Archives For Catalyst Dallas

Part 2 of my wrap-up of Catalyst Dallas. You can read part 1 here where I listed the best talks and thoughts from Catalyst Dallas.

Today I wanted to process thru with you my Takeaways (mostly unresolved issues that I need to think through).

  • Make sure I teach/lead in such a way that it’s clear that the gospel is THE issue. The fuel for ministry and the source of life change.

– From Matt Chandler: “My fear is that we shackle our people with chains when we don’t understand the gospel. Because what we give people is the list. You have to do ____ to be accepted by God”
– My thoughts: For CCC, that might be: “you have to share your faith, pray missionally, disciple, and lead a Bible study to be accepted by Staff/God”
– My fear would be that the primary thing students get from CCC is a list, and a deep understanding of the gospel is secondary

  • I need a coach (from Scott Harrison’s talk)
  • I need to figure out my strengths/weaknesses (going to do StrengthFinders test this summer). And make a list of things that only I can do and then what I need to delegate –  “The sooner you are able to discern between your strengths and weaknesses, the better your org is going to be” – Andy Stanley
  • I need to get intentional/organized about unplugging. Maybe read Challies’ The Next Story, re-listen to Joshua Harris’ phenomenal sermon on Self-control in a Wired World– “Unplugging is the competitive advantage of the digital age” – Scott Belsky
  • Think through how to help students overcome an entitlement mindset (from Craig Groeschel’s talk)
  • Think through how we will balance social justice with our primary focus on Win/Build/Send and our primary target audience of college students
  • Think through evangelism in light of Dave Kinnaman’s stats on American youth: “Our role= to introduce them to the God they think they know”

What do you think? Would love to hear:

  1. What your takeaways were

  2. Any thoughts you have on my takeaways- insights on how to proceed on any of them

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?

Andy Stanley’s wrap up talk was one of the best of the conference. The topic was not new: work from your strengths. But it was presented with such clarity and in very practical terms. Great, great stuff.

You can watch a similar talk he gave at Dallas Seminary in 2007. And 3 minutes from a VERY similar talk he gave at Catalyst West right here:

Here’s my notes from his talk (my favorite points are bolded):
  • I had the mistaken idea that great leaders are great at everything
  • The other idea I had is what leaders did is when leaders found weaknesses they found ways to shore up their weaknesses
  • My fully exploited strengths were a far greater value to our organization than my marginally improved weaknesses
  • Your weaknesses will always be weaknesses compared to your strengths
  • How to have a great organization – create space for the leaders in your org to fully exploit their strengths and delegate their weaknesses to people who have those strengths
  • It’s natural and necessary to set the pace
  • So in the early days of org life it’s natural that you do everything
  • In the early days there’s no one else to do it
  • So we get into the habit of doing things that we really have no business doing
  • We accidentally set very low standards for our org b/c we’re doing the best that we can do in areas of weakness
  • 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
  • One of the best things you can do is drop a ball and wait for someone to come pick it up
  • Someone comes by and says – “someone needs to work on _____.” They are the people to work on that area (not you)
  • If we do everything, we never create margin for people to step into leadership
  • The less you do, the more you accomplish
  • Not taking 30 hour work week
Two of the best kept secrets of Leadership:


  1. The less you do, the more you accomplish
    1. (The fewer areas you delve into, the less you focus on – the more you will accomplish)
  2. The less you do, the more you enable others to accomplish


  • Here’s the target: Only do what only you can do
  • Instead of doing more and more – you will do fewer and fewer things better and better
When leaders drift from their core competencies, three things happen:
  1. Their effectiveness diminish – when I do things that I don’t do well, things don’t go well
  2. The effectiveness of other leaders in the org diminish (When you do things you’re not good at, you interfere with others who are good at it)
  3. The ability of the org to get and keep great leaders diminishes
  • Great leaders want to be set loose and set free to do what God designed them to do
  • Your favorite job is where someone else set you up and then just let you go to work
  • It won’t even feel like a job to you
  • This is such a big deal with us, every time our org grows, my assistant says, “we’ve added this, Andy what do you want to stop doing now?”
  • Now that we are growing, what would you like to stop doing? What do you want to put on your To-Don’t list”.
  • I don’t want to give up control, bc I feel I can do better than everyone else
  • 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
  • It feels like you are going backwards – people won’t think I’m working as hard
Why leaders miss this principle
  • Some leaders buy into the myth of being well-rounded
  • Tip: Great achievers are not “well-rounded”. They are men and women who play to their strengths and delegate their weaknesses. They have a well-rounded organization
  • The greatest leaders you meet are not well-rounded. They have extraordinary strengths and extraordinary weaknesses – that they surround themselves with excellent people
  • Leaders forget to distinguish between their authority and their core competencies
  • As a leader you will always have authority over areas you don’t know much about
  • They either think they need to become an expert or pretend to be an expert
  • Why couldn’t they just walk in here and say, wow – you know a lot more about this area then me. I’m going to fuel your expertise and let you run
  • That doesn’t mean you don’t ask questions.
  • You walk into that area – I may be the authority but I am not the expert. I don’t know as much about this area as my people do
  • Tip: Leverage your authority as little as possible. Make as few decisions as possible.
  • You wanna raise up leaders? “I’ll let you make this decision” is the key
  • I’ll let you decide that. “That’s a good question – I’ll let you guys make that decision”
  • You wanna know why great decision makers in your org never surface? You make all the decisions for everyone
  • You wanna know who is great at making decisions? – let people make decisions
  • Make as few decisions as possible. Do not make a decision unless you must.
  • Shove those decision down into the org
  • You are training leaders
  • You will never know who is a leader unless you make them make decisions
  • Let people make some bad decisions (even if it costs you money – We didn’t waste money – that’s just money we spent on your development)
  • There’s people who work for you who are scared to death to make a mistake
  • When people fear for their job, people start hiding info b/c they’re afraid of how you’ll respond
  • Some leaders are not able to distinguish between their competencies and their non-competencies.
  • Tip: You are not the smartest person in your org. You are just the Leaders.
  • This is very impt to know.
  • Anyone want to know why I am the leader at Northpoint? I just got there first
  • I’m not the best leader. I’m not the smartest.
  • We get to be in charge because we started it
  • The sooner you are able to discern between your strengths and weaknesses, the better your org is going to be
  • If you’re not sure what you’re not good at, ask the people who work for you
  • The are all very aware of it and are glad you finally figured it out
  • Where I am exercising authority where I am not strong, only average
  • Don’t hide behind your weaknesses
  • Lean into what God had gifted you in and called you to do
  • Some leaders feel guilty delegating their weaknesses
  • There are things we need to hand off that we don’t want to do, and I assume nobody wants to do it
  • We think everyone is designed like us
  • Your weakness is somebody else’s opportunity
  • You are robbing someone of an opportunity
  • Some leaders don’t take the time to develop other leaders
  • We serve a mission that is dependent on leadership multiplication
  • We in the church should be the preeminent leadership developers
  • One of the reasons you can’t lean into your strengths is because you don’t develop leaders
  • 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
  • Acts 6– it would not be right (or it would be wrong) for us to neglect the ministry of God to wait on tables)
  • We’re going to do what only we can do (bc we were in the boat with Him, we saw his miracles, we are uniquely equipped to teach the Word)
  • Look what Luke tells us happens – the proposal pleased the whole group (the only time in Church history that happened!)
  • Suddenly some new names are introduced into the history of the church
  • Because suddenly some new opportunities existed because the big 3 leaders stepped aside and focused on core strengths
  • What happened – the word of God spread. The numbers increased rapidly
  • Would you like the number of Jesus followers in your area to increase rapidly?
  • They did less – they accomplished more
  • Other names surfaced and the church grew
  • Gifts of the spirit – another example of this principle
Here’s the outcome:
  • You’ll find it much easier to establish and maintain a sustainable pace
  • Tip: Stress in ministry is often related to what you are doing not how much you are doing
  • You need to find someone else to do that
  • If you keep doing things that are draining your energy, you can’t lead to your maximum capacity
  • Organizationally, you will end up with an org that reflects your strengths but not your weaknesses
  • The things they brag about Northpoint, Andy has zero involvement in (meeting production, physical building)
  • Andy only prepares sermons and casts vision
  • The bigger we’ve gotten the fewer things I do
  • If you keep a sustainable pace, the more likely your staff will keep a sustainable pace
  • God has designed you to be great at something, and the sooner you can figure that out the quicker you will make a greater impact for God
  • Do NOT, under any circumstances, try this at home!
  • Don’t go home and say: “You know how you say I’m not very touchy-feely and affection, you need to find someone else to do that!”
  • At home you better be good at everything
Questions to help you discover your Strengths:
  1. What do you do that is almost effortless from your perspective, but seem like a daunting task to others?
  2. In what areas do people consider you the “go to” person?
  3. What facets of your job energize you?
  4. What do you wish you could stop doing?
  5. What organizational environments are you drawn to?
  6. What environments do you avoid?
  7. Write an ideal job description for you current area

Dr. Howard Hendricks: “If anything has kept me on track all these tracks, it’s being skewered to the principle of central focus. There are many things I can do, but I have to narrow it down to the one thing I must do. The secret of concentration is elimination.”


What are the next steps for you related to Strength-based Leadership?


Matt Chandler was phenomenal, as expected. Definitely the best spiritual development talk (as opposed to Leadership) of the conference.

Matt Chandler brought what, in my opinion, was missing in the Catalyst Conference: a focus on the gospel as the fuel for world change and personal heart change.


Here are my notes from the talk. They’re a bit disjointed as Matt tends to be. My favorite points are bolded.

  • What I was saved into was – ‘here are the rules’
  • As long as you keep the rules, me and God are cool
  • But I stunk at it
  • I would dominate the rules for a month and a half – and then I would fail
  • You know what that would lead me to do? – it would cause me to run from God for a month and a half
  • Paul preaches the gospel to believers in every book he writes with the exception of 2 Cor.
  • Paul believes that the gospel is not only what saves you but what sanctifies you
  • BB Warfield on why Christians can never move beyond the gospel:

There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake, or we cannot ever be accepted at all. This is not true of us only when we believe. It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be trust as long as we live. Our need of Christ does not cease with our believing; nor does the nature of our relation to Him or to God through Him ever alter, no matter what our attainments in Christian graces or our achievements in behavior may be. It is always on His “blood and righteousness” alone that we can rest.

  • My fear is that we shackle our people with chains when we don’t understand the gospel
  • Because what we give people is the list
  • What they’re going to get from you is what Christ came to destroy
  • You have to do ____ to be accepted by Him
  • Most young people assume that the gospel is only their ticket into heaven
  • That’s why secret sin dominates the church – it’s a failure to apply the gospel
  • “Well if we have cheap grace, then people will live in licentiousness”
  • 1) They won’t if they’re saved 2) Heb 12 – there is the Lord’s discipline
  • It’s what DA Carson calls Grace Driven Effort
  • How do I know if I get the gospel?
  • When they screw up what they do? If they run to God, they get it. If they run away from God, they don’t get it
  • How do you train your people to fight the flesh?
  • Wrong – The threats of the law and the promises of heaven (do this – don’t do this). If you do this _____, this will happen. We build a reward system with God.       Heaven’s not a place for people afraid of hell. It’s a place where God is.
  • Right – We’ve been given the weapons of Grace (not with the will) – The word of God and the Promises of the Covenant
  • You don’t need to feel good about you. You need to feel good about Jesus
  • Do you teach people that sin is an external sin or a heart issue?
  • Are you training people to attack the root or to attack the branches?
  • If you’re just shaping morals, you’re attacking branches
  • Was it not the best behaved people on earth that killed Jesus?
  • Grace driven effort – it’s violent
  • You teach your people the weight of sin
  • A lot of people don’t like sin because it ruins things but they have no idea of the offense of their sin
  • Levity is a predominant thing in so many of our churches
  • But sin is heavy
  • Most of us don’t deal violently with sin
  • We keep sin close and give it room, board in our heart
  • People who understand the gospel understand that sin is an afront on God’s holiness that shames His name
  • So we deal with sin violently
  • When I go to the gym, I know there will be some lady running basically in her bra and panties on the treadmill. I know that the enemy is there to destroy me. “Lord, guard my eyes, let me feel what’s on the line, for your name”
  • “I’m in a long line of incompetent men that God has made much of Himself thru” (Moses, a donkey)
  • When we look at our money, I like nice stuff, I’m drawn toward it.
  • God’s on mission here and my comforts come in the new earth (when I don’t live in Dallas anymore, I live in San Diego)
  • The great thing about living in Dallas is that no matter where you go it’s awesome.
  • You’ve got nothing without the gospel
  • Can you get people to do all kinds of external things without the gospel? Sure
  • Can you grow a huge church without the gospel? sure
  • But you can’t see hearts transformed and worshippers of God happen without the gospel
  • We are made to worship
  • It’s why grown men paint their bodies and go to games
  • God is not in love with a future version of us – he is in love with us as we are right now

What was your favorite point from Matt?

A few notes from Gary Haugen – President of IJM:

  • When did it occur to you that following Jesus was dangerous?
  • There’s two responses to fear:

Become safer
Become braver

  • Jesus is in the business of making people braver, not making situations safer
  • Do you want to be brave or do you want to be safe? Because you can’t do both
  • Football analogy – he loves the moment when kids realize that contact football is a contact sport
  • Football is not just lights, cheering, cool uniforms, highlights
  • It’s full contact.
  • If you’re not getting hit, you need to check and see if you’re on the playing field
  • It’s not safe
  • What we want: “God, I’ll do anything for you IF I know up front what it’s going to cost me, how long it’s going to take, and whether I’m going to look fabulously successful aftwerwards”
  • There are two types of people: those who choose to be safe and those who choose to be brave


I thought Scott’s approach to charity was really interesting (good to consider for how we operate as a non-profit). “From the start, we’ve made restoring people’s faith in charity an important part of our mission.”

They established three principles for Running their charity:
1) 100%

When we started charity: water, we made a bold promise to the general public — 100% of their donations would go directly to the field to fund water projects. We’d find another way to cover our operating expenses. We’re serious about 100%. We even reimburse credit card fees when donations were made online.

We depend on private donors, foundations and sponsors to cover everything from staff salaries to basic office systems to office rent and supplies.

Learn more here.


2) Proof

Prove where the money went by adding GPS and photos to each well site.


3) Brand

In a New York Times article [a must read for those who raise money] Nicholas Kristof says:  “One of the reasons [people don’t give to charities], I believe, is that humanitarians are abjectly ineffective at selling their causes. Any brand of toothpaste is peddled with far more sophistication than the life-saving work of aid groups.”

We want to build a charity brand every bit as good as Apple or Nike


A few more insightful points from Scott:

Opportunity vs guilt
  • People are willing to spend money. They’ll buy a margarita for $16. People just haven’t been told the right story. People don’t want to be guilted into giving. They will give when presented a compelling opportunity.
If you realize you’re wrong, admit it
  • For years we threw out this quote: “$20 can give one person clean water for 20 years”
  • Then we realized that 20 years part hadn’t been substantiated. Some wells don’t last that long.
  • So we stop using the “20 years” part
  • AND, we emailed everyone on the list to tell them we have been reporting wrong
Get a mean coach
  • Not just a coach, a ornery mean one who will make your life miserable
  • What his coach told him: “stop sending these wet noodle do-nothing emails.”
  • Find people that will tell you – not how great you are, how great your org is but what you are failing at

For those of you in Non-Profits, what would it look like for us to apply some of these principles?

Craig Groeschel spoke on intergenerational leadership – how older leaders can work with younger leaders. I mostly took notes on the part that applied to me as a relatively young leader. 🙂

A few abridged notes:

  • When you delegate tasks you create followers
  • When you delegate responsibility you produce leaders
  • Tim Elmore: told emerging generation to pick one word that starts with the letter ‘E’ to describe themselves. Most common answers:


  • Number one word employers used of this generation: Entitled
  • You can’t speed up maturity
  • We tend to overestimate what God intends to do in the short run
  • We grossly underestimate what God will do in the long run if we remain faithful
  • Most common question from 20-somethings: How do I lead up
  • Craig asked his pastor: Why did you let me lead up?
  • Answer? Because you showed me honor
  • Honor publicly results in influence privately
  • The emerging generation often doesn’t show honor
  • Our leaders have been chosen and equipped by God
  • Honor – to treat as valuable, esteem
  • The lack of honor for the older generation in the ministry limits what God can do
  • If you want to be over, you need to learn to be under with integrity
  • I have great hope for this younger generation
  • This generation is the most cause driven, mission minded generation in the history of the world
  • They ache to make a difference in this world
  • You see something you don’t like and it disturbs your soul and it lights a fire under you
  • And you’re willing to say “not on my watch. I am not OK with this”
  • You’re willing to walk away from the so many materialistic traps that my generation got caught up in
  • But you feel entitled: You need to understand what you deserve – you deserve hell
  • When you understand that, it frees you from entitlement

Scott Belsky was the speaker I was most looking forward to at Catalyst Dallas. I don’t know anything about his spiritual inclinations, but I love his 99% blog and tweets. Great, great insights on making ideas happen – systems, leadership, etc.


And Scott did not disappoint. Best talk, by far, at Catalyst Dallas on Day 1. I only wish he had twice the allotted time because he breezed through about 100 brilliant points that he could have camped out on for hours.

My favorite takeaway (among the MANY):

  • Creativity x Organization = Impact

5 x 0 = 0
100 x 0 = 0
5 x 20 = 100

[So basically – you could be insanely creative, but without organization you’re result is zero. And additionally, a little creativity with great organization can outperform amazing creativity without organization.]

Here’s my best attempt at notes from his talk:

Why do most ideas never happen?

  • When a new idea strikes, energy and excitement are really high
  • Then we call meetings and we have discussions, and our inbox piles up with emails
  • Over time energy/excitement dissipates
  • To return to the high of a new idea, we just scrap the old idea and start a new idea
  • Ideas don’t happen just because they’re great (there is no meritocracy of ideas where the best ideas always win out)
  • There are other forces at play


Here’s why they don’t happen:

  • The gravitational force of day to day operations
  • You get back to your desk and get overwhelmed
  • Lack of Feeling Organized
  • Lack of Accountability
  • Never tell anyone about our idea and no one ever benefits from it
  • Lack of Feedback exchange – you see the fatal flaws in others ideas but never tell them
  • Lack of Leadership Capability
  • When you do exit interviews, why are people leaving – Often they feel like they are not being fully utilized

How do we defy the odds and make ideas happen?

Creativity/Ideas + Organization/Execution + Communal Forces + Leadership Capability = Making ideas happen


  • We are bombarded An endless stream of stuff (emails, texts, tweets, voicemail, mail, facebook messages)
  • We are all pecking away at all the inboxes of our life
  • We are living someone else’s to-do list
  • We lose the sacred space of deep thinking – the shower is our last refuge
  • We need to force ourselves to be proactive and have deep thinking
  • Create Windows of non-Stimulation in your day – 2-3 hours of unplugging
  • Working on long-term plans
  • Unplugging is the competitive advantage of the digital age
  • Creativity x Organization = Impact

5 x 0 = 0
100 x 0 = 0
5 x 20 = 100

  • What company was recognized for the world’s best supply chain management? Apple
  • COO Tim Cook could be just as important in that company as Steve Jobs
  • The key to success in their study of the best creators in the world: Organize with a bias to action
  • Have an intolerance for unactionable meetings
  • Have a culture of capturing action steps – End your meeting with capturing actions

“I’m going to email this guy”

“I’m going to redraft this”


  • What ends up happening is you catch misses and duplication:

“Oh, I thought you were going to also do this”
“Oh, I thought I was going to do that”

  • It provides immediate accountability
  • Write actions down when they happen
  • Reduce your amount of insecurity work – Twitter, facebook, blog
  • Stuff we’re just doing to assure ourselves that everything is OK (people are still reading my blog, still following me on Twitter)
  • Find those things that don’t move the ball forward and cut it out or delegate it or reduce it
  • Never stop optimizing
  • We don’t want to fix something if it isn’t broken
  • Do experiments – cancel the weekly staff meeting; have a stand up meeting; see how it goes

Communal Forces

  • There are three types of people: Dreamers, Doers, Incrementalists
  • Dreamers – going to bed thinking about what new they can put in the system
  • Doers – wait a second we have a budget, a timeline; go to bed happy when there is nothing new in the pipeline
  • Incrementalists – rotates between the two; problem – create too many things that never scale
  • We need to recognize what roles people play
  • Share ideas liberally

Every time Chris Anderson has an idea – he throws it up on his blog
His community starts to nag him about his ideas
He relies on this constant pressure to follow up on ideas
Aren’t you scared people are going to steal your ideas and throw out ideas too soon? The benefits outweigh the risks

  • Share ownership of ideas

Doing things your way strips people of ownership. If you step in to correct what they are doing (to tweak it, to make it 100% instead of 95% good) – that person is now unlikely to stay up late at night working on the project

  • Seek Competition

We pace ourselves with other folks
Tuning in to what other people are doing helps us take the next step

  • Overcome the stigma of self-marketing

Respect based self-marketing
Curators in what’s interesting to them
Blogs, twitter
People can tune in and follow us
Then when we have something we want people to know about, we don’t have to spam, we just let our followers know

  • Innovation by tolerating failure
  • Innovation happens thru rapid failure
  • But what do we usually monitor and keep stats on? Success
  • How do we in organizations encourage innovation? Free up some staff for a short time to try new things without success criteria
  • Push People into their intersection; people operate best at the intersection of these three:

Interests – what keeps them up at night
Skills –
Opportunities (around them)

  • All of the remarkably successful people – at some point someone told them they were crazy
  • When people tell you are crazy – you’re either crazy or you’re really on to something

Nothing extraordinary is ever achieved thru ordinary means

What was the biggest takeaway for you? What has helped you make your ideas actionable?

Andy Stanley kicked off Catalyst Dallas. I’m a big fan of his stuff on leadership – brilliant thinker on ministry leadership and systems. It’s my first time to hear him speak.

Here’s my abridged notes:

  • A single act of courage is often the tipping point for something extraordinary
  • A handful of young people in Egypt set off revolutions around the world
  • The story you’re going to tell your grandkids is: Opportunities came along and you were scared to death but you took a step of faith
  • When you tell your story – there will be moments where an extraordinary act of obedience will be a tipping point for an extraordinary thing that God will do in your life
  • When you come to these moments there will be fear involved
  • Most of us in ministry have plenty to eat, roof over our head, but I think of three things we face

Three faces of courage:

1) The courage to stay, when it would be easier to go

  • It would have been a lot easier if God would have told me the future success I would see if I had stayed
  • You never know what hangs in the balance, what’s coming when God whispers stay
  • If your ministry is hard, it just means you’re in ministry. It’s hard
  • It takes courage to stay when everything says go
  • You gotta decide – am I going to trust God, am I going to obey? Do I have the courage to stay when everything says go

2) Courage to leave, when it would be easier to stay

  • Tale of 3 Kings – “Beginning empty handed and alone, frightens the best of men. It also speaks volumes of just how sure they are that God is with them”

3) Courage to ask for help, when it would be easier to pretend that everything’s okay

  • Secrets are dangerous
  • Secrets in the life of leaders are extraordinarily dangerous
  • Because you haven’t invited others into your life
  • Most of the people in your church think they can do your job with one hand tied behind their back
  • They think our jobs are easy
  • They don’t understand what you live with, the pressure
  • Andy to Businessmen (to help them understand how difficult ministry is): Think for a minute about the hardest thing you do in your job. Now imagine doing that on a stage in front of all your friends, all your family, and everyone has your email address
  • The pressure we’re under, our accessibility, we just wear down
  • We need more help than the average person, but we are less likely to ask for help than the average person
  • If we’re afraid of anything, we should be afraid of missing out on what God is doing

  • Here’s what I ask myself: what story am I going to tell?
  • Every decision we make is going to be a story that we tell
  • Do you really want to tell the story that God wanted you to go but I really was afraid and I stayed?
  • You want to tell the story: God told me what I was supposed to do and I was scared to death and I decided to say Yes to God and do it
  • We step into the unknown even though we don’t know what will happen
  • The tipping point for all of us in our life is a single act of courage

Catalyst is the first non-Crusade Christian conference I’ve ever been to. Ever.

It’s an interesting spectacle. A few things that strike me:

  • Catalyst puts on an amazing conference. Incredibly Creative. They spent the first hour and a half (of the first meeting) just setting up the theme using spoken word, video, hip-hop, worship and art. All before the first speaker or MC’s got up. Very powerful.
  • It’s very heavy on social justice – the main application, the main takeaway from the conference seems to be: change the world by giving time/money to Compassion or IJM. [The Catalyst Director later clarified: “Our heart is for issues of justice.” Obviously it’s what drives the conference.]
  • It’s feels a bit commercial – You can get the conference pack for $149. Tons of spammy sponsor postcards selling something (in the conference packet). Lots of pricey books and DVD’s to buy.

I came to the conference hoping to:

1) Learn from them on how to put on an excellent, compelling conference.

2) Be developed as a leader (spiritually and leadership ideas)

After Day 1, I give Catalyst an A+ in the first category. And a C+ in the latter.