Catalyst 09 Day 1

A Few Things First

1. Sorry for the summary post. I kept trying to update the blog throughout the day and couldn't make it happen.  I didn't want to tie up the computers at our booth with my blog-writing, and the AT&T service in the arena is pathetic.  I was lucky to be able to get tweets out.  I was trying to write with the Wordpress app on my phone but it just kept trying to update for hours until it almost ran my battery completely down.

2. Since I'm officially here representing Student Life in our booth, I haven't been able to be in as much of the sessions as I'd like.  Plus, it's sold out.  So, those of us who are just exhibitors can only stand up in the back rather than try to find a seat.  For this reason, I don't have as much to write about.  However, there's good news, I've purchased the experience kit so I can bring it home and some of us can walk through it all together, or at least I will, and then you'll have to listen to me talk to you about it.  So there.

Okay, now let's move on to...


I think the way things start is super important.  The first scene of a movie or television show.  The first paragraph of a book.  The first few notes of a song.  The first moment of meeting between two people.  And, yes, the initial moments of a really big Christian leadership conference.  Beginnings are important because they often set the mood for what's to follow.

So, how did Catalyst begin?  I'm glad you asked.  Let me give you a rundown of the first twenty minutes of the first session.

1. Opening video - Spoken word piece about how a show begins - performed by attractive, trendy, African-American guy - also kinda introduces the theme "On Your Mark"

2.  Acapella rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" - performed by attractive, trendy, blonde, Caucasian girl - she could really sing

3. Video number 2 - Focus piece - featuring attractive, trendy, brunette, Caucasian girl - used pastels on black paper to write words like "breathe" and "love" while talking about preparing yourself for what's to come and about how you've had a mark left on you already

4. Live spoken word performance set to cello music - performed by attractive, trendy, African-American girl - I'd say it was about the role God plays in our lives and making marks on us and using us to make marks on the world

5. Scripture reading - by Darren Whitehead who I guess some would say is an attractive, trendy, Australian, Caucasian guy - random - Darren, not the Scripture

6. Video number three - featuring the same attractive, trendy, African-American guy from the first video - guess what it was about? - that's right - leaving your mark

7.  FEE! - musical worship - they (the Catalyst crowd) can't get enough Fee

So, what does this beginning say about how the rest of Catalyst would go?  Well, it would be cool, trendy, creative, multi-media, somewhat diverse, entertaining, featuring some God stuff, musical, kinda rocking and big while possibly being a bit random, disjointed, choppy and possibly repetitive.

It has proven to be all of those things.

Great Quotes

I haven't been able to hear everyone I would like but here's a couple of nuggets to chew over.

"Incompetence irritates me but overconfidence scares me." AND "People tend to want overconfident leaders but what we need in times of crisis from our leaders is humility." - Malcolm Gladwell

"God will not ask you, 'why were you not more like Moses?' He'll ask, 'why were you not more like yourself?" AND "When you obey God you won't want anyone else's life." - Rob Bell


Lanny Donoho got a tattoo on stage.  So that's something.  Also, he's trying to get himself on Leno through excessive tweeting.  Interesting.

Catalyst Backstage

I've been able to check it out a bit throughout the day, and, while certainly not perfect, I think it has been kinda cool, and Anne Jackson and Carlos Whitaker have been great hosts.  It was especially good tonight when they live-streamed the session with Francis Chan and Aaron Keyes.  Also, they're featuring official Catalyst bloggers (all of whom are dudes; weird) and some of them are doing a really good job of giving a run-down of everything that's happening.  So, head over to and check it out, especially tomorrow, when you can follow along with everything that's happening.

And Then This

Shaun Groves has a particularly great post today asking the right questions about Catalyst and other events like it.  Read it here.

Until later...