Archives For catalyst conference

Gary Haugen on Choosing Bravery Over Safety

Kent Shaffer —  May 12, 2011

Catalyst Conference Dallas

At Catalyst Dallas, Gary Haugen of International Justice Mission discussed choosing bravery over safety.

When did it begin to occur to the twelve disciples that following Jesus was going to be dangerous?
When did it occur to you that following Jesus is going to be dangerous?

There are two ways to respond to fear: (1) seek to be safer or (2) seek to be braver.

Jesus is in the business of making people who are braver. Jesus is not in the business of making situations safer because he uses unsafe situations to make people braver.

You must make a choice between being safe or brave. Jesus tells us we will suffer for him.

1 Peter 4:19 (NIV)
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

There are two things that are always God’s will and dangerous:

  1. Telling the truth.
  2. Loving people in need.

If my life in following Jesus, doesn’t feel dangerous I might want to check if I’m actually following Jesus. 1 John tells us that if we see people in need but do not help them then the love of God isn’t even in us.

Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

God is calling all of us to the work of justice, but it is not safe. Do you want to experience your power safely? Or do you want to experience God’s power dangerously?

The Bible says God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar

John Perkins on the Reconciliation of the Gospel

Kent Shaffer —  May 12, 2011

Catalyst Conference Dallas

At Catalyst Dallas, John M. Perkins of John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation & Development was interviewed and discussed the reconciliation of the gospel.

The purpose of the gospel is to burn through racial and economic barriers and bring people together for God. Segregated churches minimize the gospel.

God reconciles people to himself and to each other, and we do that as one body. We need to be the incarnated bride of Christ.

Success is connecting with people in your communities who have pain and staying with them.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar

Andy Stanley on 3 Types of Courage You Need for Ministry

Kent Shaffer —  May 12, 2011

Catalyst Conference Dallas

At Catalyst Dallas, Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church (Alpharetta, GA) discussed 3 types of courage you need for ministry.

Often times in life, a single act of courage is the tipping point for something extraordinary to happen.

Look at earlier this year with Egypt’s single expression of courage to tell their government they’ve had enough. And that single act of courage encouraged thousands around the world to stand up to their governments.

Look at Rosa Park. Her resistance to move to the back of the bus became a single act of courage that led to the anti-segregation movements.

David walking into the valley of Goliath was a single act of courage. Moses telling Pharoah, “Let my people go!” was a single act of courage. Joseph chose to marry his girlfriend, Mary, when she showed up pregnant. That took courage.

The Bible is full of single acts of courage that are tipping points into something new and extraordinary. Looking back it seems so obvious what they should do, but in the moment, it is full of isolation.

And then there are our mundane lives. You’re not going to lead an army like Gideon. You’re not going to walk into a Pharoah’s palace. And when your girlfriend shows up pregnant, you aren’t thinking that’s okay.

When you look back on your life, you won’t tell stories about the 5-year goals you met. You will tell stories about the opportunities that came along, and you sensed God moving you to take advantage of those opportunities. You were scared, but you took advantage of them anyways. Those are the stories you will tell.

I don’t want you to miss it. I don’t want you to look back and say, “If only I had…”

Three Types of Courage You Need

  1. The courage to stay when it would be easier to go.
    You never know what hangs in the balance when God whispers, “Stay,” when everything else says, “Go!” If ministry is hard, it just means that you are in ministry. It is supposed to be hard. You are dealing with people. And then the grass looks so green on the other side. It takes courage to stay. Your decision to stay may be the tipping point for something extraordinary to happen in your community, your family, and your church.
  2. The courage to leave when it would be easier to stay.
  3. The courage to ask for help when it would be easier to pretend that everything is okay.
    Isn’t it true that more people have had to leave ministry because of this? Secrets are dangerous, but secrets in the life of a leader are extraordinarily dangerous. People become afraid to confess their secrets because they are afraid of what people will discover about them and even more afraid about what they will discover about themselves. I do not know of a high profile leader who has not been in counseling. We are all a mess. I don’t care how large your ministry is. When you are at the tip of the spear leading, you get worn down far more quickly than everyone else. We need more help and sooner help than the average people, but we are the least likely to ask for help. In the last few months, has your spouse or trusted friend said, “I think you might need to talk to someone about that”? They are right because they had the courage to say it.

What we should fear is waking up one day and not knowing if we are in the center of what God wants for our life. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of stuff.

What story do you want to tell? Every decision you make is eventually the story of your past. And the tipping point for all of us at some point in our life is a single act of courage.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar

Catalyst Conference Dallas

At Catalyst Dallas, Jeff Shinabarger interviewed Shaun King of TwitChange and Courageous Church, Tyler Merrick of Project 7, and Jenny White of Art House America on the future of philanthropy.

Art House America was founded in 1991 to connect artists’ faith to their art.

Project 7 is a for-profit company that exists to help nonprofits by selling lifestyle branded products. Their mantra is don’t buy more stuff, change what you buy.

TwitChange brings celebrities, fans, and causes all together by auctioning off tweets by celebrities.

What have you learned by starting something out of nothing?

TM: It is always harder than you think it will be.

SK: Two small lessons that I learned are: (1) I made the mistake assuming that my wife would be on board just because it was my idea. If you want a loved one to believe in your idea, you must still sell it to them. (2) I am learning the difficulties of mixing of business and church relationships. It is difficult to have people see me as their pastor and CEO.

JW: You need to be okay with asking for help. And be okay with not having it all together. Be patient.

How to you improve an idea that you have launched and identify what works and what doesn’t?

SK: I try to surround myself with people who don’t always blow smoke up my butt. We have outside consultants advise TwitChange. Because TwitChange exists to raise money for causes, we judge the quality of an idea by how much money it makes.

TM: We sat down with nonprofits we work with to get insightful feedback and criticism about how we do things. If we don’t adapt and make changes, we would get lost. We stay mobile and agile and willing to change our message.

What are your team’s creative spaces like?

JW: As a startup, our office isn’t very creative, so we will go to coffee shops to fill that need.

TM: We stock our company kitchen with free food that our team likes because we want them to feel comfortable and want to be there. We leave are doors open and let music play.

SK: Most of our team works remotely. For me, a creative space is about having the time and place to focus on thinking clearly and creatively. The physical space doesn’t mean that much to me, but the experience matters. You can have an amazing physical space, but if you go in there burdened down mentally and emotionally, it will not do anything for you. Having sacred hours during your day where you do something specific is important.

What social media advice would you give on how to engage an audience?

TM: It has been important for us to find some good social media talent. Customer service is important. People are way more likely to reach out to us via social media than to pick up the phone.

SK: We get a ton of volunteers online, and they are always strangers. It is a new frontier because they definitely know me and then expect me to know them. People who are very friendly with me online actually see me as their friend. So when we ask for volunteers, people often think, “That is Shaun, my friend, asking for help.” I also love and don’t love the real time criticism. It is beautiful because you get to respond to people right away, but it is also nagging. And how you handle that is difficult. You don’t need amazing technology to change the world for good or evil.

What would you say to a church leader about how they can serve someone like you?

TM: The church always is battling trying to serve all needs for all people. The opportunity that I have seen is prayer. Having prayer support from the church is a huge part. You don’t really need another book or a podcast. You need relationship and support.

JW: See our nonprofit as a resource and not something that will take people from your church. recognize that we are trying to serve all people who are called to a lifestyle of creativity.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar

David Kinnaman on if the U.S. is a Post-Christian Nation

Kent Shaffer —  May 11, 2011

Catalyst Conference Dallas

At Catalyst Dallas, David Kinnaman of The Barna Group discussed if the United States is a post-Christian nation.

When you look at the different responses from hundreds of surveys, you begin to have a good picture of things.

83% of Americans identify as Christians.
75% says have made a personal commitment to Christ that is still important in their life.
75% approximately believe the story of Christ’s resurrection is literally true.
66% approximately believe the story of Sampson and Delilah is literally true.
Only 8% of Americans are Evangelicals.

There is a gap between who people say they are and the quality of their faith. What you have to realize is just how Christianized this nation is. The point is we are not Christ following. We have an incredible opportunity in U.S. culture to introduce people to the God they think they know.

It is important to look at the trends affecting the U.S.

  • Access
    Access to technology and information is changing people. The church needs to be at the center of the new ways that people are accessing information.
  • Alienation
    There are new levels of isolation from family, from community, and from each other despite our connection to technology. Young people are waiting longer to reach major life transitions (i.e., leaving home, finishing school, financially independent, getting married, & having a child). If a church is waiting to reach young people until they have kids, those young people will be alienated from the church as well.
  • Authority
    There are new questions about authority. Anti-Christian perspectives are much more accessible. Young adults now have a more favorable perspective of Paris Hilton than they do of Billy Graham.

The central challenge for the church, particularly for young people, is to be in but not of the culture.

If you think about authority and the role of Scripture, it is really a question of revelation. Do we have God’s word speaking to us?

If you think about access, it is really a question about vocation. How does the Bible apply to your career and cultural setting?

If you think about alienation, it is really a question about presence. We need to be in people’s lives.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar

Scot McKnight on Dreams, Parables, & Loving Our Enemies

Kent Shaffer —  May 11, 2011

Catalyst Conference Dallas

At Catalyst Dallas, Scot McKnight discussed dreams, parables, and loving our enemies.

What we do now is a glimpse of what we will do in the Kingdom. We are now just touching on what the Kingdom will be like.

I believe in dreams. I believe in imagination. They motivate us.

I believe in dreams, so did Jesus. Jesus called his dreams parables. Parables are meant to excite the imagination. They are portals into another world. Let’s look at Jesus’ parables as opportunities to be sucked into the world that Jesus wants us to see. They subvert our dreams like a good infection.

Read scripture aloud. It is meant to be heard.

Matthew 13
31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. 33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

Jesus talked about the significance of the insignificant. Jesus will subvert our forest because he wants us to focus on the little leaves that are insignificant now, but so important in the Kingdom.

Matthew 13
44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Jesus imagined a world where his followers will give up everything to follow him. Jesus wants you and me to be willing to give up everything no matter what it means, no matter what it costs.

Jesus hung on a tree in total surrender. And he wants us to give ourselves in total surrender.

Matthew 13
24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.

Jesus calls us as Kingdom people to dwell with non-Kingdom people. We are called to peaceful coexistence. We are called to turn our enemies into neighbors.

We love to love others until we meet the others. We are called to dwell with enemies lovingly, not just tolerantly.

Who are your enemies? Who do you need to invite to dinner?

Four Enemies of Evangelicals That Must Be Loved

  1. Muslims
  2. Homosexuals
  3. People with Political Differences
  4. Homeless & Poor

And we are not doing well in making our enemies our neighbors, except maybe with the fourth one.

The tree of your life is fun to envision, isn’t it? Someday I’ll write that book! Someday I will introduce that new paradigm. But we are called to concentrate everyday on the leaf.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar

Catalyst Conference Dallas 2011

Kent Shaffer —  March 27, 2011

UPDATE: Do not use my coupon code. Use “LC” instead for your special discounted rate of $199 per person (regularly $319). It is good through March.

In a couple of months, Catalyst Conference is coming to Dallas, TX at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship for several days from May 11-13, 2011. I will be live blogging the sessions. If you are attending, let’s try to meetup during the event (leave a comment).

Main speakers include Andy Stanley, Donald Miller, Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons, Christine Caine, Matt Chandler, John Perkins, Gary Haugen, Craig Groeschel, Scott Belsky, Scotty Smiley, David Platt, and Scott Harrison. Musicians and performers include Michael Jr. Aaron Keyes, Gungor, Amena Brown, and Lecrae Moore.

If you have not registered yet, you can save an extra 15% by using the promo code: FOB
Use “LC” for your special discounted rate of $199 per person (regularly $319). It is good through March.

I hope to see you there.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar

Craig Groeschel on Generational Tension

Kent Shaffer —  October 8, 2010

Craig Groeschel at Catalyst Conference

During Catalyst Conference, Craig Groeschel of (Edmond, OK) discussed generational tension.

We have a spiritual enemy that wants to divide us by denominations, so that we don’t work together. And I also have a hunch he wants to divide us generationally, so that we don’t work together.

When it comes to generations in the church, division is bad, but the tension can be good because we need each other.

I am able to do so much of what I do today because of the wisdom of those who have come before me.


Do not resent, fear, or judge the next generation of ministers but believe in them and invest in them. They are not the church of tomorrow. They are the church of today. They are different just like you were different.

One of the reasons the older generation finds it difficult to invest in the younger generation is because of insecurity. When you lead from insecurity, nothing works well.

Delegate authority not tasks. Tasks create followers. Authority creates leaders.

The younger generation wants authenticity and someone who believes in them.

If you are not dead, you are not done. Your age and experience is not a liability. It is an asset. Embrace the season you are in.

One of the greatest honors I can have at this age to to become as a spiritual dad to the younger generation.

Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me
- Psalm 71:18


You need those who have come before you.

Business leaders describe the younger generation as entitled. You have been protected and encouraged, so you feel very entitled.

You tend to overestimate what God wants to do through you in the short run. This disillusions you and then causes you to underestimate what God will do through you in the long run.

Because the younger generation feels entitled so much, it is a generation that does not show honor well. Andy Stanley says, “Honor publicly leads to influence privately.” If you want to lead up, show honor.

Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.”
- Mark 6:4

One of the reason God is not doing more in churches today is because there is not a culture of honor. Jesus is not your homeboy. He is the King of Kings.

If you want to be over someone, learn to serve under people well. Honor values, respects, and highly esteems. Honor lifts up. Dishonor tears down.

There is a big difference between respect and honor. Respect is earned, but honor is given.

Some of you need to repent because you have dishonored those above you, and that dishonor is hindering you from being able to achieve what you need to do.

Be teachable.

You don’t need to have the same standard of living at age 25 as mom and dad. Don’t be entitled.

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.

God believes in you. You didn’t choose Him. He chose you.

Do not underestimate your future.

Give God glory by taking the the best of those who have come before us. Quit messing around in pride and arrogance and do something that glorifies the cause of Christ.

Further Reading:
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