Last Friday night DaRonn picked up Bill Hybels from the airport here in Cochabamba, Bolivia. He is on a 12 countries in 12 days tour. When he came in he was relieved that he was going to have an evening without a meeting so he could relax. Drinks were suggested so my husband took them down the street from the hotel to a fun restaurant. They had a nice time talking. (I was very bummed that I was laid up in bed with tummy crumminess. I got over it by the next morning.)
For the Saturday morning session we had invited 150 pastors to participate in a Q and A with Mr. Hybels. The format promoted thinking beyond quantity and into quality in our churches. The pastors had some great questions about strategy and concepts.
Personally, I was challenged by the four levels of leadership he taught. The one we are most familiar with is a downward directed leader from superior to subordinate. The second type is lateral influence that we have with our peers or people with the same level of authority. The third is called leading up for times when we are accountable to a board yet still have a degree of leadership in the scenario. Finally, there is self leadership. It was so good to hear that. Taking responsibility is key. We can not shift blame on the shortcomings of others for mistakes that must be attributed to faulty personal leadership. He encouraged us as pastors and leaders to lead ourselves well.
A lunch with key leaders from around Bolivia followed. We had the director from Compassion. Willow Creek’s representative from Brazil was there. The director for the Baptist social outreach program was at the table too. In all we were 13 influential people. It was my honor to be able to sit next to Mr. Hybels and be his earpiece and mouthpiece as I translated the back and forth of the conversation.
What struck me most was that even though he is an experienced and accomplished leader the air around him was completely unassuming and personable. At lunch he showed such a genuine interest in the people at the table by asking questions about the nation of Bolivia and then listening intently to the answers. He even drew a map and asked about key cities and population. His motives were obviously sincere and helpful.
After lunch as the team was loading up in the truck so that DaRonn could take them to the airport Bill said that he would like to come back so that he could spend some time to get to know the city. I truly hope that he is able to do just that.