Listening to the final speaker of the day at the Leadership Summit (we are at a satellite location in Richmond, with about 45 folks from our church) - Efrem Smith is full of wisdom and a passionate communicator. Smart move, putting him on at the end of a lengthy stream of people with a lot of words to say. Very redemptive.
It's been a long day, but the wisdom and experience we've witnessed has been extraordinary. It's almost too much to bear. I'm ready to get up and go do something.
Here's a bit of what I am gleaning from Smith:
"God's in the business of recruiting unqualified people."
"Tribalism is a deep, evil force that leaders must take on. We cannot escape disparities around the world that are based on race, class and place. And we sit inside the church and pretend that they aren't happening right inside our doors."
"This is no time, leaders, for empire building. We need humble, sacrificial force to go out to the places where hurting people are. We get that by abiding where hurting people are. Abiding means dwelling - staying - being there."
"We create dwelling places in the park. In the public schools. At a community center. Stop dreaming about church buildings and have a vision about transformation."
"One of the best things a leader can do is say, 'My bad'."
"The high pressure of what God wants to do in the world is bumping up against the low pressure of what we want to do to that's comfortable."
"There's no institution in the United States that can make the case for building a place for people who are comfortable with one another - except the church."
"What if we saw ourselves beyond black and white, red and yellow? What if we came to the conclusion that race labels aren't really who we are?"
"There are valid reasons to create ethnic-specific churches; but we cannot deny multi-racial, diverse communities exist."
"Crazy, deranged kids come in all shapes, colors and sizes."
"A leader must be a beloved leader, an abiding leader, a confessing leader and a perfecting leader."
"Build organic gatherings by building relationships with other leaders from diverse groups."
"Create program experiences to reach particular sub-cultures. Start economic development organizations. Create groups to talk about issues in the community. The more understanding, the more community, the more relationships I build."