Wow! I am tired. Catalyst Day 1 was fantastic. We started this morning in the Prelab session with Reggie Joiner. There was a mixup on tickets so we got in a few minutes late and I had to step out for a call but the parts I did get were great.
Having so much fun we skipped lunch, a dangerous precedent indeed!
Afternoon labs were all good. We start out with an hour of worship. Yes, you really can stand that long, even with a bad back. Then Robin and I split up for most of the afternoon. We went to one lab together and did the other three separately. The first lab I went to was with Scot McKnight, author of The Blue Parakeet. He did a great job pushing for the idea that we quit reading the Bible in several limited ways (looking for laws we like to follow while ignoring the rest, just counting promises and blessings, magical code schemes, etc...). Instead we need to become part of the story. Immerse ourselves in it and let it jump out in 3D. Probably not going to read the book unless they send it to me free but the "Blue Parakeet" story is funny and cool at the same time.
Robin and I joined up again on the second afternoon lab. This was my favorite. John Burke is Pastor of Gateway Community Church in Austin. He has written a book on one of the major themes of his church, "No Perfect People Allowed". The ministry he describes is phenominal! They are reaching people many would consider unreachable. One of his biggest points was that real ministry is messy. The lost people who come to his church or into one of their small groups are not just rough around the edges they are the edges! Many churches would be very uncomfortable ministering to people who may not accept Christ for several years (if ever) and who may not change overnight.
He looked at 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 and pointed out how easy it is to forget that God causes the growth, not us. Three points:
1) Create a church culture of grace giving acceptance. (He pointed out that the "tolerance mantra" of today is a cheap substitute for Biblical grace)
2)Create a culture of authenticity.
3) Create a culture of intentional growth. The other motto at their church is "Come as you are but don't stay that way".
Something about the way the Spirit spoke to me made that time worth the trip to Atlanta.
Third session I went to hear Reggie McNeal. He is awesome but if you want to get his full message you better buy his books. He had 7 points under the theme of "Being a Great Leader". He took the first 45 minutes covering the first one and listed the other six in the final five minutes. I do not believe you could fall asleep with Reggie at the helm even with the aid of anesthesia. Awesome communicator but he needs to be his own conference!
Last afternoon session I went to hear Mark Batterton of National Community Church in Washington D.C. I just finished his book, "Wild Goose Chase" and his presentation was from part of the book. Good stuff.
We did dinner with some church planters then on to the evening session. We both went to hear Jud Wilhite and Matt Foster. Jud is Pastor of Central Christian in Las Vegas NV. 12,000 people attend their campuses every weekend. Wow! Together they have written a book called "Deadly Viper Character Assasins". Robin read it and it was very good.
Tomorrow the main event starts. Todays meetings typically have several hundred people each and a total attendance of about 2ooo or more. Tomorrow we move to the Arena and there will be about 12,000 in there. Great music and a fantastic lineup of speakers.
Planning on lunch with Missional Network and then dinner with blog idol Kevin Bussey. He will hate that title!