Global Leadership Summit | Bill Hybels – The Privilege of Leadership

Posted on August 9, 2012


(live blogging notes)

Luke 8: sower, seed, rocky, thorny, good soil… Continue to spread the seed, even though it may not germinate, grow, or be fruitful.

Consider the “math” of this parable. Jesus chooses a 75% “seed-rejection” ratio in this parable.

Maybe instead of complaining about the results not being where I had wanted it, plant more seed to overcome the “seed-rejection” ratio.

Can I remind you, leader, whether you like it or not, your whole community takes its seed sowing cues from you. One of the fundamental requirements of a leader is to stay curious. Stay experimental. It is to declare that entropy will not occur on our watch. We will fight that off with every fiber of our being.

“Incessant tinkerers.” Wake up every morning coming up with new experiments, new ideas, new ways to plant more seed.

Sow more seed.

You are the most difficult person you will ever lead. (360 degree leadership)

I want to talk about the “work habits” of a leader.

Most leaders incorrectly assume that the most valuable asset is their time. I argue that the most important asset is “energy” and the ability to “energize.” That is something absolutely unique about a leader.

“God, in the remaining six weeks in this calendar year, what would be the greatest half-dozen contributions that I could make to the church that you and I both love?”

I need to energize our team, the congregation, the board, a reorganization process, and myself…

Your leadership matters. Figure out the top six things that you need to energize, and energize them.


First, there is a “planning stage.” Whose job is it to lead this charge?

Second, finding an “internal person” who can be the successor.

Second to the second, we’ll begin looking for an external candidate.

Third (fourth) is the actual transition itself, when a successor is identified, to slowly hand over the reigns.

Board members, you have to understand how deep feelings run in the hearts of senior leaders. When you assign a person to a position of leadership, don’t choose someone with low emotional intelligence.

Senior leaders, do the right thing for your church. Make sure the church is well taken care of. Leave a legacy of care.

Remember “here to there” talk from last year?

When is the trajectory most vulnerable? First third (from here to there), middle third, or last third? Middle third. Visions are extremely vulnerable in the middle.

I’ve been thinking about this from a “career” leader standpoint. When have I been most vulnerable in my leadership?

My overarching thought about leadership these days: What a privilege it is to be a leader. Only a small percentage of the human race gets to lead stuff, especially good stuff, missional stuff, stuff that matters. We are the most privileged few in all the world. Have you thanked God recently that you get to lead something?

— VIA —

With full respect and honor to Bill for his decades of contributions to my personal life, and leadership (for which I will be forever thankful), I offer these critical thoughts and engagements.

The parable he referenced says a “crop” and not a “tree.” This is important for two reasons.

The first is biblical accuracy. Real estate in the Scriptures is really precious, and so when it is used, it means something. (For example, Jesus may be referencing Genesis 26:12, and that the parable is a retelling of an Isaac story about God blessing.)

Second, I understand the sentiment of his talk, and I concur that “we ought to sow more seed.” But there is another “math” side of the parable, that one seed, as long as it lands on good soil, can produce a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown (Matthew 13). I would submit that this is still a parable about what kind of soil do you want to be!? And when you become good soil, your life could yield great results by the means of God’s blessing. This is also another poignant leadership principle.

There is also a tension that exists between “sowing more seeds” as a mathematical prospect, and limiting the number of things you can do in the 6×6 exercise (what are the six things I must do over the next six weeks?). This tension, I propose, must be understood and embraced, in order to maximize the principles Hybels shared.

Lastly, thanking God for the privilege of leadership reminds me of Max DePree’s axiom: “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor. That sums up the progress of an artful leader.”

Regardless of my critical engagement, excellent opening session as always, and provocations that spur us on, once again, to be better leaders, ’cause it matters greatly.