the conference – Day 1


I know I’m writing this after the conference is officially over, but I needed some time to see if my gut reaction was due to personal preference or not. I have to say that prolonging a mediocre at best event by 2 hours was , let me see….. trying. Considering that this is a leadership conference, it was obvious from the beginning that someone – and I have to think there’s more than just one – dropped the ball in the leadership department.

Let me say that I know some of these guys and it’s not easy to be critical. Had there been only a few problems, I could overlook it and cover it with good stuff- I couldn’t. Lanny was off -really so was Reggie. They seemed more uncomfortable than in previous years. The speakers were alright and the highlight had to be the discussion between Steve Foster of XXXchurch fame, Tri Robinson, Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman.
The theme was reverb, but not much effect happened the first day. 

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4 Comments on “the conference – Day 1”

  1. Heather Says:

    This was my first Catalyst Conference so I don’t have much to compare it to. I wo uld really like to hear in depth what issues you had. I do want to say that I loved that Reggie mentioned the ORange Conference. I think too many of our leaders today have no idea what it means to be ORange & it will be a crucial part of church conversatoin the next decade.

  2. Chris Says:

    We went with a group of around 25 people. The majority are like you and this was their first conference. If this had been my first, I would have enjoyed it. No doubt about that. I’ve chosen not to “go public” with them about the negative ascpects I observed. In relation to the Orange Conference, I feel that it may turn out to have both the energy and content of the earlier Catalyst Conferences.

    The main thing that I noticed was that in the earlier conferences, Gabe Lyons and John Maxwell were steering things. Since then leadership has changed twice. I would not want to have the responsibilty of taking on the conference, but I think that perhaps the choice of leadership could have been wrong.

    The specifics that I noticed were slow or mistimed transitions between speakers, videos, skits or just an end to a session. Another big thing was the time devoted to music – way more than last year. Almost more time taken by music as was taken by speakers. That wouldn’t be a bad thing if this was a worship conference, but at a leadership conference I want to hear leaders.

    Year before last the conference was in a slump and they heard from attendees and last year was a return to the balance of great energy and great content. Hopefully they wil hear again and next year will blow your socks off!

  3. lanny donoho Says:

    Hey there. Lanny here. Always interested in what people are thinking. Saw that you thought there might be issues that we were dealing with that might have contributed to being off some.
    I am also always interested in making the stuff i help to create better any way that it can be ….seriously….so …
    Was wondering what the issues were that you were referring to and what specifically we might be able to do better or what areas you feel like we slippped up with were.
    Any comments always welcome. That is how we get better.

  4. Chris Says:

    I guess the couple of major factors for me were the “feel” of the conference this year. It seemed not as well planned out. This was a first for me, to see that planning seemed lacking. I’ve been to about 4 of the events and went to Q this past year and plan on going to it and Orange this next year. Each of those events have a cohesion where all the parts make sense separately and synergistically. It felt like Shane and Rick W. had an adjenda for their talk – especially Shane’s prayer. I had people in my group who had been raised Catholics who immediately knew Shane didn’t write the prayer as he had suggested.

    This was different from a couple Catalysts ago – the infamous Ted Dekker disappearance. During that time, the conference seemed just slightly off, but the planning was obvious and transitions were tight. This year transitions were off and there was alot of music where I would have liked to have seen more of you and Reggie.

    I also got the idea of reverb, but the connection to influence was a little lost on me – could have just been me on that though.

    Now this is not to say that my first time people weren’t blown away. They had a blast and want to come back.

    The “classic Catalyst” 2 years ago – I think – was great. It was a return to the Wows and Ooos during the fun time and the Ahhhs and Wooaahs of the teaching time. Good balance and everything was connected.

    I also know that this was the biggest crowd so far – that had to play a part in everything. I just got the email survey and the idea to do smaller regional conferences was a great one. South, NorthEast, Midwest and West Coast would give an audience large enough to do the WoW events and provide the intimacy for the deeper stuff.

    That is one of the things I enjoyed about Q this past summer. It had Catalesque features, but kept to the point of the attender being there to be informed equipped and offered an opportunity to “Do”.

    Anyone who is reading should also read “God’s Blogs”. Lanny, I got this book right after it was published and – kid you not – read the whole thing through in one sitting. It wasn’t what I expected, it was a real relevant conversation with what I want to believe God is.


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