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A Summit Story

Summary: A long time Global Leadership Summit attendee shares a little about the impact this transformative event has had on her life and faith.

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Last Sunday we took a moment during our services to hear from Terri Burke, a Grace Chapel member, who's been a huge fan of Willow Creek's Global Leadership Summit since the first time she attended. While we've been talking a lot about why we think this two-day event important for all of us to attend, Terri's story captures the power the Summit experience has to change your life. She was kind enough to write out her thoughts for us, and we're delighted to share them with you!

Pastor Dave: Hi Terri! Tell us a little about yourself.

Terri Burke: I’m Terri Burke, I’ve been at Grace for eleven years. I’m married to Bill, Grace’s Executive Pastor. I happily work as a reference librarian at a public library, I have two married kids and three, soon-to-be four, grandchildren.

My first GLS was in 1999 when we were living in Indianapolis. I went as part of a group from my church. I didn’t consider myself a leader in any kind of way but I’m an incurable learner and I just wanted to be with all the people from my church who were going. I wanted to see Willow Creek Church and hear Bill Hybels speak.

Things have never been the same since – for me, or me or my family. I came to see leadership in a completely different way and gained a life-changing passion for my church, its people, its vision and mission. I leverage what I learn there as a resource to maximize my influence time and time again.

PD: In your words, describe the Summit experience for us.

TB: We all have a spark of leadership in us. The GLS is all about learning how to get better at leading where you are. Leaders, thinkers, and innovators of all backgrounds and denominations gather on those two days in August to share new insights, fresh perspectives and intriguing strategies. There’s a wide variety of learning approaches—interviews, talks, videos. It’s not just for clergy, staff and church volunteers. Not at all!

It includes those working in business, education, government and the social sector, and at home. There’s something for everyone who wants to be better at what they do. No matter what it is.

The best lessons are from Jesus—the greatest leader in history. Bill Hybels is a world class teacher of leadership principles, but we hear from Corporate CEOs, leaders in academia, sports figures, teachers, and entertainers. Bono, Rick Warren, Colin Powell, Brene Brown, Jim Collins, Tony Dungy, Cory Booker, Tyler Perry, Blake Mycoskie, Tim Keller, Dr. Henry Cloud, Condoleeza Rice and Andy Stanley have motivated and encouraged me. Every year I tell my family— “that was the best GLS ever!”

PD: I know this will be hard, but give us just one takeaway – a Summit highlight – that’s stuck with you.

TB: We have so many stories. So do the people we’ve invited to the Summit. It’s a family event—all our kids and lots of friends come every year. They wouldn’t miss it. We love to rate the speakers and share our notes. Lives have truly been changed for the better.

The most important thing I learned at an early Summit is an axiom that’s become my guiding principle: “Excellence honors God and inspires people.” It’s gotten me through lots of tough work and personal situations and helps me stay clear that the most important thing in any circumstance is to give my absolute best for God. It’s easy to share with just about anyone.

PD: What would you say to anyone here at Grace wondering if the Summit is worthwhile for them?

TB: There’s nowhere I’d rather be on August 11 and 12. I know it can be hard to take off from work on a Thursday and Friday (Ed: maybe this link can help) but I guarantee the Summit is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Look out!

It’s an opportunity to sharpen your skills, find fresh motivation, or maybe even be called to a whole new challenge.

Imagine what could happen if we’re all at our best at the most important work on earth!

5 Ways to Make Your Summer Awesome

Summary: Summer in New England is already pretty awesome. Warm weather, barbecues, beach days, trips to Maine... It just can't get any better, right? Think again.

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There’s no better season than summer in New England. Trips to the beach, barbeques, sunset walks around the neighborhood… It just can’t get any better, right?

Think again. Because there’s a lot going on at church in summertime, too! Besides our summer teaching series (did we mention we’re kicking it off with a message on Star Wars?), here are five ways to make your summer even better:

  1. Attend the Global Leadership Summit. It’s a 2-day event with TED-style talks and interviews from leading thinkers both within and outside of the Christian community. And it’s not just for corporate leaders, business executives, or pastors. It’s for anyone who wants to take their next big step towards achieving their goals in life! And if you register by July 12 (and use our host site discount code!), it’s just $89.
  2. Prioritize your devotional life. With less structure to our summer schedule, we let our priorities shift a bit – like less ironing, and more ice cream. But our daily devotional habits shouldn’t be one of them! Looking for new devotional resources? Check out some of the guides we have in our app, Grace Chapel Connect!
  3. Volunteer. Instead of working on your yard (or your tan), make a difference by volunteering, and serving someone else! The Boston Rescue Mission is still looking for volunteers to drop food off at the Mission one Sunday per month, and our Kidstown team is still in need of summer volunteers
  4. Attend a GC@Nite service. We get it: it’s summer, and the outdoors beckons (whether it’s the beach, the lake, or the mountains.) The days are longer, and sometimes you just want to spend the whole weekend outside. So, do it! Wait, did we just tell you to skip church? Nope. Spend your Sunday mornings outside with your family, and give GC@Nite a try – 5:00pm at our Lexington Campus.
  5. Make a new friend. This summer, we’re making it easier to meet new people: church picnics! This summer, each of our locations is having a picnic for anyone who wants to hang out and enjoy some casual summer fun. Check our events calendar for dates and locations at each campus.

We’ve got a lot going on this summer, and we’d love for you to take advantage of it! And remember: shorts and flip flops are appropriate (and encouraged!) summer Sunday attire.