Sunday, October 7, 2007


The Catalyst Conference began some years back as a leadership conference geared especially toward the under-40s crowd. In the last few years, however, they've stopped advertising it as such because us "older folks" have been infiltrating the conference. Still every year in Atlanta about 10,000 mostly young leaders converge for two days of great teaching and worship experiences. John Maxwell's organization sponsors the event. Last week a handful of us attended (James, Kenny, Matt Westlake, Pat Jeffcoat, Jody Flowers (Methodist pastor), and me) and came back with fresh vision and zeal for seeing God do His thing in us and among us.

With two or three posts I will try to give you some highlights of some of the things we learned. It's easy to give summaries of talks, but words can't express the moving times of worship and the outstanding creativity the Catalyst leaders bring to the event.

Andy Stanley--Andy opened the conference with a message from John 13. He stated that the person speaking or the person in charge of leading a meeting is the most powerful person in the room. What do you do when you know you're the most powerful person in the room? You leverage your power for the sake of the people in the room. You respond with servanthood and humility. The disciples were stunned at Jesus' humility. Has anyone been stunned lately at your humility? My humility? If we don't respond this way, then we're suggesting that we must be better than Jesus. Ouch!

Patrick Lencioni--best-selling author. Patrick recently released his newest book, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job. Usually I thoroughly enjoy hearing Lencioni. And I enjoyed this one. However, he is a professing ADHD person, and sometimes he gets side-tracked (but always uses humor to get redirected). And with this talk, he admitted that this was the first talk he's given on his recent book. And it was evident. He would be in the middle of telling a story, realize he was in the wrong place in his talk, change directions and leave us all confused. However, the message of his new book whetted my interest enough to want to read it.

The three signs of a miserable job are:

  1. Anonymity--All have a need to be known
  2. Irrelevance--People want to know that what they are doing is making a difference
  3. Measurement--People want to be able to measure their contribution. They want to know how well they are doing.

Francis Chan--my first time to hear Chan, pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, CA. A very powerful message that keyed on Jeremiah's call in Jeremiah 1. Some nuggets:

  • When I get up to preach/teach, do I really believe the Holy Spirit is inside me and will speak through me?
  • Do I really love my people? Chan shared some of his personal story of being a good pastor but not really loving God or his people.
  • Never say, "I can't." To do so is to put God down.
  • Alway be ready and willing to say with boldness what God wants you to say.
  • We are empowered by a great God, indwelt by a great God, and one day will give an account before a great God.
  • A quote from Chan worth pondering: "If Jesus had a church in Simi Valley, mine would be bigger. People would leave His church to attend mine because I call for an easier commitment."

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."