Hovercrafts, mini-trampolines, beach balls, knife throwing, 10-foot unicycle stunts, balloon punching and popping, violins with beatboxing, a human cannonball, and a superbowl commercial: welcome to the tension-revealing activities of Cataylst 2010.
Catalyst East 2010 will be a time I’ll remember for the rest of my life – obviously the tension activities will be ingrained, if nothing else! Altogether, Catalyst was a power-packed experience.
Day 1 was full of humor and surprises. We started things off with a solo violinist. A man playing base beats on an iPad then came to the stage. The next second, the conference DJ jumped on stage beatboxing in sync with the violinist and base beat. A choir surfaced with a solo-rapper. Pretty soon all of the musicians and vocalists were playing and singing an epic song about the conference theme (“The Tension Is Good”). It was quite an introduction!
Andy Stanley then delivered the first, and in my opinion, the best, talk of Catalyst 2010. Stanley’s point was clear: every leader has internal tensions that rage. The question is, will you be dominated by your appetites and take advantage of opportunities you were never meant to take? The Biblical picture of this is found in Genesis 25:29-34 when Esau sells his birthright to Jacob in exchange for a bowl of stew. Now, the birthright was a big deal offering rule and authority over other members of the family, a double-portion of the father’s inheritance (a massive amount of money), and spiritual advantages such as invoking the blessing of Abraham and being the heir of the promised blessing. The story begs the question, why would Esau be so stupid as to trade in his birthright for a bowl of stew?! Unfortunately, stories like Esau’s happen all of the time in ministry. Senior leaders and pastors trade in their marriages, ministries, and movements for cheap thrills, big numbers, and selfish gain. Internal appetities are not framed correctly, so leaders take advantage of opportunties they were never meant to engage in.
Stanley concluded, “So, what’s your bowl of stew? What are you doing that’s not neccessarily illegal or immoral, but you would be upset if people found out about it?” We need to reframe our appetities so we can restrain ourselves with opportunities we were never meant to take. I loved Andy’s final prayer, “God, may we miss and miss shiny, but not miss You.”