Last week I had the opportunity to head to Catalyst Dallas. In their words, Catalyst Dallas is a gathering of young influencers who see things differently and feel a burden for our generation. We seek to learn, worship, and create together with momentous energy while passionately pursuing God. I spent two days huddled with 3000 Christ-focused leaders learning, growing, worshiping, crying (well, some of us) laughing, eating, and yes...being entertained. Catalyst fills my cup, and although my motives for going are selfish the overflow of my experience spills into other life arenas.
- ...understands the need for young leaders. Although the grey-heads speckle the audience (for which I'm thankful), Catalyst unashamedly targets the under-40 crowd. They realize the Western trend of a rapidly growing irrelevant Christianity and the fundamental need to empower, encourage, and equip young leaders who can effectively speak into the current culture with the great news of Jesus Christ.
- ...does a phenomenal job of turning creative people loose. Catalyst believes strongly that all gifts are avenues of worship. In the 2-day span DJs, slam-poets, videographers, painters, sketch artists, instrumentalists, vocalists, beatboxing cellists (no joke)...oh yeah, and a few preachers lead us into the presence of God.
- ...embraces diversity. Assorted colors of people fill the stage. I heard from Reformed preachers as well as Armenian preachers. There was no Church of Christ, Baptist, Methodist, etc. producing the event. It is a conference that understands denominationalism has a terminal illness and therefore centers on Jesus and Kingdom. The event pushes social justice passionately while not apologizing for excellent programing, creative entertainment, and leveraging consumerism. The music varied from hip-hop, to Kari Jobe, to Gungor, to even dancing the Cupid Shuffle.
- ...inspires hope. The conference focuses on what the Church is called to be and celebrates the amazing things God is doing through her rather than highlighting everything wrong with the Church. Catalyst reminds me The Bride is beautiful!
- ...reconnects me with favorite friends while connecting me with new ones. This year I reunited with some of my favorite people: Kent Rogers, Matt Clark, and Matt's beautiful wife Jana. God also brought people I needed to see and hug across my path, and finally God introduced me to some new friends.