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Catalyst Update (Matt Chandler, Andy Stanley, Patrick Lencioni, Chris Seay, Shane Claiborne)

October 5, 2007

I have had a surprisingly great time at Catalyst so far. The truth is that I can be a little cynical at big conferences like these. I did not become a Christian until 8 years ago at the age of 27. I didn’t care for the showmanship of the church in the 80s and 90s and and my radar is much too sensitive to these things. But I must confess that Catalyst has been pretty great.

Wednesday night we hooked up with Matt Chandler and Chris Chavez for dinner. It was great to see those men. Chandler is an encouragement to my soul. Both of them love me a lot and there prayers are evident. The other residents in the program (shout out to Brannen, Buck and Shine) got to meet Chandler so they now have a face and some familiarity to a guy who has pastored me and influences me still. It is a trip because I love where I was, I love where I am and I love where I am headed. Thank you Lord.

Today was a LONG Catalyst Day #1 after two nights of craziness and short sleep. Here are a few brief recaps:

Andy Stanley
Andy’s primary question was “What do you do when you realize that you are the most powerful person in the room?” Your response to this makes or breaks what could happen next.

Many people are afraid to say they have power, preferring to say they have influence. But in truth, pastors say things and make decisions everyday that directly effects peoples lives, having real power in those situations.

Using John 13:1-17 Andy pointed out that while having power and being the most powerful person in the world, Jesus showed the full extent of his love by washing the feet of the disciples. In washing the feet of the disciples, Jesus teaches us to leverage our power/authority for the benefits of others, rather than on ourselves.

He pointed out that the primary reason that many of us are afraid of power is because leaders everywhere have leveraged their power for themselves. To leverage power for yourself is to declare that you are greater than your master, Jesus Christ. We don’t need to be people who are afraid of power, we just need to learn to leverage it for others.

Patrick Lencioni
I had never heard Lencioni before. It was the first time he had delivered this presentation and he was still working out the kinks, but we had a great time! Several times I thought the wheels were flying off, but he kept pulling it back together primarily due to his likability and wit.

He gave three signs of a miserable life:

  • Anonymity: people have a need to be known by others; be more interested in others as people, rather than as resource
  • Irrelevance: people need to know they made a difference in their job in some way. Know the stories of people around you, and remind them that they make a difference.
  • Immeasurement: we need to measure what is relevant in what we do. Measurement need not be a pass/fail objective, but rather to give people a sense of success for themselves.

Lencioni stated that managing people is ministry, and that people need to be reminded of things more than they need instruction.

Unchristian (w/Chris Seay, Tri Robinson, David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons)
This session was a group discussion regarding a new book called Unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity… and Why It Matters. In short most of America thinks that Christians are anti-homosexual (actually against the people themselves), hypocritical, sheltered, too political and proselytize too much. Christians are seen as an antagonistic group that is disliked. Sure we are to be hated, but were not hated for our righteousness, rather we are hated for our self-righteousness. Ouch and true. Their hope was not to leave us in despair over the situation but rather to educate us in how we are seen. If we are hated for the cross of Christ, then so be it.

Shane Claiborne
Hmm, what can I say about Shane. He seems like a good fellow, pretty likable. Also, pretty strong viewpoints that he is pretty open with, even right down to his t-shirt that said “God loves women preachers”. He knew what he was trying to get across, and it is one way to make an argument. He seemed to be much more heavily focused on the lamb that was slain, than on the conquering King. Both are strong metaphors in scripture and my balance between the two is in a different place than his. Although I am not on board with substantial portions of his platform, He is a brother in Christ who loves the Lord. We both seek a lot of similar things.

My next post will include a brief recap of Francis Chan, who is AWESOME! and Rick Warren. It is 2:00am and I need to get some sleep. Peace out.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2007 7:58 pm

    thanks for the update. the Seay session sounds really helpful for our austin context. i noticed he took the top obstacles to xn faith from barna. i just had a great conversation today with a buddhist-xn, who claims to follow christ’s conciousness and that the ultimate reality is love, of which we can be voluntary emanations. I was faced with two options: 1) tell him that jesus embodied more that love, but also wrath, dividing sheeps from goats and talked about hell 11xs in the NT or 2) meet him at Love and work backwards. I chose the latter. agreed that love is a high virtue, but argued that unless there are moral guidelines to love, then love to some people could be inflicting pain, while love to others might be comforting people. The greater, question, i averred was- what guides our love and where does it come from? From there we can work to Christ, who did embody love.

  2. October 6, 2007 11:51 am

    Unfortunately Seay was only part of the panel. I would’ve preferred to hear more from him. As you know Kinnaman is the President of the Barna Group, and their research backs up what we already see in our conversations with others. I came to faith 8 years ago (27 years old) and their research reflects what I felt personally as a non-believer about Christians. As a result I may not actually read the book since it is kind of like a bio of me. Let me know if you think the book breaks any new ground beyond what we already know.

    As for the buddhist-christian, I seem to run across that combination a lot here in Austin. I like the route you took.

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