FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN POWELL URGES SERVICE TO COMMUNITY AT GLOBAL LEADERSHIP SUMMIT

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“Leaders inspire people to reach beyond themselves.”—Former Secretary of State Colin Powell 

By Janis Mork

September 5, 2013 (La Mesa)- More than 500 people gathered at Journey Community Church in La Mesa on August 8 and 9 to watch a videocast of the 10th annual Global Leadership Summit broadcast from Willow Creek Church in Illinois to over 300 host sites in 100 countries.  Bill Yaccino, Connection and Formation Pastor at Journey Community Church, hosted the event.

One of the most well-known speakers to address the global audience was General Colin Powell. He was the senior level adviser to four U.S. presidents, a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Advisor, and served as the 65th U.S. Secretary of State. He served in the Army for 35 years and was a four-star general. He is also founder of the not-for-profit organization America’s Promise Alliance, as well as the Colin L. Powell Center for Leadership and Service at his alma matter, City College of New York.

 

“I was raised in an immigrant family,” General Powell said of his Jamaican roots. “I’ve never forgotten where I came from. Leadership is getting people out of science and management, having a vision that goes towards a purpose. Leaders inspire people to reach beyond themselves…You have to constantly show people that they are important. Leadership, in my model, is all about followship. It’s investing the people to get it done. That’s what I tried to practice all my life.” He added that “trust is the glue” that holds an organization together.” 

Pastor Bill Hybels from Willow Creek Community Church interviewed Powell.

Hybels: "Were you ever a part of any racial discrimination?"

Powell: “Yes, but I came along as the nation really made historic rules. I entered the army in 1954.”

After graduating from the ROTC- Reserves Officer Training Corps, he added, he was selected as a Brigadier General in the 1970s.  Some other people in the army wanted to know why he got picked, he recalled. “I did the best I could.”

Hybels: "You’ve come up with a lot of proverbs in your leadership. ‘It’ll look different in the morning.’"

Powell: "I use that all the time because we go to bed, having a bad day. I told my troops, ‘We’re going to make it better.’"

Hybels: "‘Get mad and get over it.’"

Powell: "Mad is a human emotion. Just get mad and get over it.”

Hybels: "What’s a red flag in an emerging leader?"

Powell: "Ego. No one taught them humbleness etc." 

Hybels: "‘Tell me early.’"

Powell: "Problem solving is what leaders do. Tell me the problem early. Then I’ll give you guidance."

Raised in the Episcopal Church, Powell also spoke about his faith. “I have been fortunate in serving others,” he said. Powell served as youth minister, and his church adopted a school with mostly minority students, teaching them math and science and hosting pool parties in the summers. “Kids at my church get to know these kids,” he recalled. “That’s what Jesus calls us to do.” 

Asked what advice he would offer to preachers and pastors, Powell urged that lessons be relevant to today’s world.  He said pastors should “challenge people” to serve others.  “Challenges are a part of life.”

A later speaker was Bob Goff, author of Love Does, founding partner in the law firm Goff and DeWalt, and Honorary Consul for the Republic of Uganda to the U.S. 

He is an entrepreneurial leader who established Restore International and the Restore Academy, giving a voice to oppressed children and the poorest of the poor. He has been laboring with the Uganda judiciary to bring over 200 cases involving exploitation of children to trial and has also been a driving force behind legal intervention for more than 50 child prostitution cases in India. Shauna Niequist, Pastor Hybels’ daughter and an author, introduced Goff.

“Figure out what’s the right stuff to do. Ask what Jesus made you to do and then do lots of that,” he said, then gave a startling example.

In Uganda, he learned of child sacrifices practiced by witch doctors; 863 kids in the last year have gone missing. He then told the story of a Ugandan boy, whom he called "Charlie," and said the child’s kidnapper met with Goff in jail and accepted Jesus in his heart. Learn more about Goff at http://bobgoff.com.

Pastor Ed Noble (pictured) of Journey told ECM that it took many volunteers to organize the Summit, and that attendance has increased each year. “This is the biggest one we’ve ever had."

Francine Phillips told ECM that the Summit locally now includes 42 organizations and non-profits. 

At Journey Church, members take to heart their mission to serve the community. Journey maintains a food bank, the Twice-Treasured Thrift Store, and puts on summer camps at its La Mesa campus, as well as in Tecate and Haiti. Members also volunteer in foster homes and retirement centers.  

Pastor Noble said that for parishioners witnessing suffering in their community, “That’s not God’s will.”