Solving Impossible Human Problems with Technology and Leading with Influence (Summit Recap Day 2)

Summit 2018 powered through its second day with another ensemble of explosive keynotes. You may not be able to join us in realtime at Summit 2018, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss the Summit recap.

Each keynote roughly corresponded to one of Summit’s themes: Communications, Technology, and Leadership.


Scott Harrison: Communications Solves Impossible Problems

Scott Harrison, founder and CEO of charity: water, kicked things off on an inspiring note by discussing how communications technology has presented fresh solutions to global problems. Currently, nine-tenths of the world’s population lacks access to clean drinking water, but by leveraging technology that was unavailable only decades ago, charity: water believes they can end the water crisis within our lifetime.

Scott is a modern-day prodigal son. He grew up in a faithful Christian family, but once he turned 18 (and gained the accompanying freedoms), he took off to live in NYC, where he became a nightclub promoter and lived a life of excess—until life finally caught up with him, and he realized he wanted to give back to the world.

Scott moved to Africa and witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of life without the most basic human essential: Clean drinking water. To make it even most infuriating, sometimes that life-saving resource is only a few yards underground.

charity: water wants to dig wells. But how they communicate their mission differs from most traditional charities. Usually, when a nonprofit reaches out about a crisis, they capitalize on guilt to procure a donation. “Most charity brands are built on shame and guilt,” says Scott. “We wanted to build a brand on inspiration.”

charity: water tells stories, because people “don’t respond to statistics,” says Scott. Stories do more than slap a face on a charity: They involve donors in the work by identifying who, exactly, is benefiting. Now, you don’t throw money to bring down a curve—you are directly helping another human being.

charity:water is built on the idea of complete transparency and accountability, and every penny goes the drilling of wells by local villagers. You can read more about charity:water and their amazing story, here.


Chris Heaslip: Technology Shows Us Where the Culture Is

Following up with a keynote was echurch’s very own Chris Heaslip, CEO and Co-Founder. Chris walked us through the history of television to show that cultural tastes have transitioned from a preference for the ideal, put-together, and perfect, to the real, authentic, and intimate. Regrettably, the church hasn’t caught up. She still expects “picture-perfect” to resonate with the culture and markets herself accordingly.

According to Chris, people used to enjoy shows like Friends, Family Matters, Full House, and Home Improvement. These showed a manicured and bubbly view of everyday life, and people ate it up. Today, it’s a different story. We like unscripted television that depict a grittier and messier view of life. “Culture in the 90s was about presenting a perfect image,” says Chris. “By the 2000s, we wanted to see reality.” The church, however, is still lost in the Full House era.

Cultural forces have transformed the entertainment industry. People have new values and new expectations. However, according to Chris, “Technology is now surpassing entertainment as the primary driver of culture.” Then he adds, “To connect with people, we must operate in the culture, not the church.”

There were more iPhones sold last year than there were babies born—by a 20 to 1 margin. Read the culture: People are living more technologically-immersive lifestyles, and the church needs to get on board. “Technology is not about technology for technology’s sake,” says Chris. “We should embrace technology because we care about people.”


Clay Scroggins: How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge

Finally, Clay Scroggins, lead pastor of North Point Community Church, lightened the mood with a comical presentation on how to lead without being in charge. In his mind, authority and leadership are two different things, and they aren’t always found together. You can start leading right now, whatever your position.

Like many of us, Clay Scroggins wanted to lead. As the senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA, he had an important role. But he wasn’t in charge. He served under the leadership of the church’s lead pastor, Andy Stanley.

During his Summit keynote message, Clay shared with 1,100 church leaders and staff at Summit the one key truth that changed his entire outlook: The essence of leadership is influence. Leadership wasn’t authority. Leadership centered on the ability to influence others: “I have been learning slowly that authority and leadership don’t go hand in hand,” says Clay. “Leadership oozes influence.”

Clay shared three key ways to gather influence when you’re not the top leader:


1. Lead yourself

You have to take responsibility for your own growth. “No one can lead me if I’m not willing to be motivated to lead myself,” Clay said.

2. Choose positivity

Clay told attendees their energy would be the key to influencing others. You may not like every decision that you’ve been charged with implementing, but stay positive about it. “More important than making the right decision is owning the decision and making it right,” Clay said.


3. Think critically

Influence doesn’t just come with mindless agreement. To really influence others, you have to think deeply about the issues. Clay said, “Critical thinkers notice things, they question things, and they connect things.” He urged attendees to think critically so we can make what we’re influencing better.

Clay didn’t make it to his fourth way to gather influence (i.e, “Reject passivity”), but he does mention it in his new book, How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge.


Standout Leadership Breakout Session Quotes

Blue Van Dyke

“Every leader should be able to boil down what they’re doing to one piece of paper.”

“You don’t have to focus on winning the game. What you have to win is 90 feet at a time. Eventually, we can make our way around the field.”


Holly Tate

“Two-thirds of Americans hate their jobs. But we’re here because we believe in innovation, and we can change this.”


Brad Leeper

“Generous churches led by generous staff leaders grow healthy staff leaders faster and better.”


Standout Technology Breakout Session Quotes:

Jay Kranda

“Think about how you can go from online to offline in order to provide a full experience.”

“By getting my hands and feet dirty, I started to understand the space. Make small iterations quickly. Just update the code.”


Larry Hubatka

“Technology is not a replacement for substance.”

“Technology is about time. Technology is going to be the thing that is going to accelerate our growth.”




Blake Adams
Editor at Pushpay |

Blake Adams is an editor for the Pushpay blog and former educator. His work has appeared in several publications, including Salvo Magazine, WORLD Magazine, and Mere Orthodoxy. He lives with his wife in Seattle, WA.

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