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The Journal Gazette

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Saturday, February 04, 2017 10:01 pm

Well-known speakers set for Habitat's 'Faith' event

Lisa Green | The Journal Gazette

Mitzi Thomas considers it a coup, in a positive way: Bill Hybels and Ron Blue together at one leadership event.

In person. In Fort Wayne.

They are among the nationally known speakers scheduled to appear Feb. 23 at Parkview Mirro Center for Research, 10622 Parkview Plaza Drive, for Habitat for Humanity’s first "Build on Faith" event.

Hybels is founder of the Global Leadership Summit that trains hundreds of thousands each year. He has authored more than 20 books and is pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in the Chicago suburb of South Barrington, Illinois.

Blue is founder of Ronald Blue & Co., one of the largest Christian financial planning firms in the country. Since 1979, the Atlanta-based company has grown to manage more than $2 billion in assets for more than 5,000 clients, employing more than 175 people in 14 regional offices.

"You don’t generally get a Bill Hybels to come to some place like Fort Wayne, and it speaks volumes as to how our Habitat for Humanity is perceived," said Thomas, vice president of marketing for insurance company Brotherhood Mutual, the main sponsor for "Build on Faith."

The one-day event, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., is designed to help church leaders and staff build a stronger community through sharing best practices, including developing staff and future leaders, reaching all generations and casting vision.

Local Habitat for Humanity CEO Justin Berger has attended the Global Leadership Summit, via satellite broadcast in Fort Wayne, for several years. After attending an annual Habitat for Humanity conference, Berger said he realized people faced the same challenges – just on varying scales – regardless of where they were from.

What if, Berger thought, there was an event where they could not only hear challenging and encouraging presentations, but they could also ask questions of "world-class leaders?" So those who register will have a chance to submit questions that will create an event designed as a "conversational extension of the GLS." He said Hybels liked the concept and offered last summer to come speak.

Along with Hybels and Blue, scheduled "Build on Faith" speakers are Virginia Ward, a youth pastor and trainer from Boston; Derek Young, a speaker and consultant from Nashville, Tennessee; and Albert Tate, a pastor from Monrovia, California.

Kelly Byrd, who organizes the GLS locally, will guide the Q&A conversation with Hybels, Habitat for Humanity said. 

Capacity at the Mirro Center is nearly 590, and Habitat for Humanity expects more than 500 will attend.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit Christian ministry that largely relies on sweat equity and volunteers to provide affordable housing.

Tickets for "Build on Faith" – $100 per person – can be purchased at

Super Bowl lessons

If you’re planning to watch the big game today, you may want to take notes.

Super Bowl viewers may keep a scorecard that includes the touchdowns on the field to what commercials are winners, based on creativity and effectiveness.

Kevin Eikenberry, who writes a leadership blog and produces "The Remarkable Leadership Podcast," pointed out last week through one of his leadership emails there will be several lessons to watch for. They include:

• The importance of passion and energy. If athletes possess those, shouldn’t we expect it of ourselves or those around us? "Our work is arguably more important and valuable to society than that of these players," Eikenberry wrote. "What lessons about energy, attitude and enthusiasm can you take from the game?"

• The role of coaching. "This year, the difference in style alone between the coaches is worth observing," he said. That’s a reminder there is more than one way to be a successful leader and coach. (Momentum, and recognizing the "changing tide of emotion and energy" is also important.)

• The necessity of preparation. "Winners prepare to win," Eikenberry wrote. But most people "don’t spend nearly enough time or focus on preparing to succeed."

• The value of agility and flexibility. Even when you have a game plan, you may have to adjust. Eikenberry, who is based in Indianapolis, suggests the most adaptable team will likely win.

For leaders in other areas, he suggests it’s a great opportunity to evaluate the personal ability to shift when situations change.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at