Sunday, October 09, 2005

Catalyst Highlights

I've been privileged to attend the Catalyst conference for 4 of its 6 years of existence. It's a no-holds-barred, high-octane leadership conference. It rarely disappoints, and this years was a grand slam. Some highlights from my trip include:
  • Going early to check out 7:22, this incredible Tuesday night service at Northpoint Community Church. And who should be the guest speaker for the night? None other than Erwin McManus, one of my faves. Bonus! (Oh, and Chris Tomlin came out and led a coupla tunes at the end....x-tra cool bonus!)
  • Hanging with some old friends, Rob Harris from Nash-Vegas, and Tracy Tooley from WV. Great to laugh, reminisce, etc. Rob has written a couple of kick-butt country songs, and I'm convinced one of them, if not both, will be huge. Both songs make me want to ask the T-shirt clad waitress for a refill of my bucket of peanuts - they're that stinkin' good (as far as my infininte knowledge of country music goes...) "What you talkin' 'bout, Smitty?"
  • I will soon be in the Guiness Book of World Records. Well, me and 8,999 others. We all sat on Whoopie Cushions at the same time. I kid you not. Guiness people were there and everything. Who da thunk it??
  • Andy Stanley saying "an open door is not always an invitation from God," and "our love of progress sets us up for some unique temptations and small compromises."
  • Louie Giglio's analysis of worship consumers vs. consumees (no idea if I spelled that right); please Lord break me from consumerism (all about me)
  • Donald Miller's refreshing perspective. Having read his books (what are YOU waiting for?), I was anxious to hear more from him, and he didn't disappoint. "Find the wound - everybody's got one - and take God to the wound."
  • Incredible, incredible musicians and worship facilitators.
  • Erwin McManus, and just about everything he said. Will outline him in another post...but one thought "I hate the word Relevant. That just means someone else got there first, and we're just catching up!" Oh, and one of the few times I've taken notes during someone's prayer..."Jesus, You are beautiful & magnetic & caring. We've made you look ugly and uncaring."
  • Bill Hybels honesty. I could listen to him all day. (OK, many days I do....)
  • Malcolm Gladwell reminding us its not just about the message, but its about the messenger, too.
  • Last but not least, Stanley hammers it home regarding momentum, programming, et al. "Different doesn't mean better," "minor improvements in something that lacks momentum will not create momentum."
  • OK, the REAL last but not least. One session in particular featured the African Children's Choir followed by a heart-grabbing rendition of that mission-related Newsboys song for which I've never really known the name, but it was powerful...followed by a woman from Rwanda (I think) who couldn't have been more eloquent. She simply painted a word picture for us of the unthinkable conditions in many African countries regarding something as simple as clean water. An offering was collected for an organization that digs wells in African villages. We collected over $100,o00 thusfar. It was powerful, and one of the most moving worship & challenge experiences for me in a long time.

So there. It was a few days will spent hanging with my wife and a few friends.

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