Here we are at Catalyst West Coast in Irvine, California at Mariners Church. I’ve been anticipating this conference for quite some time as some of my favorite speakers are here! Unfortunately, last night I had to finish some school work so I’m a little tired from staying up so late (like 10:00!), but seriously. Overload.
However, here is the summary from day one which included a few main sessions and three lab choices (where you could pick which ones to go to). The highlight was definitely Erwin McManus, pastor of Mosaic, and Dave Gibbons, a pastor and entrepreneur.
Opening Session: Origins ~ Erwin McManus
Erwin addressed the 3 spaces we all live in. The 1st space is generally our favorite place, the place where we go to hang out with people all like us (namely church, a country club, etc). The 2nd space is generally the place where we hang out and not necessarily with all the people we know (where we golf, workout, hang out). The 3rd space is generally the place people invite us into (homes, exclusive coffee shops, inner circle of friends). The point he was making is that too often, us churchy folks love to create these sweet 1st Space places (a great church) but that the great 1st space will never truly effect the people in the 3rd space. We may be making more church people more churchy, but we aren’t really moving and changing the world by reaching the people in the 3rd space. We spend all our energy trying to rip people from the 2nd space and bring them into the 1st space (he used Maranantha Music as an example) and instantly become irrelevant to the present reality. In conclusion, the key is to create opportunities to make a comfortable 2nd space for people.
Session #1 ~ Dave Gibbons “Monkey and the Fish”
This is an incredible time of transition in our world. Economically, we move $1.5 billion a day from the West to the East. What is that in the Bible about the debtor always being a slave to the lender? China is $2.5 Trillion in debt to the US in T-Bonds. In the academic world, the average US student studies 4 hours a week. The average Asian student studies 4-8 hours a day. Huge gap. The power in our world has gone from military might and coercion to something called “soft power.” Essentially, countries are becoming more powerful through mere attraction. So, Gibbons talked on transitions and how this is the most powerful time for Jesus to move and bring hope to the world.
1. Greatest miracles in life happen in transition. We don’t need to promote a label (emergent, simple, etc). Why can’t we just be all of the above? Doesn’t it matter on the context anyways? Honor the past, he said. That’s the key. Don’t bash the past during transition.
2. Fuel the Fringe. Jesus loved the lepers. Often, we find Jesus pissing off the religious dudes just to make the fringe a priority. If you find yourself angering those on the inside (religious people), you’re probably doing your job. Don’t be so concerned with the masses and just simply love the fringe, love the lepers.
3. Just keep walking. So often, we get caught up in the “we can’t move forward until everything is in place.” My mentor John Hogenson always tells me to “JUST DO SOMETHING.” At least put out version 1.0.
4. Gratitude. Those who REALLY know Jesus are overflowing with gratitude. Oh boy, how often can I tell someone who knows Jesus based on this? Some people I work with are just not grateful people and I always feel like, do they really know Jesus?
Relationships will always trump vision, so walk slowly through the crowds and gaze into people’s spirits. We need to see ourselves as Fathers. We need to hear God and hear people and then discern together the consequences and the possibilities of whatever people are trying to tell us. We need to customize our discipleship process for people and not just plug and play.
What i loved about Gibbons is that he was not promoting an ideology or a system. Instead, he was calling people back to customize their discipleship process in order to pull the fragments out of people we find. We can’t just be megachurches who plug and play with people. We need real relationships.
Session #3 ~ Alan & Deb Hirsch
Oh boy, I was looking forward to this. Alan Hirsch wrote one of my favorite books ReJesus. I don’t have enough time, but what this couple is doing is trying desperately to get people back to Jesus. Period. Paul isn’t Lord. Jesus is. Christian Authors aren’t Lord. Jesus is. We need to reek of the Gospel.
There are things that trip us up:
1. Distorted Views of God 2. Distorted views of self 3. Distorted views of others 4. Distorted views of love 5. Distorted views of world 6. Distorted views about money, consumption, and status 7. Distorted views of family
I don’t have time to go into detail and they didn’t really, but what they are so adamant about is that we need to find what Jesus lived like in all of these situations. I think some of the most enlightening stuff was how we live with “Status Anxiety.” Every time someone gets something bigger or betters, our lives become more about reaching that next status. We are constantly trying to reach the higher status and this is totally unbiblical.
The final thing that was enlightening is that we have a hugely distorted view that family is only supposed to be about the nuclear. Again, incredibly unbiblical. Our nuclear family is important but not any more important than the other people around us we love. We are supposed to open our doors to open our hearts to more family. We need to live in community and not just with our nuclear family.
We follow a WILD, RADICAL Jesus who calls us to live a subversive life.
Great stuff. More to follow tonight after the main sessions #1