We’ve just finished day one of Catalyst Conference 2002. I’ve been known to be a conference junkie – not really true; I’m pretty selective about what I attend. Catalyst is easily my favorite event of the year. It’s always exactly what I need.
Worship has been amazing. It’s so freeing to let loose and not worry about style. It’s part of what makes this time so great. I picked up the new Passion CD and I’m loving it.
The level of talent at Northpoint in general is amazing. Not only are the leaders of their ministries competent and more, they’re also leaders in their fields – worship, children’s ministries, and so on. It’s challenging to see people ministering so strongly in their area of passion and competence, amazing once again that Northpoint has been able to assemble such talent and assimilate 12,000 people in seven years after starting with nothing. It makes me wonder what churches haven’t yet started that will be changing the world within a few short years.
Highlights from the sessions:
John Maxwell talked about mistakes he’s made – trying to please everyone, playing the political game, putting ministry ahead of family, failing to equip people, failing to develop a leadership team, taking leadership shortcuts, and not facing reality in his ministry. John said, "The major difference between achieving people and average people is their perception of and reaction to failure." He was pretty transparent about the mistakes he’s made.
Andy Stanley spoke on Less is More. We’re not meant to be well-rounded. We should admit our weaknesses, stay away from them, discover our unique contribution, and focus on those few things that make the biggest difference. Play to your strengths, delegate your weaknesses.
Erwin McManus of Mosaic spoke on the primal essence of leadership: to create and maintain an ethos. The fight in the church isn’t about style or methodology. It’s for the heart of the church. Leaders need to worry much more about what people care about than what they believe. It’s easy to get the hands and feet of the church, but not the heart. "Are we willing to do what’s right, whether it grows our church, shrinks it, or causes us pain?" Success does not always equal growth.
Speaking of someone who complained to him that his church was too evangelistic, he said, "Some people don’t have the heart of God and still want to run the church." We’ve taken what God intended for all believers – a radical commitment – and reserved it only for super-Christians. One of his friends (an unbeliever) left his church because he wouldn’t baptize him. Why? "I’ve discovered I’m enough of a Christian for most churches." Most of our places have lost the essence of the church. "If you win the heart, you win the battle."
"The best way to honor God is to live your highest gift." (Laurie Beth Jones)
"There are only a few decisions in life that we make. We spend the rest of life managing these decisions." (John Maxwell)
"Run as fast as your character goes deep, not as fast as your talent goes wide." (Erwin McManus)
"No amount of accountability will make you the kind of person you don’t want to become." (Erwin McManus)
"Leaders today face their greatest challenge not in defining strategies, or in getting updated information, but in getting diverse human beings to pull together without pulling each other apart." (Laurie Beth Jones)
"Every time we talk about relevance, we’re admitting that we’re behind. We need to move beyond relevance to creativity. If God is truly the Creator God, the church needs to become the epicenter of creativity." (Erwin McManus)
"Society is broken into innovators, early adopters, the middle majority, and nostalgics (laggards). The church focuses the majority of its efforts on thee nostalgics and the majority, not the innovators." (Erwin McManus)
"Northpoint can find another senior pastor. My kids don’t have another father. My wife will never have another first husband. The only unique role I have in life is in relation to my family. Why would I want to give that up for ministry?" (Andy Stanley)
This is only a sample. Lots to think about. I’ll be spending some time reflecting and looking at what needs to change in my life and leadership.