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Global teleconference gives leaders a chance to share with locals

Posted: August 7, 2009 9:44 p.m.
Updated: August 8, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Singer Bono performs via satellite in a pre-recorded interview at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit hosted by Northpark Community Church on Friday.

About 50 business and ministry leaders listened as Bono addressed churches' increasing role in global humanitarian efforts on Friday.

"The concept of neighbor has completely changed," said Bono, lead singer of U2, from a giant screen at NorthPark Community Church in Valencia. "Can we enjoy the benefits of a globalized economy without taking some of the responsibility?"

Bono was one of 17 business and ministry leaders who were broadcast or video-cast via satellite from the Illinois-based Willow Creek Leadership Summit Conference on Thursday and Friday.

About 100 local business and church leaders learned from renowned speakers such as Bill Hybels, Tony Blair, David Gergen, Carly Fiorina, Henry Cloud and others throughout the conference.

NorthPark Community joined about 11,000 churches globally in hosting the satellite conference. Senior Pastor David White said this year was more of a "trial run" before the church hosts the conference again next year for more members of the community.

"We have some of the largest commercial business parks in Santa Clarita," White said. "So we thought maybe we should try to find a way to serve the business leaders, the CEO, the teachers. ..."

In a down-turned economy, White said, it's important that these leaders have a local outlet to find leadership encouragement for an affordable price.

Stan Birge, who runs direct marketing for Princess Cruises, said he's always looking for places to learn.

"These are internationally recognized names so it's great to hear from them in a forum - which is unusual to see this quality of known figures speaking here in Valencia."

Birge said he was particularly affected by a quote from Gary Hamel, director of the Management Lab. That quote was: "Sometimes we're so deep in the trenches that it's easy to mistake your rut for the horizon."

The Valencia resident said it was important for him to get out of his daily routine and reflect for a few days on leadership.

Business consultants Chip and Dan Heath spoke about change and failure.

"In a time of change, failure is a necessity," said Dan Heath. "Built into a growth mindset is a tolerance for failure."

Bob Lininger, a part-time pastor at NorthPark, said that message affected him on a personal and a ministry level.

"I'm contemplating changes in the ministries I'm with, so failure is something that stares you in the face every day when you get up," said Lininger, who leads the church's senior ministry.

"I think it made me more courageous to take the steps I need to take to just face them."


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