Next up at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit was Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, New Jersey. He told a lot of stories and I didn’t take many notes. The stores were great though, and I wish I would have made a reminder of each of them. I found myself judging him at first like a wishy-washy male Oprah, but then I realized I was short-changing him, so I loosened up. He was a great speaker after that! 🙂
It was pretty interesting that a lot of what he focused on was humility and action. That was the message of a lot of speakers, or at least it came up over and over again in every speech. His story in which a lady told him to “Just DO SUMTHIN!” came up over and over again from other speakers, so I’d better give him credit for that here. You should try to hear him speak if you get a chance.
Brenda Salter McNeil
McNeil was a pretty fiery speaker and had a lot of good stuff.
She was talking about changing generations. It’s true, older people I know are still surprised when the call and get a “foreigner” on the phone, but I’m usually surprised when I get someone that “doesn’t have an accent.” (You really need to say that with a Southern Indiana accent for it to sound right.)
The Gospel is cross-cultural and cross-economical and cross EVERYTHING!
As far as Acts 1:8 goes, I know it says Blog Idea here, but I can’t write about that in this spot. I’ll save that for another day.
Our modern Samaria is where everything horrible and rotten happens. She said it’s that part of town that you drive into and check to see if your doors are locked. It was off limits to Jews, which is so radical about Jesus taking the disciples through there. You can read more about that elsewhere. Her challenge to us was to not be afraid to go to those places. When you make disciples in your own culture, you don’t have to figure out a lot of messy details. When you go among people that are so radically off from you culturally, it takes a lot of work to figure out what discipleship looks like in their culture. (personally I’m still trying to figure this out in American culture!)
These Dangerous Action Items are great. #1, get a Divine Mandate. When God has called you to something, you will be unstoppable. If you are just doing stuff to do stuff, it will come to nothing!
She told us to get down on our knees and pray for a mandate. Pray for a calling from God.
One way I’ve done this in the past (actually to find the two last houses we’ve lived in that weren’t just temp housing) was to walk through a neighborhood praying
God, bless this neighborhood. Bring Your Kingdom into this neighborhood! And if you want me to be a part of that, here I am! Plant me where you want to use me!
Don’t look around and complain about what is going on in your neighborhood. Ask God how He is going to open up a can of Romans 8:28 in that situation?
This part was great. In Acts, on the day of Pentecost, they had a prayer meeting and people started catching on fire! Have you ever had a prayer meeting where you thought people were going to start catching on fire?!
When you have your mandate, and you see what is going on around you, gather others and help them repeat the same process you just went through. Once you have a group of people with a shared calling, you can act and do something.
This was a great moment and I think I would have done well to just go and pray for a bit, or have all of us pray for a bit, but conferences are what they are, and when McNeil was done they launched some cheesy video advertising something. That didn’t kill everything, but it did make me want to go to a Pentecostal church some Sunday, where they worry more about listening to the Holy Spirit than keeping to their schedule.
Here is the tweet I sent out after that.