I'm back from 6 weeks of out of town, out of state, out of country, and/or out of the office ministry and family summer experiences and I think it's time to pick up bloggin' again. I'm sure my readership is down to like 12, but to those of you who are still around, let the bonding begin. :)
I came home to dive full into several days jam packed with meetings and then 2 days of attending the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. It's like a leadership fire hose of information and inspiration that always gives my own soul and those of our pastoral team tons to think about.
Today was no exception to that rule. Bill Hybels inspired me to make hard decisions. Cory Booker challenged me to let the hope of Jesus inspire me to see the world through hope colored glasses and to "do sumpin" about it. Seth Godin reminded me that the future is not determined by the economy, but by my own willingness to see every shift in our cultural tide as an opportunity to be seized by someone- who might as well be me. Steven Furtick inspired me to believe God for all he has promised and to act in faith, especially when it makes no sense at all.
But as much as I loved those lectures/talks/presentations/sermons... the thing that stood out to me again today was the power of a visual illustration in communication.
- Bill Hybels used a flip chart to draw pictures and enhance his talk.
- Cory Booker used the power of story with vivid details to invoke images in my brain.
- Seth Godin used over 100 pictures to support his points, invoke laughter, and inspire the listener to never look down. Really, it was masterful.
- Steven Furtick spoke about a passage in 2 kings 3 and challenged us to follow Elisha's lead and dig some ditches. You'd have to listen to the talk or read the passage to get the gist of it. But the power of his message was not just what he said, but what he used to make it stick. He pounded home just one visual. One principal that was solidly rooted in one image from the text. It was the image of someone with a shovel digging a ditch. Lots of ditches in fact. He never showed a picture or even brought a shovel on stage. But it either one would have been even more powerful.
In the end, I bet that if you asked anyone who heard the lectures today, each and every one of them without fail could tell you the visual tools used by these communicators. Not only was I inspired by their message, but I was reminded of the power of their method. Steven said that he wished he could give everyone a shovel today as they left his talk, but that it would cost too much. The point was made. When those in the audience think about a shovel, they'll think about digging faithfully where God calls before it makes sense to anyone but those who heard the call.
I think I might just go buy a shovel and stick it in the corner of my office as a reminder. Maybe I'll carry it around on days I need BIG faith shoes. I did just that after I heard Jeanne Stevens speak at the National Youth Worker's conference in San Diego last year. She told about the power of a "chainsaw faith" out of Mark 2 and the friends who ripped a hole in the roof of a house to get the paralytic to Jesus. I bought a chainsaw as a reminder. It was epic and I rarely forget a great visual.
I love communicators that engage my mind, my ears, and my eyes.