GLS19: Let’s Start with Day One!

Once again, the Global Leadership Summit held August 6 and 7, hit the ball out of the park. When it comes to a church near you in October, you just gotta make it a priority. There just isn’t a better more consistent leadership growth conference out there.

After attending every GLS either live or at a satellite site since its inception in 1995, I keep wondering if it’s going to feel old. It almost never does. And while I prefer the live experience, this year I attended the satellite broadcast at Portico Community Church in Mississauga. They did a superb job of hosting. The experience was simply excellent. And kudos to Robb and Lois Warren for slugging it out as the GLS transitioned to the restructured Global Leadership Network in this tough post Bill Hybels year. This year’s GLS really does let us know that the GLS is here to stay, growing leaders here and around the world. I was impressed, and thankful. 

I don’t blog all that often, but generally I blog my GLS experience. It’s a way I personally debrief the experience and encourage a few friends and blog readers to make the GLS a part of their ongoing plan to develop as leaders.  And It’s totally worth the investment of two days. There is no other leadership conference that so balances a passionate commitment to Christ while embracing that we can learn a ton from leaders who do not yet embrace faith. 

What follows are just a few thoughts from some but not all of the speakers. All of the speakers were awesome. But some had a huge personal impact on me, so that’s where I’ll focus my quotes and commentary. I also want to acknowledge Brian Dodd’s blog where he summarized every speaker. Those notes helped me greatly as I debriefed my GLS experience. Enjoy! And I’d really love to hear if you read this and give me your thoughts.  

So here goes, a few personal highlights of Day One of GLS19

CRAIG GROESCHEL: Lead Pastor of Life.Church

If you commit to the what and are consumed by the why, you will figure out the how.” This came out of a great counterintuitive thought, summarizing Groeschel’s newest leadership maxim: “We should think inside more than outside the box.” “We look inside the box and allow the constraints to drive us. And then bend the curve of those constraints. That’s what leaders do. God guides by what he provides. You have everything you need to do everything you’re called to do.”  Gotta admit, I found this all to be pure genius that I need take more seriously. 

BEN SHERWOOD: Former Co-Chairman of Disney Media Networks, Former President of Disney ABC Television

Ben gave a great talk and his statement to encourage creative thinking caught my attention: “In conventional conflict, the stronger power wins 71% of the time. In unconventional conflict, the weaker side wins 63.6% of the time.” Yeah, you don’t have to be strong to win, you just have to be willing to do what others are not doing. Great point. 

Loved that he pointed out that “Faith is the most powerful survival tool and one of the most effective leadership tools.” And he summed it all up with the power of deeply connecting with the people in our lives: “Only Connect. Connect one to many. Connect one to one. The ability to connect with the person you want to influence is the greatest ability of all.” The people over mission theme would be strong throughout the GLS. The mission is really only possible because of our deep connection to the people around us. To win is to be deeply connected to people. 

LIZ BOHANNON: Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Seeko Designs, Uganda & USA

You don’t have to be above average to lead an above average life.” Maybe that’s obvious to many, but it’s something I sense I need to encourage the Fort City Church family with. So many people in Fort McMurray feel constrained by their average ordinariness, when it’s really an awesome platform to live extraordinary lives of faith and purpose. 

JASON DORSEY: President of The Center for Generational Kinetics

Jason’s presentation on the myths, realities and strengths of generational differences is pure gold for anyone like me working in a multi-generational environment. You laugh at some of his harsh absurd sounding statements simply because they are true. 

He starts off by hitting boomers like me real hard as we continually complain about the generations that follow us. He hit with these thoughts: “The number one trend that shapes generations which no one talks about is parenting. Baby Boomers have a strict parenting philosophy which has come back to haunt them. Parenting influences everything we do. Entitlement is primary a learned behavior. Boomers complained about us. You created us.” Touché. Yeah we need to keep talking about good parenting in the church and society. And my apologizes to my millennial kids who are the victims of my boomer parenting.

Dorsey goes on to point out how technology and geography play critical roles for each generation. However the younger the generation, the less impact geography plays because they speak the common language of social media. He effectively unpacked the huge impact rapidly changing technology is having on the generations. You might say that’s a no brainer, but it’s worth hearing his passionate take on this. And then he finished up with the cry: “Every generation brings something important and every generation can lead.” To that I would add a loud “Amen.” Probably the best talk I’ve heard on working with the varied generations. 

I think I’ll leave Day One of GLS19 here. The speakers I didn’t include like Bozma Saint John, Daniel Strickland, DeVon Franklin and Patrick Lencioni were also awesome. I’m just focusing on the few key take homes that really penetrated my heart that I’m attempting to distill and prayerfully figure how I’ll walk them out.  

For me a theme at this GLS emerged, that ordinary people can live and do the extraordinary as they connect deeply with others and embrace the gift of our differences. Hey, it’s not rocket science, but life and leadership never are. And as Christian leaders empowered by the Holy Spirit, we should not be surprised what God can and will do through ordinary people surrendered to Him, who live day by day in well-connected community – be that our families, where we work, or our network of friends. And now day two is coming. I’ll probably post my thoughts on Day 2 in about a week.

But just one more thing. If you’re in a city like Fort McMurray where the GLS is scheduled to come on October 17 and 18, 2019 at McMurray Gospel Assembly, you need to go! You can register online at And because we’re a partnering church bringing the GLS to Fort McMurray, we can get you into the GLS for the astounding low price of $99.00. Just email: and we’ll give you a code to use to get that deal. This is an investment of time and a few dollars that you won’t regret. Do I sound passionate about the GLS? Yeah, I really am. GLS19 will not disappoint. You’ll be a better person of positive influence to the glory of God for it. Yeah, it’s that powerful!