Yesterday, we attended Catalyst One Day in Central PA (Lancaster). Over the years, there have been (multiple-day) Catalyst events, but in the last few years, they’ve also been conducting Catalyst One Day events. This was the second year in PA (we attended last year, as well). Yesterday’s event was the most-attended One Day event ever!
Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel each led three sessions. There was a strong emphasis on prioritizing family and things that matter most.
I enjoyed listening to Andy talk about the importance of family, a decade after his book, Choosing to Cheat, which I wrote about shortly after bringing Ethan home from Korea in 2008 (see one and two). The book was recently republished as When Work and Family Collide: Keeping Your Job from Cheating Your Family. I’ve included it as one of the Books That Have Shaped Me as a Leader.
It’s all too common for marriages to deteriorate over time. I love one of Andy and Sandra Stanley’s marriage goals: “When our kids are grown and gone, we still want to be in love with each other!” One thing you have to do is “prioritize your marriage on your calendar.”
At the heart of the matter, Andy says leaders have to “decide once and for all whose responsibility it is to build the church.” Jesus will build his church, and “he can do it with or without you.”
Andy said, “My only unique role in the world is father to my kids.” He said, “Don’t give up what is unique to you (i.e., your role in your family) for something someone else will do (i.e., your job).” Too many leaders sacrifice their families for their jobs!
Andy’s talk was certainly a good reminder for us. It was also good to hear Andy challenge us to “pray together at every stage,” not just when kids are young. As Andy noted, it’s easier to pray with kids when they’re young; they don’t have much of a choice! But, as they grow, it becomes more of a challenge and requires greater resolve and intentionality!
Craig continued with an emphasis on family in his talk on time management. He said, “If you want to raise Christ-centered children and lead a Christ-honoring organization you must learn to manage your time wisely.” Time is “a non-replenishable resource.”
I appreciated the talk because I’ve always wanted to be better at managing time. Craig said, “Wise time management doesn’t mean you do more, but you do more of what matters most.” This is such a growing edge for many leaders, including me. When we do too much of what’s not really of value, we become frustrated, and we’re less effective. A to-don’t-do list is at least as important as a to-do list!
Craig challenged leaders to “say no to many small things in order to say yes to a few big things,” noting that, “just because we could do something does not mean we should.”
Craig also encouraged leaders to “create artificial deadlines for increased effectiveness.” For example, set a deadline of Wednesday to have your sermon done. This is something I’ve been trying to develop. For one thing, it will allow more time for the message to simmer, and it will also reduce reliance on adrenaline (a stress hormone) on the weekend and allow me to focus on other important things.
One of my “light bulb moments” occurred when Craig was talking about focusing on what matters most. Applying the concept to sermon prep, he said it’s easy to get lost in the details of the text and lose what matters most. I’ve been feeling this frustration lately. Craig said it helps to focus on the big picture, the big concept. This is something that I’ve been trying to do lately, but haven’t been doing well. Going forward, my goal is to know toward the beginning of the week, what I want people to know and what I want people to do (the big picture), so that as I study the details of the text, I won’t be as likely to get lost.
Well, I need to spend more time processing the day. I plan to listen to the talks again after they become available.
If you attended the event, what are some of your takeaways?