When I was working on my dissertation many years ago, I wanted to answer the question, “What turns you off about church?”

I talked to a lot of people and the primary answers centered on it being boring, not practical, language they didn’t understand and the way they had to dress to go to church.

About that time I attended a pastor’s conference in Dallas. On the first night, a young man spoke. I had never heard of him or his church. But he spoke about starting a place called Willow Creek Community Church and how they reached people far from God.

That young man, Bill Hybels, said, “Some of you are sitting there and you will think this is crazy. But for others of you, your heart is beating out of your chest.”

That was me.

After spending two years interviewing people about why they didn’t want to go to church, I knew what he said was true. I went back to Concord and started the process of becoming a church that meets people where they are. That was the genesis of Blue Ridge Community Church.

Right away, we joined the Willow Creek Association and started attending their conferences. In fact, we are number 43 out of now more than 15,000 member churches and organizations that participate in these conferences. What began as a church leadership conference is now the Global Leadership Summit, simulcast around the world.

In my opinion, it’s the best conference on leadership out there. They have the best speakers in the world, and have for decades. It’s the most effective thing we’ve done here as a church in terms of formal leadership training.

The Global Leadership Summit is so popular it sells out immediately each year.

That’s, in part, why we’re bringing the live simulcast to Blue Ridge this year. We tried to get tickets for our leaders to attend the host location in Chicago again this year, but they were sold out within minutes after becoming available. Now, though, everyone can go to the Summit.

If you’re in a place of influence or leadership, I hope you’ll come. I don’t think you could find anything better.

To register for the Global Leadership Summit, click here.