Confessions of a Pastor by Craig Groeschel :: Catalyst Photos

Craig Groeschel

Craig Groeschel

Craig Groeschel

Craig Groeschel

Craig Groeschel

I wanted to post an update of the books that have made it to my read (or reading) list.  I was planning on reviewing each one but just ran out of time. Over several months prior to my official start of Seminary (a topic I haven’t posted about yet, but will at some point) I tried to get back into the habit of reading, a lot.  In my first two seminary classes I had a combined 8 books for eight weeks of class, so getting into the habit of reading, all the time, has been very helpful.

One of the books I am almost finished with is Craig Groeschel‘s book called Confessions of a Pastor.  Published back in 2006, Confessions has a great combination of self deprecating humor of his own sin with real teaching and application of God’s principles for life in general.  What got me interested in reading Craig’s book wasn’t really the topic but meeting Craig and listening to him speak in Atlanta and most recently at Catalyst West Coast in Orange County California.

Here are some images of Craig speaking at Catalyst West Coast I took a week or two ago.

I haven’t made it to the end of Craig’s book yet but one of the last sections in the book, “I’m Afraid of Failure” had one of the best examples of how we condition ourselves for failure before we even begin (read the section called Failure by Numbers).

To avoid potential failure and pain, people abort their dreams.  They stop trying.

Confessions of a Pastor is a great church leadership type book, glad it made it on to my “read” list.

Catalyst West Coast with Hillsong United and Steve Fee Band

Hillsong United Worship Band

The Fee Band

I only thought yesterday was a long day.  Today was a great day and all I have time to do is just decompress a little bit.  It was a non-stop packed day with Hillsong United from Sydney Australia (I am now an official fan), The Fee Band which came over from Atlanta (who sung their new song “Glory to God”), and a whole host of fantastic speakers like Guy Kawasaki, Andy Stanley, and many more.

I wish I could go through the whole day here but I can hardly keep my eyes open at this point.  I did want to post a few photos of the bands.  The first of Hillsong United, the second is Steve Fee.  I will have to do several more posts at a later date but for now, here are a few shots from today. See more photos of the Steve Fee Band at Catalyst.

The Longest Day as Catalyst West Coast Begins




I can’t quite remember a day that lasted this long since my last trip to Las Vegas when we arrived at 2am after leaving Atlanta early in the morning.  Today at least I did arrive in the 3pm area but not it is 12:30am at home and I am just trying to process everything that went on today.

I did take a tour of Mariner’s Church for tomorrow’s main event.  It was very great to get an early walk around and I did get to see some familiar faces from Atlanta over here in Orange County.  After the labs ended today the kick-off event started with Carlos as the MC.

Below are just a few photos form the evening. The last shot is the chapel here at Mariner’s Church.  At night it was transformed into this incredible flood of colors and I may do a post with just shots of this chapel, it is very beautiful.

Catalyst West Coast with Hillsong United Band

Catalyst Conference in Atlanta

Many of you may know about the great conferences put on by the Catalyst folks, well this Wednesday is the big one, Catalyst West Coast.  Having been to the full multi-day conference in October (photos), I know this one is going to be a great time of learning and fellowship.  I feel privileged to have been asked by Catalyst to be one of the photographers for the west coast event (along with Daley Hake on his home turf), so this week I will make my way out to Los Angeles and to Mariner’s Church for the shoot.

Look for some photos here starting around Wednesday or Thursday if I can find a wifi connection (and some time).

Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel Photos at Catalyst

Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel at Catalyst

Catalyst Staff backstage at North Point Community Church

Andy Stanley at Catalyst

Andy Stanley at Catalyst

Craig Groeschel at Catalyst

Craig Groeschel at Catalyst

I am still working through the last part of my edit for Catalyst One Day.  Two of the key speakers at the One Day event were Andy Stanley (North Point Community Church) and Craig Groeschel ( who talked about creating and sustaining momentum.  They had several individual sessions and then one larger session with both Andy and Craig with a great Q&A session which brought out hard questions from attendees.  I only wish I could have mentally recorded everything they said.

What I did record of course were the images of the day.  Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel are always animated, making for great photographic subjects.  Hope you enjoy a few from the day below.  The first photo is back stage with some of the Catalyst staff prepping for the day (that is Brad Lomenick in the middle sporting my very own hair cut).

I still have a few more, one from a session with Lanny Donoho which had everyone on the floor laughing, and then he drops a hand full of Mentos in a 2-liter of Dr Pepper, so stay tuned.

Tribes, We Need You To Lead Us by Seth Godin :: Review

Catalyst Conference in Atlanta

Catalyst Conference in Atlanta

I have written over 615 blog posts on this blog that span some 8 years from March 2001 until now, and today I am breaking new ground on my blog.  Back at the beginning of 2009 I decided that this year I was going to read more, which wouldn’t be to hard to achieve.  I have never been a big reader of books, although I read a ton of material on blogs, news, and other media areas, but it almost always comes from looking at a computer screen, not paper.  Taking a small amount of inspiration (I say small because I can’t keep up) from Brian on his quest to read a book a week, I thought I would just try to read “more” than I did last year.  So, this happens to be the first book I finished in 2009, and therefore the first review as well.

This particular first book, Tribes by Seth Godin I happen to given a copy by the author during the Catalyst conference where he was speaking.  Naturally I do have some photos of Seth talking about his theories on Tribes just before he gave away 12,000 copies to every person in the arena that day.  I will not have personal photos of each author, but in this case I do.

Tribes, We Need You To Lead Us // Seth Godin

I asked someone who finished this book before I did what he thought about Tribes, and his reaction was lack-luster but interesting.  He said “it wasn’t a how-to book, I didn’t know what to do with it when I was done”.  That was actually a very good description of the book, Tribes isn’t a how-to book, but a book that talks about how we go about being successful as leaders to build a following, or how we can fail at it miserably.

More than about the Internet, yet spawned by the growth of social networking, barriers to building a tribe have been removed and we have basically been set free to build (lead) our own tribe of followers.  In many cases we are already leading a tribe and don’t even know it.  Blogs, facebook, iPhone users, Twitter, or amazing restaurants that only open once a quarter all have followers that need a leader.

Probably my favorite line in the whole book comes down to this: “Change isn’t made by asking permission.  Change is made by asking forgiveness, later.”

Tribes is a great leadership book, a quick read, and Seth follows his own advice in the book at the end when he says:

Give this copy to someone else.  Ask them to read it.  Beg them to make a choice about leadership.  We need them.  We need you.

Here are a few of the highlights I took away from the book

  • Leaders don’t care for the “official blessing” they use passion to lead not threats to manage
  • In every organization everyone rises to the level at which they become paralyzed with fear
  • Heretics are too numerous to burn at the stake.  So we celebrate them
  • Change isn’t made by asking permission.  Change is made by asking forgiveness, later.
  • Religion at its worst reinforces the status quo, often at the expense of our faith.
  • Real leaders don’t care about getting credit where credit is due

If you have a chance to pick up the book I would recommend it, if you know someone who has a copy and has already read it, tell them to read the last page and hand it over.

Catalyst Off the Blogs Night with Carlos Whittaker and Aaron Keyes

Off the Blogs Catalyst

Off the Blogs Catalyst

Aaron Keyes, Off the Blogs

Pete Wilson, Off the Blogs

Carlos Whittaker, Off the Blogs

Anne Jackson, Off the Blogs

Jon Acuff, Off the Blogs

One of the special events last week when I made it over to Catalyst One Day was the Off the Blogs meeting that took place in Buckhead GA.  This event was hosted by Pete Wilson of Cross Point Church in Nashville and he was joined by Carlos Whittaker, Anne Jackson (both of which are on a blog break right now) Jon Acuff, and worship was led by Aaron Keyes.  I went into the meeting / worship time not really fully understanding what was going to happen, and went away with a new understanding of the real names and faces we each have behind our own Internet facade.

There were no laptops, no macbooks, no (or very little) twittering, and it was real, it was hard core, it was intense, and an offline time to unplug and take a look at what shapes our lives.  I went in with a few questions of my own.

  1. As Believers, how are we allowing technology to control our lives?
  2. How do we use it to further self and selfish ambitions.
  3. What are we doing to use the knowledge of technology and understanding of how things work on the Internet to further God’s kingdom?
  4. How do we balance our online lives with those we physically interact with on a daily basis (are those people become the same)?
  5. It is really necessary for us to unplug when it is not a distraction in our lives, but it is how we live now?
  6. How can we leverage technology for God’s purposes?
  7. How much of our own lives do we share online?
  8. How can I get more connected with leaders in the church through technology?
  9. How do we connected with people outside the church?
  10. What is the next thing in technology that is going to rock this world?

I left with more questions than I went in with but it was still a great night and well worth the extra time to get over to Buckhead.  Carlos, Anne, and Jon all shared some incredible stories of how they got where they are in their walk and the struggles they went through with and without God in their lives.  None of this had to do with their blogs, facebook, or anything technology related, but how God changed their lives.  We are all a work in progress and I am so glad I had the chance to get to listen to people I respect in the Church and online.

Here are a few pics from that night.

Catalyst Photos at Northpoint Church with Steve Fee Band

Catalyst One Day in Atlanta

Steve Fee from Fee Band

Ashley on Drums

Yesterday was about the longest 24 hours I have spent in a long time.  It was a last minute photo shoot request for Catalyst One Day in Atlanta and it was non-stop from the moment we left on Wednesday night until we got back home around midnight last night.  I am still processing what all happened.  This was a full packed day with Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel as the keynote speakers led by worship with Steve Fee of the Fee Band and several other great musicians.  After Catalyst One Day was over we drove down to Buckhead to the Off the Blogs meeting with Carlos Whittaker, Anne Jackson, Jon Acuff, and Pete Wilson of Cross Point Church with worship led by Aaron Keyes, which was really an eye opener.

At this point I am not even sure how to start to digest the amount of great information that was given out on Thursday, not to mention the almost 4,000 images I shot for Catalyst.  I felt very privileged to get to be around all these minds and just tried to absorb all I could where ever I was at the time.

A friend recently asked if there is a movement going on in the church, and all you have to do is listen to what is going on with some of these churches and you can start to see signs of a broad movement in the Church Body.  Some churches will ignore it, some won’t and don’t know about it because they refuse to change, others are locked in cement and are dying a slow death, but there are churches who are embracing new ways to do things and look at “church” in a fresh new light.

If you missed Catalyst One Day, or the Off the Blogs event after wards, find the podcast, cd, or dvd, and just listen to the ideas and information these guys discussed.  I will set the stage with a few photos here with more to come in the upcoming weeks as I go through the complete edit.  Unitl then, here are a few opening shots of what happened yesterday in Atlanta.  This is the stage at North Point Church and a few of the band members (Steve Fee and Ashley on drums) back stage getting ready for the day.

Catalyst One Day in Atlanta and No Film or CF Card?

I am in Atlanta right now getting ready to shoot the Catalyst One Day event at Northpoint Church and later the Off the Blogs at Buckhead Church.  This was one of the most last minute shoots I was ever asked to do, but being that it was Catalyst (and the Off the Blogs) I was pretty excited about accepting the last minute offer.  Step one as a photographer is always always pack your film (or in this case digital compact flash cards).  Without a medium to record any images on, it makes your equipment and time pretty useless, and up until this month, over the last 10-12 years, I have never forgotten those precious cards (or film), but I did today.

I did the same thing a few weeks ago when we went to the Butterfly Day Center at Callaway and wanted to make sure I never did that again (same reason as today, I switched camera bags at the last minute) so I guess this makes number two.  Thank goodness there is a Best Buy in the same parking lot as my hotel and I can go pick up something I already have tons of, but can’t do the shoot without.

I am really looking forward to the day today and can’t wait to hear and worship with everyone at Northpoint.  I doubt I will be able to post any pictures throughout the day here but you might look for some over on Twitter, but I should have some shots of Andy Stanley, Fee Band, Carlos Whittaker, Anne Jackson, and several more posted here over the next few days.  Now off to our favorite neighborhood Best Buy.

Caitlin Beidler Redemption Art in Worship Photos at Catalyst

I have been waiting and waiting to get to this particular edit from Catalyst finished…so today I finally got around to posting these images from Catalyst08 in Atlanta. This is Caitlin Beidler from Redemption Art.  This very well could have been the greatest live acts of worship I have seen in a long time.  It took me by surprise and I came to find out later that not everyone there even saw the entire painting in worship as it happened.  It really was amazing to see a painting being created before your eyes, to music, in worship.

I did not get a chance to meet Caitlin but I appreciate the many different ways we were able to worship for those few days, and she was a big part of that.  The images below are a short progression of how the painting-worship to music went.  The very last photo was taken after they moved on to the next session and turned off the lights.  The paint is not a glow in the dark (as far as I know) or black light paint, this is just how it looked when the lights were turned off.  The glow of the white paint in the dark was amazing to me and to me it showed Christ at the Cross in the dark.  To see more of the painting from my photo perspective visit the Catalyst Gallery.

Caitlin Beidler Redemption Art Catalyst

Caitlin Beidler Redemption Art Catalyst

Caitlin Beidler Redemption Art Catalyst

Caitlin Beidler Redemption Art Catalyst

Caitlin Beidler Redemption Art Catalyst

Caitlin Beidler paints Jesus

Coming up soon I will have a few more posts from Catalyst.  If you have a chance, run over to Caitlin’s website and see her other paintings.