10 Awesome Things About Catalyst West (Part 2)

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In case you missed it, here’s the first half of my list of 10 Awesome Things About Catalyst West. And as for the rest, I’m just going to dive right in!

6) Seeing the power of social media. Catalyst is a forward-thinking movement, and they really found ways to encourage everybody to go on their mobile devices to interact and connect with each other. People were tweeting and sharing photos, videos, and quotes from the speakers as the talks were going on. Attendees could have instant access to speakers and authors to give shout-outs or to ask questions, thanks to Twitter. Blogger Jesse Giglio did a great job of compiling a list of some of the memorable tweets. As for me, here are some of the funniest ones I read:

7) The tour of Mariners Church with architect and visioneer Mel McGowan. One of the benefits of Twitter is being able to find out about tweetups, and when I saw that this: “Tweetup: Mariners Campus Tour w/ @melmcgowan on Apr 23, 2010 RSVP here: http://twtvite.com/z3iqj1 I thought it would be a good idea to go. When I first saw the Mariners Campus, I thought it was beautiful and it looked like a lot (and I mean, a LOT) of creative thought was put into it. Again, I couldn’t help but notice the details! Because I’m involved in kids ministry and youth/campus ministry, I was especially curious to see Port Mariners (their version of Kids Church or Sunday School) and the Student Center.

Here are some photos of the Mariners Church campus (located in Irvine, Orange County, California):

Mel McGowan leads the creative concept development, programming, master-planning, design, entitlement, and project management efforts of Visioneering Studios. Throughout their careers, McGowan and his partners have worked with companies such as Walt Disney Imagineering, Universal Studios Creative, and Warner Bros. Recreation Group, among many others, which explains why being at Mariners feels like being in the happiest place on earth. On a side note, their website says that Rick Warren‘s Saddleback Church is one of their clients, which also explains why Saddleback has the same “they-thought-of-everything!” kind of feel.

What I liked about Visioneering Studios is that they’re actually a non-profit ministry, which I thought was amazing. What was even more amazing was that when Mel McGowan found out I was from the Philippines, he told me that he would be there next month for a project they’re working on in Cebu City: a halfway house for trafficking victims. So just in case you were wondering, not all the projects they work on are on the megachurch/theme park level. Like I said, awesome stuff! Read more about their story here.

8) The Response Room. There was so much to process during the 3 days of Catalyst West, that it was essential to take the time to slow down, be still, and reflect. Thankfully, the Catalyst team had already thought of that and converted the Mariners Chapel into a Response Room. More than just a quiet space, the Response Room was an experience. The Response Room was a collaboration between Catalyst and Uncover the Color. You can read more about it and see photos from the room here.

9) Louie Giglio’s talk. As I mentioned in the last post, each talk was powerful in its own way that it’s difficult to choose a favorite one. However, if I were to choose one that resonated with me deeply, especially in this season of my life, it was the talk by Louie Giglio. If you’ve never heard of him before, there’s one word that best describes him: PASSION. It’s who he is (if you hear him speak, you’ll know what I mean) and what he does.

Apart from going around the world for the Passion World Tour, Giglio also just started Passion City Church in Atlanta with renowned worship leader Chris Tomlin. You would think that these guys–who have probably influenced millions of people around the world–would have [almost] everything figured out. But during his talk, Giglio candidly shared that–because he’s new at the church planting thing–he barely knows what he’s doing. People always ask him what kind of church he’s envisioning (missional? postmodernquasidenominational?), and he sheepishly admitted that his usual reply is: “I don’t know yet.”

I totally get that feeling. Unfortunately, there’s always that pressure (whether real or imagined) to have it all figured out! Giglio was sharing that in the church world, they always say that we should be like the Acts 2 church. I hear that a lot. But as he reflected on these passages, he had a mini-revelation, which he shared with us. The mini-revelation was this: “Everybody always says that we should be like the Acts 2 church…but what kind of church did the Acts 2 church want to be?”

(Take some time to think about that and let it sink in.)

I love this line that he said: “I’m not sure what tomorrow looks like, but I have hope in what tomorrow looks like. I am confident in where it comes from.”

10) The theme: UNUSUAL TOMORROW. Before I got to the conference, I knew about the theme, but I wasn’t paying much attention to it. But when I was there, it finally sunk in and I realized that those two words couldn’t have described the future better. We live in the face of an unusual tomorrow where trends will change, ideas will come out of nowhere, technologies will evolve, and a new generation of leaders will arise. Many factors will be unpredictable, but there is one thing we can choose and control: how we face the future. We can face it with fear and worry or we can choose to face it with hope and anticipation.

Here’s the thing: it’s a choice we have to make daily. Because every single day, as Andy Stanley puts it, “The realities of today tend to crush the dreams of tomorrow.” It’s true isn’t it? But I take comfort in this: I have an unusual tomorrow precisely because God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. The future may be unusual, but I can trust that–like everything else on this list–it’ll be awesome too, because it’s the hands of our awesome God.

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So that ends my list! There was much more to say, but the brutal truth is that the Catalyst experience can’t be fully captured in words. If you’ve never been to a Catalyst event, my hope is that you’ll be able to attend one of their conferences at least once in your lifetime. If I had the chance and the funds to travel and attend again, I would go in a heartbeat! For some of you, that chance may be coming up: Catalyst Atlanta is happening on October 6-8 and I heard that one’s even bigger (The Catalyst conference actually started in Atlanta). Seth Godin, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Beth Moore, Craig Groeschel, Perry Noble, Mark Batterson, Tim Elmore, Gayle Haggard, and Chris Seay are just some of the people on their speaker lineup that I’d love to hear from. If you have plans of being in the area during that time, go for it! While you’re at it, read blogger Bryan Allain‘s “Top 10 Excuses for not Going to Catalyst” post. If I haven’t convinced you yet, he’ll get the job done!

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