Saturday, October 11, 2008

Catalyst Conference 2008 - Day One

Rather than just scribble notes on paper that would get tucked away and never read again, I thought I would experiment with twitter to share key thoughts online. I posted regularly at from my trusty iPhone (challenging the battery in the process.) Fortunately this makes it easy to share a summary of what went on during day one at the Catalyst Conference 2008.

Day One Recap
  • Worship was absolutely amazing! Steve Fee rocked the house and everyone loved being united with 12,000 others in praise.
  • Andy Stanley led off with some powerful words on leadership, reminding us that as God calls us to be leaders, our influence is based on moral authority as our deeds match our creed, and far less on our position.
  • Some amazing parallels were drawn between the days of Nehemiah and today, including the economic situation, credit crunch, and the crippling impact of too much debt and high interests rates (!)
  • Three key areas where it's absolutely critical for our creed to match our deed: Forgiveness, Family, and Finances. In these areas it's far too easy to lose moral authority, but by doing right over the long haul with these, we gain moral authority and influence.
  • "Prioritize the role no one else can play over the ones other people can play"
  • Andy said "I'm no financial guru, but let me break this down for you." Pulled out ten one-dollar bills. All ten belong to God and He asks us to manage them for him. The first bill goes right back to Him. The second ones goes to savings if we're wise. That's a whole lot left for us to use. If you like it even shorter, in order: Give, save, live on the rest.
  • If we don't get this right, our walk matching our talk in forgiveness, family and finances, the rest will just bounce off.
  • Next up we got a taste of the craziness (innovation) of Catalyst. Robert the "popper" from Dance with the Stars did an amazing contortionist act! 
  • The next speaker was William Paul Young, author of "The Shack ", an awesome book aimed at people who are hurting, and Young shared an amazing testimony. The Shack is definitely on my short list of books to read.
  • Jim Collins, author of "Good to Great" had quite the introduction. Since he spoke on 'getting the right people on the bus', they actually drove in a bus, from which came a mariachi band, a banjo player, and a large hog (?!)
  • Churches need not strive to be more business-like, but there's value in understanding some key factors in being great instead of just good - and to a large degree, that's a choice -- Greatness is not a function of circumstances, but of intentional choice and discipline.
  • In any great enterprise you will find a culture of discipline that is simply not present in average organizations.
  • Jim shared some new research which looks at why great companies fall, and one common reason is overreaching - born of hubris when seduced by their own success.
  • Key indicator of overreaching is when you sacrifice quality of people on the bus for the sake of growth. Remember, first who then what.
  • Leadership, not just any kind, but 'Level 5' is required to go from good to great - and the common characteristic of Level 5 Leadership is humility that puts company/values above self. (No surprise to followers of Christ)
  • On the Hedgehog principle, many people have a to-do list, but do you have a "Stop Doing!" list?
  • Well that sure got me hungry for lunch, so with some prodding from friends, I ate a whole large hot chili pepper for a free t-shirt from Sermon Spice :)  (It's an excellent resource for video clips, sermon illustrations, and background loops)
  • Brenda Salter McNeil led off the afternoon session, teaching from Acts 2 on how God shakes us up to change the world. As catalysts we accelerate change without being burned.
  • Next speaker was an amazing young man of God - Steven Furtick of Elevation Church brought it like no one else did today, pouring out his 28-year-old heart. His message was one of exhortation to be patient and faithful in that gap between when God makes a promise and when we see the fulfillment of that promise.
  • We learned about Hoops of Hope, helping children in Zambia by... shooting free throws! For fun and to raise some cash, there was actually a slam dunk exhibition in the arena :)  And oh, the ministry was started by a 9 year old boy!
  • Another highly regarded business figure, marketing expert Seth Godin told us about some key cultural changes that impact how people and organizations connect, grow, lead, make a difference. He talked about the importance of "Tribes". Oddly, Seth challenged us to be heretics (in the good sense of the word... hmm.. didn't know before there was a good sense of the word!) He was kind enough to share with us a free copy of his new book "Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us". (I will review that shortly - it's actually a pre-release copy due out October 16th)
  • An amazing movie opens today, a "Rockumentary", part concert, part story about slavery going on today - Call and Response.
  • Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch ended the day with a passionate plea to allow God to break us, heal us, use us. "Ruin us!"
  • Outstanding day capped with an outstanding dinner at Fogo de Chao, both food and conversation were wonderful!

That's my recap! For some more detailed notes and other thoughts from outstanding blogs check out:
- Tim Stevens at Leading Smart had highlights from day 1, notes on Andy Stanley, Jim Collins, Steve Furtick, Seth Godin.
- Tony Morgan also had great coverage on Catalyst Conference 2008, with notes on Andy Stanley, William Paul Young, Jim Collins, Steven Furtick, Seth Godin, and Craig Groeschel.
- Thom Reece of the Simple Discipleship blog put together some great notes on the Jim Collins talk. He reminded us that in the church, BHAG is spelled BHAGGG - a Big Hairy Audacious God-Glorifying Goal.

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