Our eldership team is heading to Atlanta on Tuesday to attend the Catalyst convention. This is my second year heading down to this 2 day gathering of over 11,000 church leaders and I am getting more and more pumped.
Most blogs will tell you about the great speakers, worship, and fun that is available there and they are right. The line up of speakers is (again) impressive: Andy Stanley, Chuck Swindoll, Louie Guglio, Tony Dungy, Matt Chandler, Dave Ramsey, Francis Chan, Josh Hamilton, and many others. There are so many great ideas, instruction, and encouragement and I continue to be challenged while watching the teachings on DVD from last year and even the year before. The worship is incredible as well! The Worship leading of Aaron Keyes and Fee were instant classics for Josh and I last year. Not to mention the intensity of worshiping the living God of all creation with so many church leaders from around the country! As for the fun, there’s plenty to be had through the creativity and hospitality of our hosts.
I have decided to blog my way through Catalyst this year with what little internet time I will get. One added feature for this event will include video blogging as well as text. This is thanks to flip video camera that I won from Catalyst this year. Thanks guys! (Also, you can get more info by following me on Twitter at @tsfGodguy)
However, this blog will be a tad different from many of the other blogs. While I will surely cover some of these same details as the experience rolls on, there is something even more exciting to me that I want to document and share.
Last year, we went to Catalyst as a faith step. Our church was financially tight last year and while we could have easily skipped the conference and saved some bucks, the elders felt called to go to conference. We presented this to our little ban of 40 church folks and they came together to raise the funds to send us. We knew, even before we started raising the funds that there would be great teaching at Catalyst, that God was wanting to move in a new way in our church and that taking the faith step was more important than anything else. We were right!
At the conference, a new refreshing wind of the Holy Spirit came over us. It ushered us home and invaded our church. We were called to standing for integrity even though some of the conversations would be tough. We were called to holiness even if it meant people would leave and we’d be more stretched financially and people wise, not to mention the emotional pain of saying goodbye to those who would leave over things not going their way. We were finishing a year of healing from a worship leader leaving in a painful way and in a time we just wanted to rest, God was calling us to action.
So we followed…what else could we do? In His faithfulness, God moved as well! Long story short, some people left, some new people came, finances are more free than before, a passion for outreach is more intense, God sent a new worship leader after waiting a year and a half, a new youth leader to be mentored and use his natural gifts and heart in working with our kids, and we went from healing to action.
This year, we have a similar feeling! While we can afford the trip, there are other faith steps to be made. God is speaking to our hearts that’s He’s about to take things to a new level (through His Word, circumstances, words of encouragement (even some visions and dreams) and the enemy is aware and fighting against us (struggles, time constraints, financial attacks in other areas) … just a spirit of fear due to uncertainty).
So, while I will be chatting with you (whoever you are) about the great elements of the conference, I will also be sharing (and I say this in faith) the details of the testimony that God is creating in our midst as He defeats the enemy and leads us upward. Any interest in what God is doing? Then stop back and get the play by play from an anxious spectator. God is good…All the time!