Hybels is the founder of Willow Creek Community Church outside of Chicago, the fourth largest congregation in the country. He says:
Nearly two weeks ago, I stood before 7,000 people—and an additional 60,000 connected via satellite feed—who gathered for the Willow Creek Association’s annual two-day conference the Global Leadership Summit to hear from diverse faculty on the subject of how to get better at leading whatever it is that we lead. Part of the assortment this year included Bono, who agreed to a follow-up discussion to our 2006 interview, during which he called out the local church for being inexcusably late to the game of fighting extreme poverty and treatable disease.
The evangelical church has taken a lot of justifiable heat in recent years for being vocal about the things we hate while staying silent about some of the most pressing needs in our world. There are times when I believe the church should be the conscience of our culture, but to Bono’s point, a reframing must occur, one where the divisiveness that once defined us as people of faith gets edged out by a unity around great societal causes. And what has to unite us in this day and age is the fight against poverty and disease. Faith leaders the world over expected this day would come. What we didn’t expect was that it would take an Irish rock star to demand the dawn.
As leaders, there are so many things we must get better at: casting vision, building teams, solving problems, enforcing values, and building the next generation of leaders. But if we excel in those areas and still neglect to use our leadership octane to address God’s clear mandate to serve the poor, what have we really gained?