Catalyst Dallas contained many powerful moments. I will capture the moments that stick with me the most after some time to reflect.
1. Scot McKnightinvited us into the world Jesus imagines through telling parables. The parables themselves
are a portal that draw us into a different reality-the Kingdom. In order to help us understand the nature of parables and the Kingdom, Scot used a Tolkien story about a man who paints leaves. This man passes away and finds himself in heaven where he sees a tree decorated with the leaves he painted in his life. Scot suggests that the theme of many of these parables is to understand that the little acts that we do in this life will have significance beyond that which we can imagine. He further illustrated by telling stories of students who are “painting leaves” through courageous, small steps. Unfortunately, his stories tended to focus on success (the worship leader leads at Willow Creek, the activist speaks at the G8 summit) and undermine his thesis. Perhaps it would have been more appropriate to share stories about the community formed when people live out the small, courageous “leaf painting” actions of disciples. I very much appreciated Scot and his words. He writes an excellent blog that I encourage you to look into. http://www.patheos.com/community/jesuscreed/
2. Michael Hyatt shared “How to lead from your heart.” Hyatt is currently blogging his lecture for all to use as aresource. Highly recommended. http://michaelhyatt.com/three-reasons-why-you-must-guard-your-heart.html
3. Mark Batterson ended the Lab day by sharing his experience of planting the National Community Churchin Washington DC. Mark shared the remarkable growth of his church from being a church plant in search of people to being a massive church with expansive ministries. He told his story by using the Numbers 11 narrative of God sending the quail as a metaphor for how God might be waiting to bless us. Batterson told a story about how his church needed a drummer when the were small, so he prayed for a drummer. He bought a drumset on faith and immediately they found a drummer. It was here that my mild discomfort became more acutely painful. Mark flew his flag over financial successes. With tears in his eyes, Mark recounted that a congregation that started off with less than $2000/week contribution was now able to buy and pay for $10 million in real estate debt free. Only in the American church would prayer life center in on finding the drummer to play in the worshipband and to experience God through financial success. I know Batterson has a heart for people and for God. I wish he defined success around life change and peoplemeeting Christ through his ministry. I am in awe of Batterson as a visionary leader but felt that his was too close to a wealth gospel.
I will post more reflections from this time. Brandon Baker has some excellent summaries posted on his Practical Youth Ministry page.
What about you? What were some of your takeaways from Catalyst Dallas?