This weekend I was invited by speaker/podcaster Sam Collier to attend the Catalyst Conference. It was my first time and all I can say is WOW! Thousands of leaders who love the Church gathered at the Infinite Energy Arena just outside of Atlanta on Oct. 5-6 for Catalyst Atlanta 2017.
Formed in 1999 as a Next Generation Leaders Conference by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner, John Maxwell, Lanny Donoho and several young leaders, Catalyst exists as an opportunity to pour into leaders who love the Church.
The two-day event centered around the theme “Of Good Courage” and launched with a message from Andy Stanley, senior pastor at North Point Ministries. Stanley defined an act of courage as the catalyst for extraordinary results, urging spectators to lead others with faith, humility and transparency.
Stanley’s message was followed by an interview with Jeremy Courtney, moderated by Clay Scroggins. Courtney, founder and CEO of Preemptive Love Coalition, challenged attendees to “take a step toward the thing that scares you most,” calling on his experience in war-ridden countries. The interview was followed by a message from New York Times bestselling author Bob Goff, whose passionate personality kept the audience laughing, as he spoke of the importance of using the time we’ve been given to love others.
“I don’t want people to meet my opinions, I want them to meet Jesus,” said Goff. The conference then encouraged attendees to mingle with new faces during lunch, with food trucks, activities and music out on the lawn. The afternoon opened with music and worship, followed by a message from Christy Wright, an experienced Certified Business Coach, who published her first book Business Boutique in April 2017. She defined the antidote to fear as simply facing it and “doing the thing” that scares you the most.
Heisman winner Tim Tebow took the stage to relate the courage it takes to “be different” as an outspoken Christian in the spotlight. The afternoon also included a performance from comedian Jeff Foxworthy.
The first day closed with worship led by Hillsong United and a message from Robert Madu from Trinity Church in Cedar Hill, Texas, focusing on embracing one’s identity as a child of God.
Catalyst resumed Friday morning with a message from Christine Caine, Founder of the A21 Campaign and Propel Women, who called on Joshua 5 to challenge listeners to avoid complacency and continue exercising courage despite age or situation.
“The more I fill myself with Jesus the more Jesus does through me,” said Caine. Caine’s message was followed by music from married musical duo Johnnyswim and a second message from Andy Stanley, this session focusing on the types of questions that great leaders are constantly asking.
“The best way to become a great leader is to do what a great leader would do. Once you know, you become accountable,” said Stanley.
The next Catalyst speaker, Carlos Whittaker, musician and author, recounted personal pain and struggling to bring a message of hope to the conference.
“Courage isn’t found in striving; it’s found in surrender,” said Whittaker. His message centered around his passion to help people live their lives as opposed to letting their lives live them.
Three-time New York Times bestselling author and research professor at the University of Houston, Brené Brown presented the mid-afternoon message. “There is no courage without vulnerability,” Brown said, emphasizing an idea prevalent throughout the entire conference.
Catalyst Atlanta concluded with a conversational interview by Andy Stanley to Bill Hybels, the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., and bestselling author. Stanley described Hybels as one the heroes of his faith and together they discussed matters such as how to create local church environments for everyone to encounter God.
“If your heart is soft toward people who are far from God,” Hybels said, “God is going to use your life in an incredible way.”
Post-conference, attendees and the public can engage with Catalyst at CatalystLeader.com for free digital leadership resources.
I can’t wait to come back next year. Check out a few pics below.
I also had the proviledge to sit down the Clayton King, teaching pastor at Newspring Church in Anderson, SC. On Easter Sunday they easily have 45K in attendance.
We talked about what it takes to lead a successful church, what makes relationships work, and the importance of addressing race relations in the church. POWERFUL discussion! Watch it below.
Photos: Catalyst Atlanta