a catalyst conference and a pizza man...

I have been really challenged by day one of the catalyst conference. I guess it's something about being with 13,000 other leaders from around the country that is energizing for a young church leader like me. It is also really cool to hear from leaders who are not coming at this from a church background either. Up til now, all my formal leadership training has either been from the USMC, or from a church perspective. Getting a business model leader's perspective is really cool.

So far however, my biggest impact has come from someone outside the catalyst bubble. We decided to eat at a pizza place for lunch called Uncle.... Uncle something. Uncle Vitos? Anyway, while we were ordering, the guy at the pizza oven in the back asked us about our lanyards we were wearing out in the public with pride. (actually, we forgot to leave them in the car.) He asked us if we were at a concert or something, and I explained to him briefly what this conference was all about.

I didn't think much of it, until he came out from the back and did some busy work right next to our table. He "accidentally" jumped back into conversion with us. He wanted to tell us that when you get one on one with God, amazing things happen. He proceeded to take off his hat and show us a large scar on his head where he had gotten beaten up brutally in a street fight and had been pronounced dead at the hospital when he arrived. Through the process of learning to trust God for everything in that situation, he had gotten some one on one time with the Almighty. He apparently has a belief in God, but he did not seem to have a personal relationship. I will be praying for him this weekend to make that transition soon.

I found this encounter particularly interesting, because we were in a restaurant filled with people from the catalyst conference. Why did he seek us out to tell us his story? When he spelled the story out to us, it was obvious he would explode if he didn't talk to someone right away. Why did he stop at our table? What made him feel comfortable with us? How can I be a place where people why to tell me about their interaction with God?


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