Catalyst: The Facts

October 9, 2007 by

This year’s Catalyst conference was the biggest ever. Over 11,000 church leaders gathered to hear from the likes of Rick Warren, Francis Chan, Andy Stanley and more. I didn’t think I’d go on with session by session notes — partially because I didn’t take them, and partially because you can get them elsewhere (links at the bottom).

If you’ve never been to Catalyst, it’s not just a conference. It’s an experience. I’ve never heard a group of speakers as phenomenal as the men I heard last week. The conference is pulled off with excellence without fail. I did take away some interesting tidbits from the speakers that translate into the world of church marketing:

Andy Stanley delivered an incredible message on what you do when you’re the most powerful man in the room. We’ve seen so many abuses of power in the church on this blog before. The jist of it: don’t be afraid to acknowledge your position of authority and use it for good.

There were incredible models of discussion and focusing on the basics. With denominations multiplying faster than than rabbits and divisions being prevalent in the church, it was nice to see a break from these rifts. They will know (marketing) you are Christians by your love for one another. We saw that. And progressive discussion; duplicate this at your church.

Craig Groeschel brought it, big time. He discussed practical atheism and living as if God doesn’t exist. At the heart of all we do here is the truth that God is real and acts through the church. The world wants to see a church that does and moves with God — not a social club. Don’t rest for being a social club, you’ll end up with full pews of empty hearts.

Francis Chan is moving his megachurch outdoors. That’s getting a whole separate post.

Humor is the best method to reel in wandering minds. Even after a scattered talk, the hilarity of emcee Lanny Donahoe brought everyone’s attention back to the stage. Find that person at your church who makes people laugh, and find a way to use them. In a world of miniature attention spans, humor is a necessity.

The future of church marketing isn’t better designs, neater bells and whistles, or a better vocabulary. The future of church marketing is the world seeing us being the hands and feet of Jesus in a broken and desperate world. Church leaders are catching on to this as well. Which organizations are doing this, you ask? Check out Tom’s Shoes and the Prison Entrepreneurship Program.

That’s what I saw from the great folks that spoke at the conference. Feel free to add any more church marketing notes from the speakers in the comments. Church Marketing Notes from the folks at Catalyst themselves will be coming soon, but in the mean time, here’s some session notes:

A note: I pulled pretty much everything from Tim Stevens. There were a couple missing sessions. The sessions by Shane Claiborne and Erwin McManus were a bit polarizing, fairly edgy and more than a little scattered. But hey, you wouldn’t be at Church Marketing Sucks if you didn’t like a little controversy.

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Joshua Cody

Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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