Today I had the privilege of attending the Leadership Summit. Not at the Chicago location, but at the satellite location in Austin, TX.

Churches I’ve worked with in the past have not been Willow Creek Association churches, I I haven’t really known that much about Willow. I’ve certainly read a lot about Willow Creek and of the amazing things they’ve done, but really more as a bystander. However, once I came on staff at Gateway I’ve been much more exposed to Willow Creek. Not only is our church a WCA church, but many from our staff were once on staff on Willow. John Burke, our pastor was on staff at Willow when he felt called to plant a church in Austin. So, we use a lot of Willow resources and they’ve been absolutely fantastic. I’m very impressed.

So this was my first Leadership Summit. I only attended the first day because day two was on Friday (my day off) and I really needed a day off. Need I remind you of what’s been going on in my house? I was amazed at the scale of this event. It was never said (at least I didn’t hear) how many were attending this conference, but I heard that there were upwards of 60,000 joining either live or at satellite venues. How amazing is that? In addition to this, they’re boxing this thing up and making it available to gatherings of Christian leaders all over the world. In the same way that One Prayer impacted hundreds of thousands through synchronized worship experiences, Leadership Summit may impact many more through incredible leadership training.

So, here is my very brief overview of my one day Leadership Summit experience at a satellite venue.

The video quality was superb. I’m assuming they were using HD satellite feeds. The picture was amazingly clear and very well produced… as good if not better than anything you’d see on TV live. The transitions from the main experience to the local experience was flawless. Everything was precisely on time with video countdowns. It did not feel any different from being in the live experience. Well, maybe a little. Certainly it would have been amazing to be in the Willow auditorium and be feel the buzz of all that was going on. However, I do not feel like I had a second class experience. It was well worth the cost.

Things I really thought were interesting. I’ve never experienced video worship. We all stood where we were and worshiped (I assume along with 60,000 others participating all around the nation). I know that most multi-site services have live bands, that way it feels more like “normal” church. The video is usually so well produced that by the time you experience worship, great video teaching and the closing by a live campus pastor, it’s a great experience. But after seeing this, I truly feel some multi-site churches could totally pull off video worship. With a good sound system, it would really feel like you are there. I also loved how even in a video venue, people participate just like it is all really happening right there in front of them. Clapping for the speakers and all… it’s just so fun to watch.

The quality of the speakers… superb. I’ll blog about the sessions I attended. Each speaker inspired me to make changes. In different ways, each captured my heart and led me in a way or direction I hadn’t thought much about. Well done Willow! I look forward to next year. I heard that we may actually be hosing the venue at Gateway next year, so that will be extra fun!