I have always been a believer that you grow the most when you are challenged. I believe that no person grows hearing what they believe over and over without a secondary perspective. As a runner I know my muscles cannot grow unless they are torn down and built up. I chose to go to the catalyst conference not because of what I agreed with but instead because I wanted to see things from a different side. I have attended baptist conferences, have listened to audio of my favorite authors and pastors at conferences, and have come to the conclusion that if I stay in a safe rut, I will never really grow. My hope is that here at catalyst Dallas, this conference serves to challenge me so that I grow.
Day one was the appetizer for the conference. It is a day full of "labs". The speakers were lesser known men who would speak on specialized concepts. For me, I chose to to attend the labs a day early because I saw the name of one speaker, Tullian Tchividjian. I had read pastor Tullian's story in leadership magazine. He is the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church who followed the church's founding and famous pastor Dr. D James Kennedy. Upon accepting a call to CRPC it did not take long for the church to take its new pastor and run him through the ringer. Pastor Tchividjian was man whose church declared war on him.
I wanted to see Pastor Tchividjian because Jenn and I have also lived through the pain of a church who hurt us. What I learned in his lab was a reinforcement of what I had experienced, that Jesus is all I need. In his lab he talked about how his value as a pastor coming into his new church was found in whether people liked him or not. When the new church rejected him, he felt that he had no value. He then said that God changed everything when he showed him that he was making people into idols and needed to trust in God alone.
I know as a pastor that I struggle in idolatry. I worship the approval of people. I have learned and am still learning that God has not called me to worship my approval ratings. God has called me to worship and find my value in Him.