Tuesday, September 09, 2008

ax*i*om [ak-see-uh]

There's a tendency in evangelical circles to minimize Willow Creek Community Church (calling it "WillowWorld", for example) and the work of the founding pastor, Bill Hybels... or instead, to worship their methodology & their success. And, by extension, to prop Hybels up as some kind of church guru - what he calls an "Obi-Wan Kenobi" in his chapter on mentoring in this little book.

Neither response is appropriate - obviously. Willow (and Bill) have made their share of mistakes (which they are candid about) as well as their stunning successes in advancing the Kingdom of God. What Bill is esp. good at is leadership - and inspiring other leaders to lead well.

Which is the point of axiom: powerful leadership proverbs. There are 76 different leadership proverbs (well, pithy sayings) that are each covered in 1-4 pages - everything from "vision leaks" (boy, howdy, does it ever!) to "The Tunnel of Chaos" (which, surprisingly, isn't about your marriage). As usual, Hybels does a great job of explaining his point, illustrating it with a real-life situation, and encouraging you to "go for it".

If you'd read Courageous Leadership or Rediscovering Church or Holy Discontent, you've read a lot of this before. (And if, like me, you've been a part of the Willow Creek Association, you've heard a lot of it before through the Defining Moments series.) The point, however, isn't to say lots of new stuff - it's to put "old stuff" down on the bottom shelf where leaders can grab onto it and use it.

Here's a few of the "proverbs" I'm going to be wrestling with during this season of leadership:
  • making the big ask
  • take a flyer
  • speed of the leader, speed of the team
  • give me an A, B, or C
  • pay now, play later
If you'd like to read the first chapter, you can download a PDF of it right here.

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