The city of Charlotte, North Carolina was the premiere location for the in-person SOLD OUT return of Bishop T.D. Jakes, International Leadership Summit 2022 post COVID-19 quarantine. After two years, Uber, Lyft, and Black Car services were in full demand over the weekend as more than ten thousand people converged into the Charlotte Convention Center for three days of intense training, development, motivation and empowerment for Pastors and leaders of any kind to expand their reach and productivity.
Day 1- Bishop Jakes welcomes of all us with a profound challenge to “Level Set” recognizing the power of being both human and spirit operating as one. Leadership is not narcissistic, but the giving of our spirit to the other to effect change and a cultural shift is the mission of a leader. In Jakes signature format of preaching, teaching he dropped numerous key points during his message that I will at least give my top five points:
- Don’t ask for growth without expecting disruption. Where there is disruption there will be growth.
- There is a thin line between ambition and narcissism. The difference is defining the Why?
- Trouble doesn’t last always; however, the impact from trouble causes trauma that does last.
- Anyone who builds is attractive.
- When your missionaries are your master, your message become suspicious.
The weight of the information shared by Bishop Jakes in the opening session was truly an experience that you just had to be in the room to receive the full impact of the delivery. However, we all left the room ready to reset and reevaluate our intentions as leaders to level up in setting a new course of operations in this new world of virtual reality.
I cannot complete Day 1 recap without at least mentioning the soul-stirring sermon by Dr. Dharius Daniels. This guy in the words of singer and writer Isaac Carree was Michael Jordan Game 6, last night of the championship hitting the winning slam dunk. Dr. Daniels took us on a swim in his sermonic stream entitled, “He Won’t See It Coming,” literally slayed the entire room as he walked down the narrative of David from a shepherd boy in the field tending sheep, to being chosen by God to be anointed by Samuel the prophet, to standing in front of the giant called Goliath. By the time he wrapped up and commanded the audience to “Sling it,” the room erupted into an enormous praise party to the sounds of Bigger does not equate to the victor.
Here are my top three Dr. Daniels points:
- A leader that does not challenge you does not see anything in you.
- God always make exceptions to the rule.
- Your assignment will trigger inadequacy.
Day 2- Morning Session with Dr. Anita Phillips was such an exceptional moment of reflections for leaders and all of us in the room to pay attention not only to our spiritual wellness but to our mental wellness as well. She talked about Churches having a statement of faith but no code of ethics, exploding and imploding within and how it is our responsibility to build a strong well-being structure. Dr. Phillips assured the audience that it is ok to seek therapy, take medicine for mental health reasons and to know that God is not mad or condemning you. Mental Health and wellness is a human issue. She says, “I can drain my energy from God when I spend too much time trying to be perfect.” Our mental health is important to our spiritual longevity and health. We have no reason to be ashame or submit to stigmatization but let’s be brave enough to give sound, movement, counseling and more for our mental stability.
It was quite obvious that Bishop Jakes and his team moved with intention to create a Global leader summit aimed to bring some of the world’s top thought leaders and innovators from faith to politics, business, entrepreneurship, entertainment, content curation, music and mental health onto the main stage and breakout sessions. There were many sessions and Masterclasses featuring Structural and intentional Leadership, Black Economic Empowerment, Cybersecurity: Protecting Your Infrastructure, Closing the Pipeline to Prison, Global Music Branding, Build a Bridge for Leaders and Mentees to name a few.
We listened to live conversations with Van Jones, Ghanian President Nana Akufo-Addo, Billionaire business CEO, JaniceBryant Howard, first black female CEO of the Dallas Maverick franchise, Cynthia Marshall, former Global Chief DEI Officer for Coca Cola, Lori Billingsley, President and CEO of TIAA, Thasunda Duckett, and a laundry list of other majority black people on the front line making history and impacting change globally. Representation is everything and there was no doubt the imagery of black excellence on display. As Bishop said throughout the weekend, “You cannot be it unless you can see it.”
Day 3- ended with a bang especially when actor Denzel Washington said during his “Masterclass” with Bishop Jakes, “Fear is nothing but contaminated Faith.” I was done! As he followed up saying, “You can’t throw a rock into water without creating waves. We are meant to create waves.” Come on, Denzel! It was an insightful interview to hear Denzel’s process of thinking in entertainment, business and his sincere commitment to his family as a superstar actor and producer.
O Yes! I have to mention actor Boris Kidjoe hit the main stage as well in his introduction of Bishop Jakes “Masterclass” with Ghanian President Nana Akufo-Addo. Pastor DeeDee Freeman made it clear he was one of her highlights along with Denzel Washington. (lol) I know she was kidding her husband, Dr. Michael A. Freedman on stage, but the audience of women were certainly cheering her on.
Some of my favorites highlights from the Summit includes: Pastor Joel Osteen’s humility and in tears as Bishop Jakes introduced him as the keynote speaker for Friday evening worship, watching the legendary Donald Lawrence interview in the Press Room about the future of music and church, the Black Economic Empowerment talk lead by John Hope, Van Jones talk about his process to acquiring the $100 million gifted to him by philanthropist Jeff Bezos, the live DJ in the hallway on the 1’s and 2’s spinning iconic R&B tunes as the people crowded around his booth with phones high recording their social media stories and to checkout Pastor Keion, Pastor Bryant and some other fashion superlatives step out everyday in style. It was certainly a moment in the Queen city.
Now leaving the East Coast returning to the West Coast, I salute the International Leadership Summit team and Bishop Jakes for setting a standard to think globally and expansively about leadership and those following your lead. It was exciting to return to a room full of thousands assembled for a purpose to not only level up but to “Level Set” for the current and next generation of leaders to have established clear rules and the floor flat for full acceleration toward success.
NEXT YEAR, Orlando Florida, Here I come May 4-6, 2023.
EARLY REGISTRATION OPEN NOW https://leadershipsummit.international/