As what’s become customary for me following a conference, I’m posting a reflection on Catalyst One Day held in Houston, Texas yesterday. The speakers were Andy Stanley of Northpoint in Atlanta and Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch in Oklahoma. Both churches are rather large and have multiple sites.
Catalyst is a movement to resource church and marketplace leaders. I’m subscribed to their podcast and there is some tremendous content that has been so thought-provoking/challenging/inspiring for me throughout the years. Rich and I went to the main conference in Atlanta back in 2008 as well.
Anyhow, it’s helpful to write these follow up posts to remind me of some of my main takeaways, so here they are.
1. I Absolutely Loved Catalyst One Day! – This may be because of the season of life I’m in as we look toward the future, but everything from content, pace, singing, venue (thanks to The Met church), were great for me. Andy and Craig were really stellar in their presentations and gave me a lot to think about in regard to leadership, culture, and some personal stuff.
The rhythm of the conference was great for a one day event, and the breaks and session lengths were perfect, in my opinion.
I especially liked that there were Q & A times, and that Craig and Andy also would have conversations with each other about different practices and such. The content throughout the day was super practical and engaging.
I’ll try not to give away too much of the content, because honestly, I think every church leader should go to Catalyst One Day sometime.
2. What We Say We Value vs. What Our Actions Say We Value Can be Totally Different – Craig gave a great talk on how values drive the culture of a church, and there were so many gems from his presentation.
He talked about how often times, what we say we value versus what our actions say we value can be entirely different. And usually, it’s outsiders or newcomers who can perceive what we really value.
I’ll come back to this later because Craig later talked about blind spots, but I was really challenged to figure out what I value enough to give my life (and death) to, and whether or not others would say, “hey, that’s really true of Drew.”
In many ways, leadership is about pressing values into the culture of a church or organization, and it’s really helpful to have outsiders or newcomers point out where some values may not really match up with reality.
As I look into different options of church leadership, I’m beginning to see how important values are to churches and organizations alike, as well as how these values are implemented.
3. I Really Need to Grow Further in Servant Leadership – Andy Stanley gave an incredible talk on mutual submission in leadership, and how Jesus redefines the way we’re supposed to lead, especially those who might be “under” us on an organizational chart.
It was so inspiring to hear from Andy about how their church practically tries to practice servant leadership and mutual submission. Man, I wish I had heard this talk years ago so I could have served people better.
God’s ways of leading are so, so different.
4. Those Who Don’t Know Don’t Know They Don’t Know – An extremely convicting talk by Craig about self-deception and blind spots.
He talked about how it’s especially difficult for pastors and leaders who gain a measure of success, because then it’s easier to believe lies than it is to hear the truth.
The past four months have allowed me the time to take a long hard look at myself and my own shortcomings, personal and professional. This conference did so much to confront my own pride and self-deception.
I realize the biggest thing I had to repent from was thinking that I was more self-aware than I probably am.
5. I Can’t Wait for the Next One Day – Andy ended with a terrific talk on creating a come-and-see culture, and I later joked with my mother-in-law that she would have loved the presentation because we’ve been talking about many of the things he stressed.
Perhaps this is the first time Andy Stanley has been compared to one’s mother-in-law? Either way, I have great admiration for both Andy and my mother-in-law.
All in all, I’m just so grateful for leaders like Andy and Craig (and their churches that offer tons of free resources to other churches), as well as Catalyst and their lead person Brad Lomenick for offering so many learning opportunities for pastors and leaders (The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, and others are really generous too!).
It’s true that all the content can be dizzying at times, but the spirit of generosity and willingness to help leaders is so refreshing in today’s climate, and I’m the fortunate beneficiary of so many great leaders whom have gone before.
I’m really excited to attend the next Catalyst One Day when it comes to a town near me (it was a fluke that I happened to in Houston from NYC), and I couldn’t be more grateful for the deposit they’re making into leaders around the world.
If you’re a church leader, please take advantage of a One Day near you! Obviously, this conference has a particular slant (Creating Healthy Organizational Culture), but I think it’s a helpful one for various types of churches, whether urban/suburban, denominational/non-denominational, small/large. The principles I learned are quite helpful in any setting, I imagine.