Crumbs from Catalyst 2011: #1

I sure am a sorry excuse for a blogger.

Since assuming the position of campus pastor of the Glenwood Campus of Indian Springs Baptist, I have spent the last 4 months in a constant state of hustle. We have been renovating our facilities on a grand scale, recruiting volunteers, filling positions, all while continuing to visit, preach and teach. I am constantly trading one hat for another: contractor, janitor, pastor, husband, father, radio personality, etc. No excuses though. I am having a ball riding this wave on which God has placed me.

I miss blogging. I will do better.

In an effort to get back into the swing of things, I would like to share some of the nuggets I was able to take away from my very first Catalyst Conference in Atlanta last week. If you are a leader in your church or business or any organization for that matter, I would recommend that you make it to a Catalyst event if you can ever work it out. I describe it as a thirsty man having an opportunity to be refreshed by a cool drink of water… only thing is, the dispenser is a fire hydrant. I will be processing information for weeks. However, I am convinced that the responsible thing to do for folks who desire to disciple others (a command for all Christ-followers) is to share good information when we become aware of it.

So today I would like to share a few crumbs from the very first session with Andy Stanley. The theme of the whole conference was “Be Present.” Each speaker spun the theme a different way depending upon their own context and what they brought to the table. Andy’s, of course, related to his role as pastor of Northpoint Community Church one of the largest, fastest growing churches in the Atlanta area in recent years. I will share the thought and then make my comments:
The more successful you are the less accessible you will become.

  • Although I can’t claim vast amounts of success for myself (nor would I ever), as I have transitioned into a new role, I can certainly see where Andy’s coming from. As your church/ministry/business grows, your time and accessibility will naturally be challenging to balance. It is impossible to think you can be totally available to every person and every need that arises. That leaves one of two choices. Many choose to become a recluse. They insulate themselves with layers ministerial staff / department heads / administrative assistants, depending on the context, and say, “If I can’t do it for everyone, then it’s not fair that I do it for anyone.”

Fairness ended in the garden of Eden. Don’t be fair, be engaged.

  • Don’t hide behind excuses. There are ways to be engaged. Do what you can for who you can. Be present for people when presence is at all possible.

You can’t shut it all out, but you can’t take it all on. Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.

  • While it is impossible and dangerous to attempt to meet EVERY need, you cannot shut it all out. Make room for at least one person or situation at a time in which you can invest yourself– your time, your energy, your presence. Andy gave an example of a long-term “project” he took on with a lady who struggled with many facets of life. It was painful. It was stressful. It made him want to scream sometimes. But after many years that person became a resource for others in similar circumstances. The investment by Andy and his staff/family in one “project person” paid dividends in the long run with MANY OTHER PEOPLE.

Go deep, rather than wide. Go long-term rather than short-term. Go time, not just money.

  • Many times, when we choose to engage, we tend toward the lowest, easiest levels of engagement. You may as well go big or go home! Why waste time not doing a thing the right way? Even though it is easier to throw money at things rather than time, the real progress is made when the investment is genuine.

When you do for one what you wish you could do for everyone, you often end up doing far more than just one.

  • True discipleship means that those we disciple multiply themselves. So the time we take with people often results in multitudes of others who become part of the harvest of fruit. After all, we are to bear much fruit.

What do you think? I would love to hear your comments.

More crumbs to come. Stay tuned.

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