The summit is as much an 'experience' as it is a mean of receiving excellent content. To be in an auditorium with 7000 other delegates, on a vast campus (with lakes) is inspiring in itself. The sheer size of the carpark beggars belief, as does the army of volunteers that keep everything so well maintained.
If I had to sum up the entire summit in one word it would be 'inspiring'. Here's why ...
For me, the spectrum of the speakers plays a big part: an advisor to 4 US Presidents (David Gergen), a former UK Prime Minister (Tony Blair), a Pastor (Tim Keller) and a Rock Star (Bono from U2). I long for the Church to be shaping culture and these speakers do just that.
There were also inspiring entrepreneurs: Jessica Jackley is co-founder of Kiva.org, the world's first peer-to-peer online micro-lending website. Andrew Rugasira is the Founder of Good African Coffee, and he who helped us consider 'Trade not Aid' as the primary means to develop Africa's economy.
What Bill Hybels has built over 30 years of ministry is truly inspiring. He clearly loves people and is endeavouring to make disciples of Jesus. For example, Liz and I stayed with two wonderful Willow Creekers who open up their home regularly to international delegates to keep costs down.
It wasn't a conference for my theology, ecclesiology or vision casting for the movement I am part of... that is the Newfrontiers Leadership Conference at Brighton.
The Willow Leadership Summit is about inspiring leadership. Its lazor sharp on this. The summit is about being exposed to world class leaders from all walks of life. It's about the church being led well and learning from todays thinkers and movers & shakers.
Tomorrow I hope to capture a few of the specifics I am pondering for us in Reading ... The problem is literally trying to pin it down given how different the context is that I heard it in!