Last week, I made what has become an annual trip to the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta.  In describing the conference to first time attendees, I compare it to taking a drink from a fire hydrant.  There is so much information packed into such a short amount of time, it’s often overwhelming so you grab what you can and hope that you can remember and apply those key ideas. 

This year was no less amazing compared to my previous experiences, but in going back over my notes, there wasn’t that one speaker that just blew me out of the water or created that “ah-ha” moment.  Don’t get me wrong, the speakers were top-notch, al people that I have heard before and would love to hear again.  And they each brought new ideas and perspectives from what I’ve heard before.  And my notes show that there were several points that I needed to hear, just not that big moment like a couple of years ago when Craig Groeschel talked about “Practical Atheism”.  But regardless of whether they were huge moments for me at that time – or not, these are the things that I’ve been thinking about since leaving Catalyst…

Andy Stanley opened the conference, titled “On Your Mark”, with a little statement and clarification.  He questioned “What man is a man who doesn’t leave the world better?”  That, in and of itself, is something that as a mid-west boy growing up I was taught foundationally.  If I was borrowing something from someone, I was taught to give it back in better condition than what I got it in.  So, I resonated with this opening thought and once again, I was engaged in the Catalyst conversation.  Andy took that idea and took it a step farther though.  He clarified that that desire, to leave things better, is God’s thumbprint on our lives.  I don’t know that I had recognized that as being God’s thumbprint. 

He followed that discussion by tying it into the conference theme and pointed out that as leaders we’re trying to leave our mark on the things we touch.  But that we won’t recognize our greatest mark until long after you’ve left it.  So, even though we may be trying to make that big impact, it may be years later that we turn around and point back to today as being the time that we left our greatest mark on this world. 

– more to follow –