As a lot of you know, last week I attended the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta Georgia. For those of you who don’t know what Catalyst is, it is a conference that is designed for a new generation of pastors and leaders with the specific purpose of making you a better leader for your church. Can I tell you that it was one of the most powerful times with God that I have had in my life. Honestly, I have tried to think about the last time I had experienced something as powerful as Catalyst, and I come up with nothing. It was simply amazing and I want to share this experience with you. So not to overwhelm you, I am going to share my experience over the next four weeks. Each week will focus on a specific area of the Catalyst conference. I pray that through these experiences you will be inspired, just as I was, to be a Catalyst for change in our community!
Catalyst began at 8:30am Thursday morning. Late Wednesday night I made a decision to arrive at the conference around 6:30am because I had heard that close to 5,000 people would be standing at the doors to the arena two hours before it even started. I had to see this for myself. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe the person who shared this with me, it was just that I had to witness what all of the excitement and enthusiasm was about. From the moment I pulled into the arena parking lot, I sensed that something was very different about this conference. As I was driving to find a place to park, there were staff standing on the side of the road holding signs that said, “You’re AWESOME!” and “We’re so glad you’re here!” They were cheering I was driving in! I felt like I was the starting point guard for the Chicago Bulls and they had just called my name and as I was running onto the court while everyone was cheering my name! That is how special I felt just driving in the parking lot! Walking up to the arena was an experience in itself. There were bounce arounds for the adults, there was a booth serving breakfast, another booth that was giving away free coffee, there were games to play while you waited for the doors to open, and there was a stage outside the doors with entertainers whose main focus was make us laugh. I hadn’t laughed and smiled the way I did that morning in a long time. The atmosphere was electric, even at 6:30 in the morning! The Catalyst staff had gone above and beyond to make us feel welcomed. They had done the unexpected in order to make sure that all 13,000 attendees had the very best experience our lives. I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next!
Here is what I believe, I believe that it going to take this kind of radical hospitable environment at Mt. Olive to reach folks in our own community with the good news of Jesus. We are going to have to do the unexpected and go above and beyond in order to make those around us feel as though THEY are the starting point guard for the Chicago Bulls. We must act in a way where people can’t wait to see what is going to happen next each and every Sunday! The question is how do we create this kind of environment? It first begins with you! It begins with you showing up every Sunday morning looking for the opportunity to encourage and bless someone. It will be YOUR actions and YOUR words that will create this kind of irresistible environment. YOU are the key to making this a reality! And who knows, maybe one Sunday morning we will have bounce arounds and give away free food and coffee after church! Yes…I think that’s what we will do.
I hope you will make it a point to be at Mt. Olive every Sunday! I hope you don’t miss out on what God is doing and miss helping to create an irresistible environment that not only you would enjoy but for those yet to come! See you Sunday.
via You’re Awesome –.