Sharing my faith and my life one day at a time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Catalyst East 2010 Conference: Lessons, Observations, and Highlights

Robert and I just got back home here in Omaha, NE after a 2-week road trip. The biggest reason for this travel was because we were blessed with scholarships to a conference we have been wanting to go to: Catalyst East 2010 in Atlanta, GA.


We made several stops to different cities before reaching Georgia but when we finally got there, we were ready to take in the experience and learn from the minds of people who are changing the world for Jesus Christ. I have always heard how great Catalyst is but our time there completely exceeded our already high expectations.

The theme of this year's conference is: TENSION IS GOOD. Perfect for someone like me who cannot stand tension-filled situations and relationships!

Here are some lessons, observations, and highlights from that incredible week.

1) Funny emcees. I really enjoyed the leadership of these funny, gifted people: Reggie Joiner, Lanny Donoho, Ken Coleman, Tripp Crosby, and Tyler Stanton.

2) The Social Cause tent. We love knowing about projects on social responsibility and we can participate on a more active level. I truly believe that being involved in making our world a better place is part of stewardship of the blessings that God has given us. Visiting the tent gave us tons of information on organizations on modern day slavery, human trafficking, microfinance, and clean water.

3) Catalyst Labs. This is an optional series of workshops that take place a day before the conference. In my opinion, it is a day that must not be left out. While it will not minimize the extraordinary experience that takes place during the main sessions, the knowledge we received from Labs allowed God to speak to us in areas we have been asking Him.

4) Andy Stanley. "You have no idea what God wants to accomplish through you, your children, and your grandchildren, but God does, and you are going to want to be there for it!" His new approach on the Bible story of Esau and Jacob leaves me asking the question, "What will I trade for a bowl of stew?"

5) Scott Harrison talks about how God turned his life around and start making clean and safe water available to developing nations. He started a non-profit organization called charity: water.

6) Daniel Pink. "Money is a motivator. We must be fair. Once a person is paid enough, additional money doesn’t add much motivation." Makes me wish Mr. Pink is my employer! His insights on new ways of motivating people challenged me as I do my work in the marketplace.

7) Christine Caine. "Don't confuse empathy with compassion. It's not compassion until you cross the street." My heart got stirred once again on how we all must go out of our way to rescue those who are broken and abused. I believe that our involvement is part of the stewardship of the blessings God has given us.

8) Seth Godin. "Are you doing work people will miss when you’re gone?" Linchpin teachings come to life as he passionately talks about leading movements that people want to follow and stay connected with. He also handed out a book he created especially for Catalyst attendees called "Graceful."

9) Beth Moore. "Eat the thing before you tweet the thing. Digest information before simply passing it on." This statement was a moment of affirmation for me. Before going to the conference, I was determined not to connect to any form of social media during sessions. I wanted to be a focused learner and take in everything that I could before sharing it with my network. I was tempted several times but her message reminded me on how important my decision was to stay offline. I am also looking forward to attending her Women of Faith Conference in November!

10) Francis Chan. "When was the last time you bragged about knowing Jesus?" My favorite session from the entire conference. Oddly enough, the only session I did not take notes from. I was too captivated by his excitement, faith, humility, and genuine love for Jesus. He is moving to India this week not knowing what God has in store for him but simply going out in faith. I have never seen a man so excited about the unknown!

11) Perry Noble. Definitely the funniest speaker at Catalyst. "Some of you are about ready to run from a situation that God reigns over." Amazing insights on 1 Kings 17.

12) Gabe Lyons. "A significant change is going to happen if you recognize that the people who go to your church are already your mission workers." Great thought on taking advantage of an army of missionaries that needs to be mobilized.

13) Craig Groeschel. "You are the most cause driven, mission minded generation in modern history. If you will come under authority and be teachable, you will be the greatest generation of our time." His entire message on generational tension is something every believer must hear.

14) Bishop T.D. Jakes. "Our job as Christian leaders is not to allow anything that happens around us to force us back into our corners." The Bishop's message was strong. He shared that his mother used to bring him to a lot of uncomfortable places like going to see a ballet. She wanted to him to have a wider sense of what the world is like and not be constrained in a "corner."

15) Gayle Haggard. Now I truly understand why she stayed. I also felt the urgency of always praying for our spiritual leaders. As workers in the field, my husband and I benefit by people who cover us in prayer. Blessed by the graciousness of this lady.

16) My Twitterverse coming to life. I think it was pretty neat that most of the people I follow under my Twitter's "World Changers" list was alive, walking, and talking amongst us!

17) Breathtaking opening number. I am still searching for anyone who recorded this on video. Incredible take on Eminem's song "Not Afraid."

18) Randall Wallace. I have always been a fan of Braveheart and I am looking forward to catch Secretariat this week. Moved by his humility and his desire to bring good movies to Hollywood. This man broke down in tears as the entire stadium stood and clapped for the work he is doing.

19) Emphasis on adoption and orphan care. There are 127,000 children waiting for adoption in the U.S. foster care system. I personally do not know the numbers worldwide. But I am grateful that this conference was used to create more awareness about the journey of adoption. Robert and I have been wanting to adopt even when we were single. Now that we are married, we have been waiting for God to lead us to the child who He has planned all this time to be ours (regardless if our biological child comes first or not). We have never been more excited!

20) Bowl cuts and plaid shirts. It seems like men had a "uniform" for this year's Catalyst: plaid shirts and jeans. Tripp and Tyler also sported silly bowl cuts and encouraged guys to get one for a free t-shirt. Too funny!

20) Worship. Always my favorite part of any gathering of believers. I am grateful for Aaron Keyes, Carlos Whittaker, Gungor, and my favorite Kari Jobe (who was beautiful and pure) for their leadership during this conference.

I have notes from most of the sessions that I will be more than happy to share with you! If you attended, it might be a helpful supplement to your existing notes. If you didn't, some of it might not make sense but you will definitely stumble upon insightful statements. If you are interested in looking at my notes, please leave a comment and I will get in touch with you!

Robert and I left the conference so inspired and were left to ask our Father what He wants us to do next. After all, He made a way for us to be able to attend. It makes me wonder how He will use us in the coming days/months/years. I am joyful at the thought of hearing His instruction!

Believing that we will be able to attend Catalyst West 2012! I am also hoping that we get to attend this with our closest friends. What an extraordinary experience!


Thelma said...

Great post! Have heard good things about Catalyst from the Chapmans. Hoping to get to attend one of these someday! We miss you guys and wish you'd move here. Hopefully that's what God has up His sleeve!

Liz said...

You met Carlos Whitaker & Bianca Juarez! I love them! And of course Tripp and Tyler too. LOVE THE BOWL CUTS. haha!

I have yet to see Lanny Donoho. His book 'God's Blogs' is one of my all-time favorite books :)

I'm believing to be in Catalyst West and East 2011, heehee. If grad school pushes through, then it can happen!

Oh, and I'm interested in the notes! :)

Samantha Johnson said...

Thelma, I briefly ran into the Chapmans during one of the session breaks. Glad to see them there! You MUST attend one someday. Especially that Atlanta is only 4 hours away. Maybe we can go together if he move there. Yes -- I can't wait to move to your state. Just patiently waiting for God's direction!

Liz, Bianca was even more beautiful and nicer that I ever could imagine. We hugged each other so many times. Lanny was actually my favorite host. His humor was right up my alley! I really hope you get to go to the 2011 conferences, buy the experience kit and share with us all of the MP3s :-) :-) :-)

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