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The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

London Prepares (Day 2 at the HTB Leadership Conference)

What do you get if you cross a fun loving pentecostal, a Benedictine monk, a well spoken English barrister, a fiery Greek women set on abolishing human trafficking, an Anglican Bishop that has given the most watched sermon of all time and the author of the world’s best selling book after God’s with a room full of leaders from almost a 1000 different churches in the UK?

I think you get a purpose driven church, with a lot of hope, a sense of family (and humour ref. Judah’s shirt for example), unity and some fairly big BHAGS - Big. Hairy. Audacious. Goals.  The church in the UK is a sleeping giant but it is starting to wake up.  

London Prepares" is the slogan for the events building up to the London Olympics.  But perhaps it is a more apt slogan for the events taking place in London on the build up to a church operating at an olympic scale.

Perhaps Adidas should consider sponsoring the Great British church as it gets going: “Impossible is Nothing.”  Looking round the Royal Albert Hall, it was clear that churches of all shapes and sizes mean business.  There was a clarity of intent to work together, get real and get busy working towards the nourishment and transformation of society.  

A few highlights:

The Bishop of London

When sharing about speaking at the Royal Wedding: "I preached to two people with 2 billion people listening in."

Talking about conviction: "you have to have an inner sense of some simple things that you will live or die for."

Reflecting on leadership in the Anglican church and building a new generation of leaders: "40% of the clergy of the Church of England will retire in the next 10 years…We have not been bold, bloody and resolute enough to raise up the next generation.  We must be more bold."

On London: "London as an international centre is a city where the church has enormous responsibilities and opportunities…London is at a global cross roads.  What we do here will reverberate around the globe for good or ill." 

Christine Caine

Christine gave an impassioned talk about having a generational impact.  She gave the example of the women’s 4x100 relay team losing races they should have won in both the Athens and Beijing Olympic games.  She asked whether the church was about to drop the baton or about to win the race?  

She also shared about the gritty and moving work of the A21 Campaign and its fight to see human trafficking abolished in our generation.  Christine challenged all present to dream big dreams and believe that we can make a difference and be a powerful force of restoration.

Rick Warren

Rick Warren had more sound bites than Tony Blair which is saying something.  He also tested your ability to take notes on a touch screen smart phone such was the pace at which he dispensed pearls of wisdom.  

If he ever loses his touch writing best selling books and inaugurating presidents he can always fall back on smart phone usability testing.

Here’s a selection of quotes before my iPhone fell over:

The sins that will trip you up in life: "The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life or put another way passion, possession,  position or another sex, salary, success or another hedonism, materialism, secularism."

And the antidote? Simple: "Integrity, generosity and humility."

On giving: "I give away 90% of my income and live on 10%.  We have a goal to give away progressively more every year since we have been married. Every year we should try to be more generous."

On possessions: "My $15 watch keeps the same amount of time as your Rolex."

On 4 challenges to personal progress: "fear, fatigue, failure and frustration."

On how to respond to these: "Remember God, rest, reorganise your endeavour and resist discouragement."

On circumstances: "Circumstances are like a mattress.  If you are on top you rest easy, if you are under you suffocate."

On love: "If you are a church that loves, you will be a church that attracts."

On failure: "Failure is not failing to reach a goal, it is failure to set a goal.  Failure is not getting knocked down, it’s failing to get back up again.  Learn to fail fast. Check if what you are doing is working, if not make a change."

On perspective: "Compare yourself to someone ahead of you and you’ll feel discouraged, someone behind you’ll become complacent. Concentrate on being the best you."

Rick Warren with Ken Costa presenting the Bishop of London with a copy of The Purpose Driven Life:

The conference ended with the thousands strong crowd reciting the inscription engraved on the frieze that circles the Royal Albert Hall:

Thine O Lord is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty. For all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Thine. The wise and their works are in the hand of God. Glory be to God on high and on earth peace.

Inspiring…  London prepares.

Check out the trailer for the 2013 conference:

HTB Leadership Conference 2012

2012 is a great time for Great Britain.  We’re celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (great lady, totally inspirational - check out her Christmas speech if you missed it) and looking forward with anticipation to the London Olympic Games.

As well as the obvious big events there are a lot of great things happening in the country.  Great people pursuing great causes.  It’s easy to look at last years riots, the financial crisis, corruption in media, apathy in politics and Man Utd losing the title to City and feel a little downcast and disconcerted.  

But that is not the whole story.  Something is growing at the grass roots of Great Britain.  I caught a glimpse of this today at the HTB Leadership Conference held at the beautiful Royal Albert Hall where almost a 4500 people gathered representing almost 1000 churches.  Ordinary people pursuing extraordinary pursuits.

The conference is about being equipped to be the best leader you can be in your workplace, in your community, in your home and in your church.

Keynote speakers included Tony Blair Former Prime Minister, The Bishop of London, Judah Smith of The City Church, Dr Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life, Christine Caine Director of the A21 Campaign Against Human Trafficking and Nicky Gumbel the Vicar of HTB.  Pretty good line up.

The 4 streams of Commerce, Culture, Community and Church also had some fascinating speakers including former chairman of Lazard International, Ken Costa; the chief exec of the Financial Services Authority, Hector Sants; High Court Judge, Sir Paul Coleridge; the MD for The Centre for Social Justice, Christian Guy; Futurist, Patrick Dixon; Musician, Martin Smith as well as church leaders from all around the country.

The interview with Tony Blair was fascinating. True, he is a man that separates opinion in a similar fashion to Marmite.  Having said this, he was on top form with some great sound bites and reflections on leadership and faith:

On the early church:

"When the disciples started out they were the radicals and the revolutionaries not the system or the status quo." [paraphrased]

On principle:

"Sometimes the politics pushes you one way and the principle pushes you another."

On experience:

"The trouble with leadership is that when you are elected you are the most popular and the least experienced and when you end your term you are the least popular and the most experienced."

On decision making:

"When you decide you divide. You won’t always be popular when you lead!"

On faith, confrontation and respectful dialogue:

"Globalisation is pushing people together. We have to learn to talk to each other and respect each other. We have to recognise that we are all God’s children."

"There needs to be respect at the personal level.  We should be able to disagree without hating each other."

On faith and perspective:

"Faith is important to our future…A world without faith would be a world on the path to tragedy and disaster."

"Faith means there’s something greater and transcendent that just you!"

On communication:

"In the information age, communication is 50% of the battle." 

"Get good at communicating what you do not just what you say. This really needs to be a focus. People want to see models, what’s going on, what you’re doing. Then people will see what you’re doing and back you." 

There were also some funny anecdotes like the time he caught one of his sons watching the episode of the Simpsons where a cartoon Tony Blair makes an appearance - his son exclaims: "that’s the first thing that you’ve done, that I’ve actually been really proud of!"

There were also great stories from pastors from Zimbabwe who have had to stand together across denominations against political oppression,  from a leader from India who has seen over a million people go on the Alpha Course and trained 85,000 leaders and from an ex-convict who after encountering Jesus has turned his life around.

The day finished with an inspirational sermon from Pastor Judah Smith, a 33 year old who took on the leadership of The City Church, Seattle (over 7000 people) after his Dad passed away of cancer two years ago.  Boring is not a word that you would use to describe his preaching.

Exciting times. More tomorrow.

Watoto Children’s Choir at King’s Church International

The Watoto Children’s Choir will be singing at King’s Church International tomorrow morning at the 10:30am service.  I’m really excited.  Can’t wait.  If you are free, please come along.   You will be inspired by the sound of hope.

Watoto Children’s Choirs have travelled internationally since 1994 as advocates for the estimated 50 million children in Africa, orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS, war, poverty and disease. You can find out more here and watch more of their videos here.

This weekend the choir has been performing at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, the UK’s biggest outdoor equestrian show.

The Slough & Windsor Observer reported:

"As well as all things equestrian, there was an array of music - including the Watoto Children’s Choir.

The choir, from Uganda, is made up of 22 orphaned children from Africa.

They have been touring the UK for five months and have been performing every night at The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

Stephen Banyikiza, choir leader, said: “We are ambassadors of hope for the children in East Africa that can’t speak for themselves.

"Four of the children got to meet The Queen. She said she is looking forward to our performance on Sunday.

Choir girl Lydia Amito, 10, even gave Her Majesty a hug.”


Food for thought & thought for food

http://www.ted.com How do we consume data? At TED@SXSWi, technologist JP Rangaswami muses on our relationship to information, and offers a surprising and sharp insight: we treat it like food.

Interesting concept:

  • Do we eat too much of the wrong stuff? (Supersize me)
  • What’s our diet like?  Is it balanced (in terms of content and offline/online)?
  • How do we find the best ingredients?
  • How do we mix these together and develop new recipes?
  • How do we find new dishes that we like?
  • What’s the best way to share these experiences with our friends?

Follow JP at @jobsworth

“Information, if viewed from the point of view of food, is never a production issue. … It’s a consumption issue, and we have to start thinking about how we create diets [and] exercise.” — JP Rangaswami