America’s Best Hope 2016

America’s Best Hope is a yearly, profound Christian leadership conference run by an Indianapolis nonprofit (Truth at Work).  These are a few notes I took that spoke to me in the moment, but this is not a full representation and absolutely does not do the conference justice!

Zeke Turner, CEO of Mainstreet

  • Focus on why you do it, not what you do.  Without purpose, there is no point.
  • Ultimate purpose: glorify God.
  • How do you define the “why”?  Your ideology + your thorough vision of the future.
  • Need to be honest with yourself and better understand where you shine and your God-given abilities, versus repetitious competencies and weaknesses that should be delegated.
  • Define desired mindset within your organization.  Write down 3 good relationships and 3 bad ones.  Characterize each in-depth and find commonalities.
  • Unclear == unkind.  Set expectations clearly and communicate plainly.

Ray Hilbert, Co-Founder of Truth at Work

  • Greatest leadership danger: isolation.  Causes temptation, stupid decisions, stress, anxiety, etc.
  • Counselors, peer-groups, and advisers are vital.
  • Without the accountability, hard to discern the Spirit speaking versus the self.
  • We’re wired and designed for relational accountability.  We’re broken and in need of community.
  • The lion hunts the isolated.
  • Harder to be pushed off-stride with community.

Anne Graham Lotz (Billy Graham’s daughter)

  • Hard to stay focused on Jesus without continuously being in the word.
  • Find questions and application each time you study it.
  • Your purpose is to let God work through you and to glorify Him.
  • Find self-worth at the foot of the cross and nowhere else.

Russ Crosson, President/CEO of Ronald Blue & Co.

  • Keep a financial budget to have more life, not to have more $.
  • Need financial, social, and spiritual capital.

Jim Munroe, Magician

  • Life events and situations seem random at the time, but they’re each part of a large orchestration.
  • You’re a puzzle piece.

Dee Ann Turner, VP of Enterprise Social Responsibility at Chick-Fil-A

  • Understand that seemingly small/ordinary interactions and collisions can be impactful.
  • Invest in people that need an intervention in order to be successful.
  • A calling is a lifetime beckoning, not a “job” which is seasonal.
  • Callings are frequently what others tell you that you do best.
  • May need to do what God asks us to do at that specific moment in preparation for what we’re called to do.
  • Care about people personally.
  • Company culture: living life together.
  • Servant leadership.  People are gifts to be stewarded.

Phil Vischer, Founder/CEO of JellyFish Labs (and creator of Veggie Tales)
This talk was incredible.  I can’t speak highly enough of the value of his story.

  • What’s more important?  The dream, or God?
  • He who has God and many things has no more than he who has God alone.
  • A dream fulfilled, then taken away, could be a test to see what’s more important in your life.  “Good work” can still become an idol.
  • In the Bible, people who do not yet know what God wants them to do do not frantically chase ideas, but quietly wait.  Needs are then met by Christ alone.  Our longing for impact shifts to glorifying Him, rather than remaining pride or ambition.
  • If we’re not quietly waiting, we can’t be obedient or listen.
  • Worry about the calling, not the outcomes.
  • Beware your dreams, which can be misplaced longings and false lovers.  Focus on God alone.
  • Pursue Him, not impact in and of itself.
  • Leadership starts with Him.

Col. Lee Ellis

  • Your personality style does not affect your ability to lead.
  • Over-communicate your message.

Kirk Perry, President of Brand Solutions at Google

  • Mistake: faith is private.
  • Mistake: Sundays are sufficient.
  • Mistake: sharing my faith scares people away.
  • Mistake: faith and work don’t mix.
  • Throughout the Bible, flawed people are the ones used to witness.
  • Be genuinely humble and vulnerable.
  • Show your faith as a natural extension of who you are.
  • Stand firm in your faith.