Who's PRESENT At The Table?
I'm writing this post while wrapping up an AMAZING 3 days at Catalyst 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. With so much to process, unpack, apply, pour out, and all the other things I need to do after the conference; I'm processing (on a lower scale) what my 1st Catalyst experience was like. I did have some type of expectation coming into the conference via watching past clippings of Catalysts, following guys on twitter who are connected to the conference, and lastly speaking to those who have been before. I am SO pleased with what I experienced this week. It was well worth my time, energy, and sleepless nights.
I capped off my Catalyst Experience with dinner amongst some GOOD company who all reside back home in the DMV. This year's theme for Catalyst was "Be Present". While everyone chat, chewed, conversed, and joked; I couldn't do anything but take a glimpse around the dinner table. I noticed a couple of things.
There was so much laughter: It was great to literally laugh til' I could barely breathe. And the majority of my laughter took place in the exchanges between myself and a couple other guys I met that same night! As we left, my jaws were hurting so bad. That's how much I laughed tonight and it was fun.
I was surrounded by special and gifted individuals: I was surrounded by people not who just have gifts and talents, but THEIR GIFTS AND TALENTS ARE EXTREMELY DIFFERENT FROM MINE. I believe I have the gift of teaching, speaking, and relating. Tonight I was surround by Pastors, Worship Leaders, Singers, Musicians, and Athletic Coaches. It was just awesome to be around people who were DIFFERENT than me yet so similar in that our passion for what we are passionate about are the same. We were all PRESENT at Catalyst to gain more as to how we can keep the fire lit for our PASSION.
We were ALL PRESENT: There was always 2 conversations going on at one time, but everyone was engaged to whatever topic was at hand. Nobody was engulfed in their cell phones the entire time at dinner. At times, one person would be speaking to everyone at the table and EVERYONE WAS SO ENGAGED.
T.D. Jakes said at the last Catalyst (and I'm paraphrasing), "If you're the smartest person at the table, GET UP!" My interpretation of this is I must surround myself with individuals whose passions are different, level of thinking is different, mindset is different, and most importantly...SMARTER THAN ME. Not in a sense that I'm the dumbest person at the table, but these people can challenge my way of thinking, my perspective, pour into me, and help build me up.
I couldn't have chosen a better way to cap off my experience at Catalyst besides Being Present at the table with some great individuals.