I have to say from the getgo here:
"CATALYST KNOWS HOW TO PUT ON A CONFERENCE!!!"
Incredible. What a great first day! The planners of this event really took us on a journey. From laughing, to thinking, to crying, to celebrating.
First thing - I drive into the Gwinett Center parking lot, I see this:
Okay, I have to apologize for the small pic, it's from my phone and the resolution stinks!!! Yes, it's a hot air balloon. They were giving out free rides for conference attendees.
As I got closer to the door, this:
Bungee jumping for free! FUN! I'm going to try it tomorrow. My friend Ray got a minor wedgie when he jumped. I'll be sure to use proper precautions.
The conference began as all good conferences do with some way phat breakdancing. These people got air. Of course, then came the gospel choir singing with Steve Fee, a combo that kinda actually worked. We were then led in some worship songs - the standard Passion fare. Excellent sound with kewlio video panels in the back of the stage converted images into a giant pixel format. Kinda new, retro, if you will.
Just before the message began, Candie Pearson came out and sang "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield along with the gospel choir. Now, I may be a little biased here, but I really think that GCC's own Angie Henry did a better job of it. Plus, I think our track (created by Jeff Myers) was a bit more accurate than theirs. Just my biased opinion though.
The keynote was Andy Stanley who "brought the goods". He stuck to a new thesis of his "the birth of the one point sermon". He literally had ONE point, but yet made it interesting.
He preached out of Daniel 4 "The Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of the men and gives them to anyone He wishes."
- Our positions of leadership are not of our own making. God places us.
- Leadership is a stewardship - a gift from God.
- It is temporary.
- We are accountable for how we steward it.
This was true in King Nebuchadnezzer's life. The position of king was given to him by God. The Lord took it away (he went crazy) until the king would confess that the LORD of the Israel was sovereign.
Since this leadership is given TO us, we must be:
- Diligent - We're here for a purpose. He placed us in the position. Now it's up to us to be faithful.
- Fearless - who shall we fear if God has us where He wants us. Gal. 1:10 "Am I trying to win the approval of men or of God?..."
-Humble - Christian leaders should be the MOST humble people in the world. Most often this is not the case.
Next, in the most elaborate set up that I've ever seen, Reggie Joiner and Lanny Donoho set up Marcus Buckingham by finding international conference attendees. They found a "brit" pastor, or so it seemed. Bringing him up on stage they begged him to sing "God Save the Queen". He acted very shy. Ultimately he was a ringer and busted into "Let it Be" by the Beatles with the band. They then covered: "Can't Buy Me Love", "Help!", and "Hey Jude". THEN, they marched in a set of UK flags along with "knights" on horses (from the local Medieval Times). And finally brought up Marcus with much pomp and circumstance.
Marcus Buckingham - Marcus mostly covered the idea that great managers help turn people's talents into performance for the team. They are catalysts for spotting people's strengths and then helping them to use them for the betterment of the mission of the organization.
- Not everyone is a great manager. I, Dan, admit that I am probably not the best at this. I like to plug people in, but I often like to bend their giftings to what I really need in a given role.
- (as his book Now, Discover Your Strengths covers, people tend to focus on their weaknesses that maximize their strengths.
- new series of short films are now available called "Trombone Player Wanted" that Marcus made with the makers of the Nooma films. These are about finding and living out of your strengths. View the trailer here.
- talked to Butch and I've purchased them for our team to go through and use. Should be enlightening hopefully.
- Lies we believe:
1. "As I grow my personality changes." Nope. Our habits might, our beliefs might, but our basic personality remains much the same. I simply become more and more of who I really am.
2. "You'll grow the most in the areas that you're weakest." He used the example of studying disease to understand health. We can't study the bad to get the good. Otherwise we end up with "not bad" rather than "good."
Lunch at Mama Wu's (should have been called Mama Patel's, since it was an Indian run Chinese place :))
Opening song after lunch: U2's "With or Without You". I thought they could have done the Rattle 'n Hum version having just had the gospel choir up there, but it was the Joshua Tree version. Massive U2 influence in their band. Dustin Maust would have been happy.
Next, George Barna and his book Revolution
. He talked about 7 things that make up a new revolutionary for Christ. He wanted us to focus on these seven things. Focusing on seven... Hmm... Sound familiar GCC folk? Almost carbon copy of our Focus on Five, only plus 2!
1. Have a posture of worship 24/7 - aka Take your next step
2. Evangelism by relationship - aka Invest and Invite
3. Discipleship in the Word - aka Read Your Bible
4. Here to Serve - aka Serve 1x per month
5. Build and sustain community - aka Have a friend. Be a friend.
6. Manage God's resources - good steward of time, treasure, talents, ideas, the environment for the Kingdom
7. Family as the primary expression of the church - can I get an amen to that?!
I keep hearing down here that there is so much to teaching our families to BE THE CHURCH on a micro scale. If each of our families were to disciple our kids well, we would have massive revival throughout our schools. The problem is that we as parents are WAITING for someone else to do it for us! The church, Awana, Christian schools, etc. These are all good things, BUT they should be reinforcement of what our kids are learning at home.
Our major challenge - LIFECHANGE in the hearts and minds of this generation and the next. It starts at home. We need to continually give our parents tools to use in discipling their kids. Familywise is a great resource that I'll mention again.
Next John Maxwell, who helped found the conference was interviewed.
As most of this conference seems to be confirming, he restated the importance of playing to your strengths.
- If you are at a level 4 at something, at best, you might improve to a 6. So focus on those things that you perform consistently at 6+ to improve to 8-9. This will help you make the greatest impact.
- leadership is influence, not position. It doesn't matter where you are in the org chart, you can influence your organization.
He wrapped up with a touching prayer for each of us to maintain purity in our lives through accountability, being in the Word, and being frightfully cautious.
The final session of the day wrapped with Gary Haugen of International Justice Mission who basically expanded his talk from yesterday (see below). A really great communicator, especially considering he's a lawyer.
They closed out with United's "Mighty to Save" with pictures from people who have been saved by IJM's ministry. And then - TOTAL POWER OUTAGE!!! Right in the middle of the song. Yikes! They slowly got things back up to at least get the sound back up. Lighting never got together. Hopefully no glitches tomorrow.
All in all a great day of learning, worship, and, I believe, kingdom expansion. More tomorrow.