After the opening lab session, the stage was set for an awesome 3 days.
And line by line, those who stepped onto that stage delivered the wisdom, inspiration, equipment, challenge, & passion that I’ve seen at every Catalyst I’ve been to. I was convicted, encouraged, emboldened, & moved throughout the week.
Mark Batterson did a great job emphasizing the importance of prayer to God’s work in and through His people (which I posted about here), and the challenge to “Be Present” rang throughout every session. One of the more challenging sessions for me was the second lab I went to, with Michael Hyatt talking about building a “Platform: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World”. I’ve read quite a bit on Hyatt’s blog, so I knew generally where this would be headed, but there was something about the title that bothered me.
There were actually a couple other options during that time slot that looked interesting to me, but something within my was provoked enough to let myself be batted back and forth a little bit. Should I really be drawing attention to myself? Aren’t we supposed to “decrease, so He can increase”? (One of the things about Catalyst that I really have appreciated is that they don’t attempt to tell you what to think – they challenge you to do some thinking.) Before the session started, I was wrestling with this aversion to self-promotion in my own head and jotted down a couple lines in my notes:
I linger safe in the shadows. I don’t want to call attention to myself. I’m a horrible self promoter. But, am I losing opportunities to show Christ by hiding my light?
As he defined what he meant by building a platform, I kept coming back to the thought that this kind of platform is not about self aggrandizement and is not opposed to the type of humility God calls for. It’s about letting light shine into dark places. It’s about delivering the most important message to people that desperately need to hear it. Have we created a way of appearing humble that decreases our capacity to deliver the message with which Jesus entrusted?
The next lab I attended was a great follow up, digging into “The Power of Digital Connection to Catalyze Change.” Claire Diaz-Ortiz of Twitter, led the lab through a series of stories of the power that social connection has had for good. The power of social media is in connecting people to each other’s stories – and everyone is desperate for connection that transforms.
In a great “Conversation on Worship” with Carlos Whittaker, Amena Brown, and Michael Gungor there were a couple statements that really stood out. Go back a few decades, and in church culture, there were only a few who really wanted to be the worship leader. Today… total reversal. Every kid that graduates to 4 chords on a guitar thinks he wants to lead, but this isn’t an entirely healthy culture creep. Worship (and leading it) is not primarily about music. It’s not about being cool, hip, relevant… It’s about seeing freshly, the face of Jesus. Sometimes a leader of worship needs to “disturb and disrupt a calloused Christianity” that has dimmed sight on His face. As Michael Gungor spoke about his writing process, he asked a question that is still echoing in my head/heart: “Are we leading/writing/building on the noise – or on the silence?” Life is noisy – sometimes even a spiritual life can get some jammed up with stuff that we miss the Voice that’s only heard in stillness.
You’re not going to “find time” to be still – so make some. Being with our Father in still moments of undivided attention needs to be a higher priority.