I just returned from Catalyst.  If you watched the video above you might have noticed the message coming through some of the strobe effects and smoke:

“Jesus and the Church, His Bride, united, are unstoppable together.”  In case you’ve never seen how pastors worship, maybe that will give you some idea.


amusement: The trampoline slam dunk team.

music: Glorious One, All Because of Jesus, and when Foreman (of Switchfoot) sang “Dare You To Move” with a cellist.

booths: RTS (where I met Gordon who is the coolest church planter I know)

and Financial Peace U. (Thanks David Ramsey for the free stuff)

guest: kid who started a charity by shooting free throws

guest speaker: Ed Stetzer, Lost and Found.  He talked about the missing demographic of 20 and 30-somethings from church.

Mainline speakers who took the cake: (there must have been more than one cake).  The conference was good until the last two speakers made it great.

1.  Matt Chandler: He reminds us that the believers are surrounded by church-goers who know about Jesus but don’t know him.

Keep your eyes on your life and doctrine closely.  There is a way to live and teach that allows people to see what the gospel is and what it is not.

2.  Andy Stanley has more to offer than his last name.  Dang, bro.  He Is Dead On.  Forgiveness, Family, and Finances.  This one’s worth a rewind!

Closing message:
1. Become preoccupied with those you haven’t reached as opposed to those you are trying to keep.

2. Be a student, not a critic If you’re old, listen to the student culture and step aside to let them lead.  The future of the church is never determined by the old guy.  Give them margin and space.  Don’t do to this generation what they did to you.

3.  Pay attention to the people who are breaking the rules; they are likely your problem solvers.

4.  Acknowledge what’s not working and own up to it.  What are you going to do about it?

5.  Don’t let success overshadow your vision.

Lastly, the surprise:

A)  Paul Young (author: The Shack) had nothing to say.  I’m surprised to see him at Catalyst.  I’d be shocked if he was invited back.  There are too many theologians in the room for him to pull this off twice.  Message learned: if you can “accidentally” publish a book, you can “accidentally” get invited to speak at Catalyst.

B)  28-year old, Steven Furtick, was a little pretentious at first, but he managed to deliver an encouraging word to pastors, none-the-less.  “You get out your best button down shirt, and iron it, and go and preach like it was Pentecost.”  You may not see the payoff, but hold on to the promise.  (or something close to that)

If you have $180 and two free days next October, you should plan on attending Catalyst in Atlanta.  If you think all conferences are the same, you’re wrong.