We Are Better When We Work Together

Debbie and I just returned from the Global Leadership Conference 2018 (GLS). This conference brings leaders together from around the world to hear from those exceptional leader’s their philosophy of leading and get practical tips on how to implement new learnings. Some of these leaders are pastors, some business leaders (like Apple, Facebook, Medicine, Wall Street). But all have a deep faith.

This year, the past leader of the conference, Bill Hybels, was accused of sexual misconduct. He had already turned the GLS over to someone else but had to also resign from the church he pastored, Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago.

Now, the GLS could have continued on, ignoring the scandal and pretending like we’re all good. But they chose to face it head on. The President of Willow Creek Association gave a pre-opening speech about the scandal, what they are doing investigatively and how they intend to work to heal not only those affected personally, but the entire church organization.

Danielle Strickland, a pastor, author and justice advocate gave a presentation on becoming better together, referring to men and women. Her steps were:

  1. Believe it’s possible for men and women to work together
  2. Do not be afraid. If our desires are fear based, we will be oppressed
  3. Recognize that we are not the same.
  4. Work in mutuality – the sharing of feelings, actions and relationship between people. Enemy of mutuality is power and sex. Objectification is opposite of mutuality. Power should only be used to empower others.
  5. How do we make this work? Start with yourself, your attitudes, your opinions, your actions. Start today. Listen, learn and live: repeat.
  6. Never give up. It will take a lifetime to become better together. It’s a long walk to freedom.
    Her talk was powerful and powerfully given. She completed it and just walked off the stage. The room was silent. We all knew this was an important speech and she had addressed the scandal full on.

Being that our Church has been dealing with the same sexual scandal over the last 20 years, and we are still not seeing Bishops being accountable, or being held accountable, for their actions, this was refreshing. To hear someone speak openly and honestly on a taboo subject was liberating.
Pray that our leaders (and several Catholic Churches were host sites), learn from leaders like Danielle Strickland. We ARE better when we work together.


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As I write this, it’s just under a month until the first phase of the Church’s Synod on the process of synodality is to begin.