A Leadership Conference Specifically for Church Leaders

For years I have wanted to attend The Global Leadership Summit, sponsored by Willow Creek Association. It is kind of the “mothership” of all leadership conferences. Until this year, I have always had a scheduling conflict. I am excited that this year I can finally attend.

The reason I am excited about attending is because I share their core belief that the effectiveness of a local church is largely dependent upon the sold-out, Christ-centered devotion of its leadership core. No church can rise above the level of its leadership. John C. Maxwell calls this the “Law of the Lid.”

The Global Leadership Summit exists to transform Christian leaders around the world with an annual injection of vision, skill development, and inspiration for the sake of the local church. It provides practical, hands-on wisdom from some of the world’s brightest leaders.

This year’s faculty includes:

  • Bill Hybels, Founder and Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church
  • Howard Schultz, CEO and President of Starbucks
  • Erwin McManus, Activist; Filmmaker; Innovator and Cultural Architect of Mosaic
  • Michelle Rhee, CEO of StudentsFirst.org, Former Chancellor, DC Public Schools
  • Dr. Henry Cloud, Clinical Psychologist and Best Selling Author
  • Seth Godin, Best Selling Author and Renowned Marketing Blogger
  • Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil, President of Salter McNeil & Associates
  • Len Schlesinger, President of Babson College; Harvard Professor
  • Steven Furtick, Lead Pastor of Elevation Church
  • John Dickson, Sr Minister of St. Andrews Anglican Church in Sydney Australia
  • Mama Maggie Gobran, Founder and CEO of Stephen’s Children Ministry; Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
  • Stephen Sundar, Founder of Tribal Revival movement, North India
  • Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, New Jersey

The Summit will be held on Thursday and Friday, August 11-12. More than 7,000 people are expected to attend the onsite venue. The Summit will also be broadcast from the campus of Willow Creek to more than 185 satellite locations across the United States.

I will be speaking at the Summit 2011 “Special Edition” on Wednesday, August 10th. I will then interview speakers as part of a going deeper experience for church leaders.

To get a taste of what is in store, you might want to watch the 2010 Global Leadership Summit highlights video. You can also watch the 2011 Summit faculty clips.

Please plan now to join me in attending. Between now and Tuesday, May 24, you can get the Super Early Bird discount and save 20–25 percent of the ticket price.

Question: Have you ever attended The Global Leadership Summit? What did you think? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com Patricia Zell

    I like their definition of a leader (located in the About us tab). In a way, as we receive from God and share with others, we all are leaders. Enjoy the conference–I’m looking forward to what you’ll  have to share from your time there.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I liked that, too. With all the conferences I attend, it’s hard to believe I haven’t been to this one. I’m pretty excited! 

      • Karl Mealor

        I think you may have shared this before, but how many conferences do you attend per year? 

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          About 12-15. Of course, I am speaking at most of them.

  • Bob Seymore

     It has been a non-negotiable for several years for our church and we are now a satellite site. It is a world class faculty directed towards the local church. Last year 150 of our leaders paid their own way to attend. A church that takes a significant core of their leaders will find it provides training, inspiration and a wealth of leadership ideas that will raise the bar for leading a church or any organization. It creates a buzz at our place for months of staff and leadership discussions.We attend and then revisit the content all year long.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is a great testimony, Bob. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Joe Lalonde

       Bob, sounds like you have a large group of leaders at your church. Glad to hear this conference helps with your church!

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    Very cool. I’ve never attended but would like to, some day. I’ve watched the simulcast before and really enjoyed the feel and flavor of it. Have fun!

  • Anonymous

    The Global Leadership Summit is one of the best! Two years ago, I relunctantly went to my first one and, now, I would not miss it.  I am not a pastor.   However, I have been led some youth groups, and I am a business leader.  Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit inspires and challenges, a great combination for anyone. It is a must-attend event. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You make a good point. While the focus is leading in the church, many of the faculty are not from church-world. I think leadership is leadership. Whether it is yourself, your family, your church, or your work, it all applies. Thanks.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks!  By the way, enjoyed your talk at Catalyst in Dallas last week. All heart! 

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Thanks, Jon. For some reason, this message seems to be resonating with leaders.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Thanks, Jon.

  • http://LiveIntentionally.org Paul Steinbrueck

    I’ve participated in about the last 8-10 leadership summits (I’m starting to looks track :) ) and live blogged the last 3 or 4. Excellent, excellent conference! I highly recommend it to all.

    Mike, do you know how are the interviews you do going to be distributed? Are they going to be live online like “Backstage Catalyst?” Available later on the DVD?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I am not sure, Paul. It usually takes a few weeks. I will check in with them and see when they might be available. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    My wife and I attended last year at a satellite location and it was spectacular. So sad that we won’t be able to make it this year. To anyone who hasn’t attended and is thinking about it. DO IT!! You won’t regret it.

    • http://twitter.com/wcagls Willow Creek

      Wow, thanks for your kind words.  What satellite site did you attend last year?  -Hanna (Willow Creek Association) 

      • http://snappycasual.tumblr.com kelsey williams

        We attended at Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, Iowa. Would like to do it again, but funds are limited!

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Looks like a powerful lineup of speakers. I like the global focus of the event and the wide diversity of presenters. I love the question that T.D. Jakes asked at last year’s conference… 

    “Are you surrounding yourself with people who do what you do? If you do, they compete with you, they don’t complete you.”

    That is the power of this conference… a wide divergence of voices…

    I hope you can share your interviews with us.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I was impressed with the diversity as well.

  • Nathan Baxter

     Your way of thinking and values belong in the lineup.  Would love to do a quick interview with you about your invitation to share with my clients.  leadselfleadothers.org

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Nathan, I am on a sabbatical, so I am not doing interviews until after June 15 If you want to contact me then, that would be great. Thanks.

  • http://www.touchtheskye.org Chris MacKinnon

    I can’t usually make it to the Leadership Summit, though I’ve always wanted to be there. The closest I have come is to purchases DVDs of previous summits, though I’m quite a few behind because of cost. The other way I get the message from these speakers is to read their books. It may be the same message, though I miss out on the presentation.

    • http://twitter.com/wcagls Willow Creek

      Hey Chris- Sorry you haven’t been able to make the Summit but glad you’ve had a taste of it through the team edition DVDs!  FYI- If you’re interested, we have a few free messages posted at http://willowcreek.com/events/leadership/summitsunday.asp  

      hanna (Willow Creek Association) 

      • http://twitter.com/AdamMetzger Adam Metzger

        Wow, thanks for posting free resources– so helpful for those who are struggling on a shoestring budget!

  • http://www.cathrynhasek.com Cathryn

    After several years of sending our church leaders to the various Summit venues, last year my church became a satellite church for this wonderful conference.  It is a great venue and we have a huge attendance (www.christchurchohio.org).  What is also neat about being a “host” for this conference is that many of the leaders from other churchs near to us come to it, as well, and we get to meet them and see how they are applying the info in their churches…it is a wonderful opportunity. 

    • http://twitter.com/wcagls Willow Creek

      Hi Cathryn- glad your church is a host site! (I used to be on staff for a host church in Columbus, Ohio :)  and enjoyed being a part of a satellite site for some of the same reasons you note.  I loved getting to gather with other church leaders in the area.  Thanks for sharing!

      -Hanna (Willow Creek Association) 

  • Mburlinson

     The Global Leadership Summit is my #1 “must attend” for leadership input. Every year the impact on my life and leadership increases. Our church now hosts a satellite site and last year over 75 of our leaders attended.  Adding your input is also great. Looking forward to it.

  • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

    This looks like a great conference!  Since I’m in the area, I’ll have to check it out. 

  • http://twitter.com/jonmholcomb Jonathan Holcomb

     I love the Leadership Summit.  I have had the opportunity to go 2 times.  Great Leadership principles all the way around!  Hope to go again this year!

  • Zach Terry

     Thanks for sharing, checking out the satellite venue here in Huntsville. 

    • Anonymous

      We live in Haliburton – I will check to about Huntsville. Thanks,

    • Anonymous

      Wrong Huntsville – I was looking for Huntsville, Ontario Canada – not Huntsville, Alabama. I can’t find any site in Ontario – so looks like it’s no go here.

      • @gogism

        Hi Jan, there actually are satellite sites throughout Canada, they are posted on our Canadian Affiliate site here:http://www.growingleadership.com/summit/index.asp 
        Not sure if any are close to you, but hopefully you’ll be able to make it – we’d love to have you!

        • Anonymous

          Thank you – when I went to the links I only got to http://www.willowcreekglobalsummit.com/i_canada.asp which turned out to be 2010 and no where near Ontario.
          This conference held in Ontario has lots of possibilities – thank you – only 3 hours away from our little town. I will send it on to the proper people.

          • http://twitter.com/wcagls Willow Creek

             Hey Jan, don’t give up, there’s several venues offered in Ontario, try this link http://www.growingleadership.com/summit/locations.asp
            Hope you can make it!
            -Rachel (wca)

          • Anonymous

            Thanks Rachel,
            Yes someone else gave me the better link – somehow I got lost and went to 2010 – all were out west. So definitely it is on my list to attend. Trying to send it out to others.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Thanks for sharing that there are satellites of this. I might have to check out a local venue.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this. When I first became of follower of Christ I have the privilege to attend Willow Creek 3 times – with a van load from our local church in Burlington, Ontario. We drove the 10 hours to Chicago. What a fantastic time – I tried to get excitement for this when I moved to Haliburton – but couldn’t do it although I do think one of the other churches in our small town might have sent a couple of people. Would love to attend again – even through Satellite. I will check it out.
    Thanks so much,

  • Chasz Parker

    I have attended since 1997 (then just the Leadership Summit) and now bring close to 100 staff, board members, and friends of the ministry each year (now Global Summit).  We help sponsor our local satellite site in Syracuse which somewhat compels me to stay local.  And as great a job as Willow and the local site do with the satellite experience, if you have the opportunity by all means go to Willowcreek for the live event.
    Alongside my seminary education, these Summits have been the most significant leadership/spiritual development events for my ministry.

    • Cferguson

      Thanks Chasz!  It’s so good to read that you have had significant new life breathed into your soul at past Summits.  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Wow! That is a serious commitment!

  • Rob Desaulniers

    I have attended the Willow Creek Leadership Summit for four years now at a satellite location and have to say that they are the most moving and inspirational sessions.  Each summit has an underlying theme and each speaker contributes their kernels of knowledge building to a great message.  A message that shows leaders that they can lead from where they are, that they can rise to meet the challenges in front of them, and that they can do it with Christ-centered values.  I am looking forward to the Summit once again to re-fill my leadership cup and re-center my vision and values as a leader.  Enjoy your first time there – it is a powerful experience.

    • http://twitter.com/wcagls Willow Creek

       Thanks Rob, so glad you find the Summit transforms your leadership and your walk. See you there!
      -Rachel (wca)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It is hard to believe I have never been. I may be the last guy left?

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

     I attended in 2005 (its been a while) and really enjoyed it. I was at a satellite campus for it, but it was still very impactful.

    I always love hearing from Bill Hybels about leadership 

  • http://twitter.com/BradHarris22 Brad Harris

    I’ve been to several Leadership Summits at the main Willow campus and they’ve all been fantastic.  As someone has already mentioned, the conference features several “marketplace” leaders each year and I agree with you that leadership is leadership; and there are many lessons from the non-church environment that those in the church would be wise to hear and heed.  Each time I’ve attended my current ministry role and responsibilities have been a bit different, and each time I’ve walked away with lots of actionable ideas – I think there’s really something for everyone.  I expect this year to be no different and look forward to it.

    • http://twitter.com/wcagls Willow Creek

       You’ve hit on one of my favorite facets of the Summit as well: leadership is leadership and we can learn from leaders in many different fields and seasons of life. So glad it’s changed your ministry.
      Rachel (wca)

  • http://twitter.com/rodneyeason Rodney Eason

    Last year was the first time that I had heard of the “Summit.” I watched a video feed at a satellite location.
    1) The speakers were awesome. Their message was sharp and powerful. Their delivery was spot-on. I only saw day 2 and there were no weak messages. Each speaker kept upping the ante.
    2) The music, video, and choreography are well done.
    3) I went with friends who are “plugged-in” to the church leader circuit. They said that what you see in Bill Hybels is what you get. He is authentic and this is what has helped grow Willow and the conference. His interview with Jack Welch is something most people should watch.

    I am definitely planning on going again this year to the broadcast.
    Congratulations on being a part of it!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It is great to hear these testimonies. I have obviously been missing something important.

  • http://twitter.com/marblefamily Kristen B Marble

    I’ve had the opportunity to attend the past several years, and now the Summit has become a permanent fixture on my calendar.  One day I’d love to attend live at Willow Creek, but for now the satellite sites are a great option.

    Really looking forward to learning from Seth Godin and Steven Furtick this year!

  • Aaron Householder

    Thanks SO much for promoting GLS, Michael.  It’s an amazing event no matter your position of leadership.  If someone is wondering, “Is this for me?”  I’d invite that person to taste & see.  Last year was my first & I’ll never miss another.  I learned from EVERY eclectic presenter.  Well worth the time & cost, Friends.

  • http://twitter.com/jonstolpe Jon Stolpe

    I’m sure this will be an excellent conference.  I’ve attended the old Willow Creek Group Life Conference a few times, and it was worth it every time.  If you can make it, I’d highly recommend attending in person.  Besides hearing the incredible speaker line-up, it’s an awesome opportunity to rub shoulders with other leaders.  There are so many great ideas out there.  Imagine what can happen when all those ideas come under one roof.

  • http://www.paulawhidden.wordpress.com Paula

    This conference has been on my radar for a while but I couldn’t attend.  Reading your thoughts as well as the other responses makes me think perhaps this is a good time.  Thanks. 

    • http://twitter.com/wcagls Willow Creek

       Go for it Paula – you’ll love it, promise!
      Rachel (wca)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I hope to see you there!

  • http://twitter.com/BenDiStefano Ben DiStefano

     This conference is excellent.  Like drinking water from a fire hose be prepared to be overwhelmed in a good way.  Try not to look for the application while you are there, build that reflection time into your calendar later, there’s just too much to handle.  You will love it and I’m sure will blog about it.  I look forward to reading your thoughts come August.  Shout out to host site Grace Church in Erie, PA

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is actually a very good idea—building reflection time into your calendar after a conference. So many times, we just jump right back into our world. A few weeks later, the conference is a distant memory. I am going to start doing this.

  • http://www.verythere.com Mark Notess

    I went last year for the first time and found it very valuable. Some really great speakers.

  • Dan Morse

     This will be the 9th year I have attended this conference.  I am a business leader and a lay leader at church.  I have brought many friends who weren’t church leaders to the event– they loved it too!  There is some worship and prayer that takes place, but don’t let that bother you if you aren’t a believer.  The speakers are pastors as well as authors/researchers/politicians/business people/rock stars with varied backgrounds.  This is the highlight of my learning and a ‘can’t miss’ conference!  I’ve always viewed the satellite version, which is great, but attended live last year for the first time with my brother who lives in Chicago– AMAZING EXPERIENCE!

  • Diane Rivers

    As a member and volunteer leader at Willow Creek, I’ve been going for several years now.  Before that, I did annotations of the sessions for planning and promotional purposes for the Willow Creek Association.  I can tell you first-hand, it is an excellent conference for church and non-church leadership alike.  I get charged up and inspired every single year.   

  • Liz Driscoll

    I got my call to ministry at The Leadership Summit in 1997.  It led me to seminary, which was great, but I still find the Summit to be the most impactful leadership learning I’ve ever had.  I love the diversity of voices which you don’t see at a lot of other conferencess.  A can’t miss! 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is a really powerful endorsement, Liz. Thanks.

  • http://www.jespersenpodium.com Steve Jespersen

    I have been a part of all the Leadership Summits, first as an attender, then as a Willow staff member and now I go to first year satellite sites to assist them in running the conference.  It is absolutely the highlight of my summer.  This conference should be a don’t miss for all leaders.  It will truly inspire you to grow as a leader.  Glad you are able to attend Michael.  Welcome!

  • http://twitter.com/cheetosrapper Dan Greegor

    I attended for my first time last year and was so impressed that registered for this year as soon as the summit was finished. If you have not attended one, you must go. Great speakers with passion teaching great lessons. Well worth the cost. 

    • http://twitter.com/wcagls Willow Creek

      Dan- Thanks for your comment!  Which speaker are you most looking forward to hear from at the Summit 2011? 

      -hanna (Willow Creek Association) 

  • Anonymous

    I have been to the Leadership Summit for the past 5 years at the People’s Church in Nashville.  It has been a great experience both personally, professionally, and spiritually.  The speakers always provide great information and I usually walk out with about 4 or 5 books that are really impactful in my life.  I do advise that if someone is considering going to the conference that they consider reading your Playing Full Out post before going.  The only way to experience the conference and get all you can out of it is to ensure that you really engage it, take notes, talk about it with others and process take-a-ways and use them.  I highly recommend the experience for anyone both business and ministry professionals and for people who just want an experience to grow and feel like they can be who they are and be Christ centered too. 

  • http://twitter.com/BYvonneGreen Yvonne Green

    Look forward to hearing everything that you learned plus its an EQUIP Chuch

  • Klmead

    It sounds fantastic, and I will even be in Barrington at the time, only one problem.  Finances.  I am afraid that us missionaries can’t afford a high class conference.  I remember when Bill Hybels was preaching in the apartment over his garage.  My husband attended then.  I guess times have changed.  SIGH. 

    I will look forward to your blogs about it. 

  • http://twitter.com/djfuters Jeff Futers

    I’ve been attending Summit now for almost ten years, first in Chicago and for the last five our church has been a host site for the simulcast. It is always a super-charged leadership challenge and loaded with a perfect mix of inspiration and timeless practical leadership wisdom. I wouldn’t miss it!

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    I have not attended the Summit but I’m familiar with Starbucks and I like their coffee. Actually I’m impressed and appreciate the Kingdom thinking represented by those will speak at the Summit. I just mentioned McManus two days ago in a conversation with my wife. I hadn’t even thought of him in several years. This should be an outstanding and encouraging conference for those able to attend. I’m glad your schedule allows you to enjoy it this year.

  • Joe Lalonde

    Wow, that sounds like a great line-up. I’ve never attended a Global Leadership Summit before. After reading the line-up, I’ll have to try to attend one of these in the future. Hope you have a great time!

  • Anonymous

    I actually had a conversation the other day about everyone being a leader, and we came out with very diverse opinions on this. I really sink up with this definition that we are all leaders, and it is by our example that lives will either dim or glow around us. Sounds like a very exciting conference!

  • http://daroso.com David Richards

    I love the Lead Conference. My wife and I went to Chicago in 1998 for it and I have attended numerous satellite events. 

    Two years ago, my employer would not pay for my registration so I didn’t go. Not again! After last years Summit, I paid for my own registration for this years summit because it is an event I don’t want to miss.  It is two days of personal and professional growth. 

    BTW, the CEO of the non profit I work for is encouraging the directors in our organization to budget the money and time to attend this event.  It is money well spent.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That says a lot that you would spend your own money to attend.

  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    Looks like a GREAT event. Loved that trailer. Led me to the site. Addictive. High Value. 

  • Jmhardy97

    I have attended this conference the last 9 years and it is one of the best. You get a mix of church leaders, business leaders and people from all walks of life just wanting to make a difference for God! It is a must attend on my schedule.


  • http://twitter.com/ChadEBillington Chad Billington

     Attend with my church staff every year for a long while. Summit is being broadcast in Canada in September this year. Better for us folks with a short summer, but my August will feel weird as I wait.

    What’s the special edition broadcast you are doing? Is it going to be online. Hadn’t heard of it. I know you won’t be disappointed in being there though. I always walk away inspired, motivated and with some practical advice.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The event I am doing is for a select group of donors. I will be teaching on How to Create a Life Plan.

  • http://joelzehring.posterous.com Joel Zehring

    I went to a WCA leadership summit a few years ago and came away with a good reading list. It was cool to hear Jim Collins speak.

    I don’t see myself attending another. Books, blogs and Twitter keep me inspired beyond my obedience.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    I have never attended such conferences in India. Hence, I am looking forward to  after summit resources that are to be published for general public.

  • Anonymous

    I’m flying over from York, England to attend for the first time. Really looking forward to learning lots that will help me with my Life Plan – especially professionally as Headmaster of a private school and as a church leader. Michael, been inspired by your blogs! Nearly finished my Life Plan and just started blog – http://www.andyfalconer.net – but need to start writing.

  • MsSarahGehring

     I assume this leadership conference is open to everyone, not just church leaders correct?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, everyone.

  • http://twitter.com/davebaldwin Dave Baldwin

     The Willow Creek Leadership Summit has been a defining experience in my life. I attended my first one in 1998 and haven’t missed one since. It was a God thing that I could attend the first one. I called ten days before the event and begged to come. They let me come, but I had to sit in the chapel with the Willow staff. At the end of some of the sessions I would just sit there and weep! It had been a life-changing summer for me anyway and this just added to it. It was sort of an awakening of my gift of leadership.  Knowing how quickly the Summit filled up I registered ten for the following year right at the end of the event. Within four years we had forty-five attending from our church. 
    I have never been disappointed by the Summit. There are a number of us now spread out around the country that were a part of those early Summit experiences. So when the first session begins we text each other stating, “And so it begins.”
    I’m looking forward to another great Summit in August 2011.

  • Sheila Boggess

    Having attended the first four leadership summits (via satellite), I can only vouch that this conference leads the way. I’m glad to hear you are going to be part of it. Since beginning to read your blog, I actually thought of e-mailing Bill Hybels to suggest you be a main speaker.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ctpotts Chris Potts

     I’ll be there (at a satellite site in Indiana)!  Attended for the first time last year and it was awesome!  I encourage everyone to consider attending…and I don’t think that a satellite site takes away from the experience.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

     I would love to attend…  Sigh… One of these days.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      I’m with you, Jeff…

  • http://www.twitter.com/paulaboardman Paula Boardman

    I used to work at the Sydney “location” during my time in Christian Retail. I loved working the summit as it gave me the chance to attend!

    I would highly recommend this summit to anyone considering attending.

    Also, John Dickson (from Australia) is brilliant.  I had the opportunity for a few years to sit in on his lunchtime lectures – amazing. He’s also a founder of “The Centre for Public Christianity” http://www.publicchristianity.com

  • http://www.raisingthecross.com Chris Benton

    Haven’t been yet but this year will also be our first year attending. We are very excited about it. My wife and I are looking forward to it.

  • Lukas

    Great to have you come there. I really enjoy your blog as well as I did your session on writting blog at Catalyst last year in October (like having own blog as base and social networks as embassies – I try to do it from then). Anyway, Willow´s GLS is fantastic event and our church host it for the whole Czech Republic and Slovakia – fantastic speakers and content. I will look forward to see you in Chicago.