Herald-Whig

Leadership summit draws raves from participants

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 9, 2018 7:00 pm

QUINCY -- There were some noticeable buzzwords during Thursday's session of the Global Leadership Summit at the Crossing, most notably "leadership" and "community."

"It's always good to sit down and listen to different perspectives on leadership and team building," Quincy Fire Chief Joe Henning said.

Henning was one of more than 300 attending, a turnout that included representatives from an assortment of businesses, social service agencies, education and civil service.

This is the second year the Crossing has hosted the Global Leadership Summit at its 48th and Maine campus. The Crossing is one of 600 churches worldwide taking part in the event, which concludes Friday.

The GLS is a production of the Willow Creek Association, a worldwide interdenominational network of more than 7,000 churches. The GLS is telecast live each day from the 17,000-member Willow Creek Community Church near Barrington.

More than 120 countries are linked to the two-day GLS that is being broadcast in 68 languages and will be watched by more than 400,000 people.

Those addressing Thursday and Friday attendees at the Crossing include businessmen, military personnel, educators and others in leadership roles.

"This is interesting because each person will take away something different," said Mike Elbe, president of John Wood Community College, which sent a delegation of 28 to the event.

Elbe calls the GLS a "living program."

"It's about applying what you learn and what kind of effect it will have down the road," Elbe said.

Elbe said JWCC is planning follow-up sessions at the school concerning what is introduced at the GLS. Elbe said the long-term goal is to apply what is learned to strengthen the college, and in turn "strengthen the community we serve."

"If the ideas that presented are not put into action, it doesn't help anyone," said the Rev. Jim Dennis, pastor of the 48th and Maine campus. "I think some people think of this as a church thing, but it's a community thing. We're all trying to become better leaders."

Among the others joining JWCC and the Fire Department with representatives at the GLS were Dot Foods, ADM, Quincy Medical Group, Madison Park Christian Church, Transitions, YMCA and assorted city officials, including Mayor Kyle Moore and Adams County State's Attorney Gary Farha.

"I'm always striving to be a better leader," Farha said. "I believe I have been blessed to be involved in the work I am, and I want to do the best job I can. A program (like this) is a learning experience."

Mike Buckley, former vice president of business development at Dot Foods, which had more than 10 in attendance, said, "This is an investment (for those attending) to better themselves and their careers."

Joanne Dedert, a longtime social worker and the former executive director of Madonna House, was attending her second GLS.

"I came to this last year and was so impressed that as soon as it was over I signed up for the following year," Dedert said.

She said the knowledge she gains at the GLS proves invaluable.

"It's a different world today, and I want to make a difference with kids and families (I work with)," she said.

Josh Welker, dean of business services and institutional effectiveness at JWCC, thought the principals, conversations and material presented at the GLS dealing with leadership and how to affect a community "resonated with everyone."

"This is useful stuff," he said. "There is always a need for better leadership."

Dennis said future GLS plans include involving multiple Crossing sites. The Crossing has churches in nine communities across West-Central Illinois, Northeast Missouri and Southeast Iowa.