Catalyst Dallas – Wrap Up Thoughts

May 16, 2011 — 3 Comments

Some have noted that I was a bit bearish on Catalyst in my first impressions post. And I’m still unsure if I’ll attend next year. But as I look back over my notes, there was definitely a LOT of good insight.


I think it was just the amount of mediocre insight mixed into the conference. Maybe I’m a product of our easy-access, instant culture. But I’d peg it as a 4/1 ratio of so-so/good speakers. And 15/1 ratio of talk of social justice/gospel-centered (or even just straight up leadership content). Maybe that ratio of speakers is the norm for conferences (like I said, this is my first non-Crusade conference). I think I would have enjoyed a non-Christian leadership conference more perhaps?


Anyway, without further ado, here’s my list of:

  • Best talks
  • Best Thoughts
  • Takeaways (I’ll share these tomorrow)


Best talks in order:

  1. Andy Stanley – Do more by doing less
  2. Matt Chandler – The Gospel for Christians
  3. Scott Belsky – Most Ideas Never Happen
  4. Dave Kinnaman – Are we a post-Christian culture?

The top 3 were phenomenal. Kinnaman’s talk was good for thinking thru ministering to young people. Click on the links for my notes.


Best Thoughts (click speaker’s name for my full notes)

Gary Haugen of IJM
  • There’s two responses to fear:  1) Become safer or  2) Become braver
  • Jesus is not in the business of making situations safer, but making people braver
Scott Belsky
  • Unplugging is the competitive advantage of the digital age
  • Ideas don’t happen because they’re great (there is no meritocracy of ideas). They happen because they’re well organized (with good leadership) with a bias to action
  • Creativity x Organization = Impact
  • 5 x 0 = 0
  • 100 x 0 = 0
  • 5 x 20 = 100
Craig Groeschel
  • When you delegate tasks you create followers
  • When you delegate responsibility you produce leaders
  • This generation is the most cause driven, mission minded generation in the history of the world
  • But they can’t let their sense of entitlement derail them before they start
  • If you want to be “over”, you need to learn to be “under” with integrity
Matt Chandler
  • A good diagnosis of whether you get the gospel:
  • When you screw up what do you do?
  • If you run to God, you get it
  • If you run away from God, you don’t get it
  • Levity is a predominant thing in so many of our churches
  • But sin is heavy – We must teach our people the weight of sin
  • God is not in love with a future version of us – he is in love with us as we are right now
Jon Acuff
  • Some of the most exhausted people I know in my life work at churches
  • God’s glory is not dependent on our ability to grow our ministry bigger
Andy Stanley
  • How to have a great organization – you create space for the leaders in your org to fully exploit their strengths and delegate their weaknesses to people who have those strengths
  • The best thing you can do for your org is step out of areas that you’re only prettty good at in order to create space for people who are really good at it
  • The Less you do, the fewer areas you delve into, the less you focus on – the more you will accomplish and the more you enable others to accomplish
  • As the org gets bigger, the only way to sustain growth is to do fewer things better and let other people take on new areas
  • You wanna raise up leaders? Learn to say “I’ll let you make this decision”
  • Leadership is not primarily about getting things done right. It’s about getting things done thru other people. The only way to do that is to allow people around you to do things not exactly the way you would do it.

Whether you attended or just participated vicariously through my notes, what were your favorite thoughts/talks?


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  • Tim,
    This has been great. I feel like I’ve been able to take something away from the conference without spending a weeks salary to be there. I’ve really enjoyed your notes. I always wrestle with Stanley’s doing less to do more, still trying to figure out what that means for me. Always love what Chandler brings to the table. Did you take any notes from Jon Acuff, I’d like to see those.

    • timcasteel

      Thanks man.

      I don’t really have notes from Jon Acuff. It wasn’t a great talk – more anecdotal (and humor) and not something I was terribly interested in (mostly on quitting your day job to find your dream job. And since I already work my dream job . . .).

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