership.  I admire his heart for developing other leaders and passing the torch to the next generation.  He’s a gift to all of us!

Global Leadership Summit Begins

Hey everyone!

Today and tomorrow I’ll be blogging live from the Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit.  I apologize in advance for the unusual number of posts but I promise the content is going to be great!

Be sure to follow the twitter feed of the team I’m blogging with today!









Great stuff to come!



Are You Abandoning Your Staff?

It took me years to discover this negative leadership trait in myself…


The more I trusted one of my team members the more I tended to abandon them.  It wasn’t that I was disinterested or didn’t care, it was that I had such faith in their ability that I would abandon them in order to go work with other staff members who needed more directive leadership from me.

Picture the proverbial spinning plate analogy.  I left the great spinners to themselves while I attending to the wobbly ones.

Unfortunately, the only thing this approach does is serve to frustrate your greatest team members.

Your high performers still need your time and attention.  It’s not that they need you to tell them everything to do – that in fact, would demotivate and frustrate them.  But they do need you to be involved and connected to them to affirm their decisions and instincts, to talk through challenges with them, to celebrate their wins and to remind them that their defeats are not as catastrophic as they may feel.  They need you to be involved enough to run to their defense when necessary and to show care and concern when they’re struggling.

As you grow as a leader, I really believe that you must find yourself spending more intentional time with your core team and being less available to the masses.  In essence, the “mile wide and inch deep” theory.  You can’t successfully invest in hundreds of leaders personally, but you can do exponential impact by deeply investing in your trusted few.

Do you have abandonment issues too?

Pulling Weeds

Every morning I have a little ritual.

I take a few minutes and meander through my flower beds to pull the weeds that have sprung up over night.  I used to be extremely impatient with this annoying little bit of maintenance.  In fact I would avoid it and only attend to the weeds when they were fully overgrown and there was no way that I could ignore them any longer.

But lately I’ve come to see daily maintenance as a relaxing way to observe the details.  In addition to finding the weeds, I identify the new flowering buds.  Although it seems like an endless battle, I realize that day by day, I’m eliminating the roots just a bit more.  There are far fewer weeds than there were two months ago.  By carefully attending to them each day, I am able to nip them before they begin to take over.  I notice when they might be creeping in to choke out something healthy and I discover that some of them never return again after they’ve been pulled enough times.  Occasionally I get a little impatient and don’t get the root pulled out and I know that in a few days it will quickly sprout up again.  I know to be watching for it.  I know I didn’t quite get that one.

I’ve also discovered how much this is a metaphor of my heart.  It’s tempting to not wander into the places where I know the weeds may be growing.  Out of sight out of mind, right?  But a daily meandering through my heart allows me to notice the places where jealousy, comparison, greed, envy are springing up.  A daily walk allows me to nip those things before they become overgrown.  It can be discouraging of course to see them constantly recurring.  One pull doesn’t usually completely remove the roots that are deep beneath the surface.  Sometimes it takes many many return trips to completely eliminate that issue.  But much like the weeds in my garden, the weeds in my heart grow less frequently with constant attention and care.

I’m learning to see the daily walk through my heart as much less defeating but more empowering.  Every day is an opportunity to keep a pulse on what’s growing there.

Have you taken a walk through your heart lately?

The Death of a Dream

Do you remember your childhood dreams? Mine included a Cabbage Patch doll for Christmas and getting permission to ride my bicycle to school. I also had a few more serious dreams, like hoping my parents would get back together rather than file for divorce.

We all have dreams, but what happens when those dreams die or are cut short? Instead of an authentic Cabbage Patch doll, I got the homemade version cleverly constructed of my grandmother’s pantyhose. Instead of getting to ride my bicycle to school, I was grounded from it for disobeying. And rather than reconciling, my parents moved on to new relationships.

While most of my childhood dreams seem trivial now, the death of those dreams unfortunately taught me to dream less. As I got older, my dreams became tainted by the fear of reality. Only on a few rare occasions have I allowed myself the luxury of dreaming big.

Continue reading my guest post for Her.meneutics here…