WOW! What a day this has been! I'm here in Duluth, just outside Atlanta at the Catalyst 2007 Conference. There have been various Labs all day long, and, oh my gosh, they've been great. I don't have a way to share all that I heard, but I'm going to share a nugget from each lab.
The first one that I attended was called Intercultural Competency. One of the points that the speaker made was that we can't achieve an intercultural environment in our churches "just because we should," or because, "we'll look better," or because, "it would be nice." The only way we can achieve that is by realizing that we NEED an intercultural environment. She stated that if we aren't creating an environment where people are needed, feel needed, and there would be an empty hole if they weren't there, then people won't stay! If you say you want Hispanics or Asians in your church, do you really mean it? Are you reflecting a need for them to be there? And what are you doing to reach out to that ethnic group to draw them in? Any music geared toward them? Any speakers geared toward them? She made so many good points and challenged the listeners to the max!
The next Lab I attended was on Catalytic Thoughts that Catalytic Leaders Think. The speaker was the leader of the Axis Group at Willow Creek Church...a very large, growing church. One of the first questions that she asked the couple thousand listeners was, "Who is the most difficult person that you lead?" My immediate thought was, "myself!" And, lo and behold, that's what she said next. "The most difficult person that we lead is our self, and the most important person that we lead is our self!" And if we aren't leading out of a life that's overflowing with the life and vitality of God, we can't bring about change in other people's lives. There was so much that she went on to say...I wish I could just post all of my notes (but they're handwritten..so not real legible to most normal people :D ).
Then there was the Lab on Change Without Compromise. I don't even know where to start to share what that speaker said. I guess I'll echo his statement that, "Jesus was a walking Defining Moment, and He always called for transformation!" God is all about CHANGE. And he went on to say that when we have the attitude that CHANGE is a 4-letter word, we're actually going against God. There is one thing that CANNOT CHANGE, and that's the message, BUT the METHOD HAS TO CHANGE TO MEET THE AUDIENCE! One thing he said was that, "If the people cannot understand the truth [because of the way it is communicated] then it is irrelevant to them. In order for a truth to be relevant to someone, they MUST UNDERSTAND IT!
Well, it's late, and I have to get up in 3 1/2 hours. There's so much more to say....I'm at my CouchSurfing Hostess, Amy's, house right now. It's been awesome, because she spent 3 months in Israel this past summer and I've had a chance to look at pictures! :D :D Anyway, bed is calling!