Friday, October 17, 2008

Catalyst Round-Up

For the second year in a row, I snuck in to the Catalyst leadership conference last week. It's a leadership conference for those in their 20's and 30's, but they let some "gray hairs" from time to time. I go because of the wide variety of speakers they have, their innovative "extra" things they do, and because I enjoy it. To show you how strange this conference is, let's start with a mystery. What is this? The answer will be at the end of the post!

The theme was simple: TOGETHER. It focused on how we can do more together than separately. Over 50 denominations were present. The unofficial theme I saw was: generosity is powerful!

Highlights included:
Dave Ramsey, the Christian financial guru, who told us not to panic in the economy. He said that if we live by God's financial practices (i.e. avoid debt, don't love money, don't be afraid, and be wise AND generous), we may seem "weird" during times of prosperity, but now we seem very wise during times when the bottom falls out! He also spoke on the five enemies of unity in a church or organization:
  1. Poor communication
  2. Gossip
  3. Unresolved disagreements
  4. Lack of shared purpose
  5. Sanctioned incompetence
You can read more about it at this blog:

Most churches are plagued by these "enemies." My ears perked up, though, when he talked about how intolerant he is about gossip. In his company, an employee is told upon hiring, "You'll be warned once if you are caught gossiping (i.e. talking about a negative situation to someone who can do nothing about their problem), and then you will be fired." Pretty clear-cut isn't it? The other thing was how churches handicap themselves when someone is not doing well in a position and we ignore it out of fear of hurting feelings. It always amazes me how people will opt for decades of talking badly about people behind their backs about their performance but will avoid helping them to grow out of this fear of hurting feelings.

Other highlights included Jeff Foxworthy and the Daraja Children's Choir of Africa ( Jeff shared his testimony about how his involvement with the 410 Bridge organization and his experience in Kenya has broadened his view of God's work on the planet. It was excellent and to hear those children sing with such passion was great, too. Here's a video clip from the choir's website:

There was a tribute to Billy Graham, and Franklin spoke. Our church does Christmas shoeboxes through Samaritan's Purse, so it was good to hear a young lady's testimony who grew up in Bosnia, and was saved through receiving a shoebox and hearing the gospel.

Samaritan's Purse had a tent out front where we put together shoeboxes, and I also toured their disaster relief trailer since so many folks in my church are involved in it.

On the fun side, one of the object lessons had to do with the mystery picture above. That's a close up of FLOAM. They gave each of us (12,000) a piece of floam at registration and we were told to pass it down from the back attaching our piece to the growing is the final result....the lesson...we can do more together than by ourselves! Go have a great day!

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