The Summit and Whisper
I have a profound appreciation for
The Global Leadership Summit. Way back in 2005, I attended the event with several other elders from my church. I knew little about the event and attended because my registration was a gift from a friend.
At this time, I was somewhat disenchanted with my career. I’d been working for an advertising agency for half a decade and it was beginning to wear on me. It occurred to me late one night working on an account that all I did was make “rich people richer”. Now, I’m not against capitalism. In fact, I like having resources at my disposal, but money has never had a hold on me, and it saddened me to see it be the pursuit of so many of my clients.
I attended the Summit in this frustrated and discontented state in hopes of God shedding a light on how I might navigate this. The content of the event was like a punch in the gut from the first session. First Bill Hybels talked about embracing your Holy Discontent; then Rick Warren about Moses and using what resources God has given you; then Jack Groppel talked about energy management. And on it went, session after session as though it was handcrafted for me.
The most defining moment, however, happened when I least expected it. There was a speaker, who shall remain nameless, that I really didn’t enjoy. I don’t know if it was the content or the delivery, but I checked out. I started doodling, as I often do, and as I’m sketching a picture of a cartoon dog peering into a window, I hear a whisper.
Now stay with me.
A voice said to me, “Brian, I need you to focus on people, not profits.” I actually turn my head to see if someone spoke it behind me, but immediately realized that it was an inaudible whisper. One from beyond our physical realm.
Nothing like this had ever happened to me before. After the event, I spent a long time discerning who said it and what it meant for me. As I let that mysterious sentence rattle around in my head, I realized that it echoed the feelings in my heart about my career. In its simplest form, it was an important shift in perspective, where I could do this ultimately important work, but from a different vantage point.
Things changed substantially for me after that. I was very open about all this with my boss (who was and is a believer and a close friend), and we shifted my client base to deal more with not-for-profit and government. My approach with my clients, for profit or not, was as a ministry opportunity. Advertising was simply an excuse to draw people to Jesus, wherever they were on their journey.
To continue the story, eventually, my boss heard of a marketing director position open up with a Christian, non-profit whose focus was on leadership development. After some wrestling with the realization of me possibly leaving the firm, he eventually told me about the opportunity and after a few months I started with The Leadership Centre Willow Creek Canada as director of marketing. Part of my new role is to get people to attend the very event that changed my life so profoundly.
So, are you in? Will you engage in your own way and allow God to speak?
It all starts by registering.
Brian McKenzie is the director of marketing for The Leadership Centre Willow Creek Canada. He is also a consultant and entrepreneur with a flair for creativity and developing others.
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