Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Here are a couple more takeaways from last week's Catalyst Conference.

Craig Groeschel

Craig is founder of, a new way of doing church. Home base is in Oklahoma. The services are satellite fed to ten cites in the U.S. Because of its innovative approach to doing church, finds itself on lists of the largest, fastest growing, and most innovative churches in America. His topic was practical atheism.

  • A practical atheist is someone who believes God exists but lives as though He doesn't exist.

  • He shared from his own experience how doing the work of God was destroying the work of God in Him.

  • Three problems with practical atheism: (1) I start to believe my effort is greater than God's power. I think it's all about me. (2) I believe my private life doesn't affect my public ministry. (3) I believe I must please people more than please God. My question becomes, "What can I preach to bring people in?" and not, "What can I preach to bring glory to God?"

  • To overcome these three temptations, our prayer must become: God, disturb me.

Dave Ramsey

Dave is a NY Times Best-selling Author and national radio host. He's best known for his Financial Peace University. This is the first time I've heard him speak--excellent communicator.

  • Basically, he was telling young leaders how important it is to have a written budget and to get out of debt. I won't bore you with his outline. But I think his definition of prosperity is worth repeating: Prosperity is having the money to do God's will in your life.

  • Interesting observation he shared from a pastor: Tithers never divorce. Why? Because givers are unselfish and get along with others better.

  • What could the people of God do for the kingdom of God if they were debt-free?

  • Pastors would do well to preach less on tithing and more on how to plan finances and get out of debt.

Andy Stanley

Andy's final talk was worth the price of admission. He talked about building systems. There's no way to do justice to his talk with just a few bullets, but here goes.

  • There are organizational systems that are conducive to ministry and organziational systems that impede ministry.

  • There are organizational systems that free leaders to lead and organizational systems that obstruct leaders.

  • Systems defined: Your organization's approach to getting things done.

  • Systems create behavior. Example: Why is it that you can hit a grand slam on a five-week series of sermons on the family, but there is no noted change in people's lives? It's because there is no system in place to facilitate and prompt the change.

  • What is rewarded, people will do. The problem is that we tend to reward the wrong things.

  • Systems have a greater impact on organizational culture than do mission statements.

  • The New Testament does not present us with a comprehensive system or model. We learn what the early church did. But the Bible doesn't really tell us what church leaders need to do. Therefore we must distinguish what is descriptive and what is prescriptive.

  • We cannot have a first century church today because we are not living in the first century. The first century used the systems that was best for them. Churches today need to determine the systems that work best for them.

  • Congregational rule is not biblical. The times congregational rule was practiced, disaster resulted: Joseph's brothers voted to throw him in the pit; the people of God built a golden calf; they decided to appoint a king instead of following the prophet.

  • 4 system imperatives: (1) Your system should allow you to involve and hire the best person for the job. (2) Your system should provide you with the flexibility to get the right people to the table. (3) Your system should allow you to make complex decisions within the context of a small group of empowered individuals. (4) Your system should ensure that only one person answers to "they". ("they" would be the elders, deacons, leadership team, or whatever)

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This year’s Catalyst Conference in Atlanta was jammed up with great, well-known speakers. Check out my Sunday’s blog for a capsule of some of the other speakers.

Rick Warren
Rick’s influence for the kingdom is astounding. God is using this man to reach every corner of this world with the simple message of the gospel. I always enjoy hearing him share his story and cast vision in such profound yet simple terms.

If you want God’s anointing and blessing, you have to get with God’s agenda. His agenda is summed up in one word: Kingdom.

Stop asking God to bless you. Instead, ask Him to let you in on what He is blessing.

We should not be interested in changing culture. We should be interested in creating culture.

He took the story of Moses’ staff turning into a snake. The staff represented his identity (shepherd). It represented his income and possessions. It represented his influence (moving sheep). Experiencing God’s miracle was all about surrender. The staff came alive only when he turned it loose. From that moment on it was never called Moses’ staff. It was called the rod of God.

We are living in an era of a new reformation. The last reformation took place under Martin Luther 500 years ago. It was a reformation of creeds. The new one is a reformation of deeds. The old one was a reformation of beliefs. The new one is a reformation of behavior.

Unfortunately, the hands and the feet of the church have been amputated and all that is left is the mouth. (Ouch! He’s referring to the fact that the only thing the world sees the church doing is running its mouth about what it is against.)

Rick vision consists of five components. He calls them five global goliaths. He devotes his ministry to equipping Saddleback and churches around the world to tackle the world’s five most desperate problems (spiritual emptiness, corrupt leadership, poverty, preventable diseases, illiteracy).

John Maxwell
No one has helped me more in the arena of leadership than John Maxwell. God has given him a platform of helping the world’s top leaders understand that a relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing in the world. Maxwell, whose vision helped start Catalyst, was honored at this year’s conference.

As he gets older, he learns more how important it is to trust God more and to trust self less.

His one primary message to young leaders: Intentionally add value to people everyday.

The greatest sin of the leader is to put self first.

If you don’t add value, you’re subtracting value (sucking life from people)

4 ways to add value to people
You must value people (if you don’t value, you de-value)
Make yourself more valuable—keep growing and developing
Know and relate to what others value
Do the things God values

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