Adam Hamilton, pastor of Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, led the first of three teaching sessions on Friday. Hamilton planted the church in 1990, and it has since grown to be the largest United Methodist congregation in the United States with 20,000 members and four campuses.

Over the course of the weekend, Hamilton said he will discuss three aspects that are pivotal for creating or renewing dynamic churches: effective leadership, inspiring worship, and intentional missional outreach. Friday’s lesson focused on leadership.

Hamilton said that all religions are struggling to retain members. Not only are church members getting older, and not being replaced with younger members, but many people consider themselves spiritual, but not religious, and therefore don’t go to church.

Despite this, Hamilton’s church has grown extensively and consistently since its inception. His secret? “I don’t know,” he said. “I feel like I’m just taking notes out of John Wesley’s playbook.”

Still, Hamilton said the three topics of his weekend lessons – leadership, worship, and missional outreach – are the values he prioritizes as his church continues to grow and thrive.

“Methodist theology preaches today,” he said. “People are yearning for what we have to offer. We have tradition, but contemporary elements too. People are drawn to what our faith looks like.”

To begin, Hamilton asked everyone to make a list of qualities that describe good leaders, and a list of qualities that describe bad leaders. He then talked about some of the qualities in good leaders that he’s seen, including being authentic, initiating conversations and being a people person, constantly encouraging others, radiating possibilities instead of being a downward spiral thinker, humility, and not taking yourself too seriously.

He also highlighted the key differences between managers and leaders. “The United Methodist Church is overmanaged and underled,” he said. “In local congregations, we are organized for management. There are lots of committees. I’d rather be out there doing ministry with people. If all we’re doing is committee work, and we’re never out there with the people, our Church is going to die.”

When it comes down to it, he said the secret to being a good leader is simple. “Look at your list of negatives; don’t do those. Look at your list of positives; do those.”