4 Courageous Catalytic Decisions

I had the opportunity to attend the Catalyst Conference a few weeks ago with some of the team from Slingshot Group. Over the past 18 years, Catalyst has influenced and inspired tens of thousands of next-generation leaders. The theme for this year’s conference was “Of Good Courage.”

Andy Stanley Catalyst

As customary, Catalyst opened the conference with best-selling author and Senior Pastor of North Point Community Church, Andy Stanley. His message on courage was one that I know I will need to listen to over and over again. Here are some highlights of Andy’s talk:

A single act of courage is often the catalyst for extraordinary.

If you know the end of the story, that doesn’t take courage — that takes common sense. Think of the single act of courage of these leaders…

  • Martin Luther— breaking with the Catholic Church.
  • Rosa Parks – refusing to give up her bus seat. That single act of courage changed the course of history for the United States.
  • Bill Hybels— telling his father that he wasn’t going to continue in the family business because he was going to work with young people and build a different kind of church.

Consider these biblical characters…

Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, the other Joseph (Jesus’ father), Jesus, and Paul. Each of these individuals took courageous steps, and now their stories are told all around the world for the rest of time.

The problem is that once we take our eyes off of their stories, we look at our stories. We see our problems. We don’t see the solution. And we forget the courage it took to change the world. The time will come when you will be prompted and encouraged to step out.

Leaders rarely regret the risk they took. They always regret opportunities they missed.




  1. The courage to stay when it would be easier to leave.
  • You have no idea what hangs in the balance of your decision to stay.

“If you run now, you may never stop running.”  Dr. Charles Stanley


  1. The courage to leave when it would be easier to stay.
  • Sometimes we have to walk away, not to something — just away.
  • To walk away can oftentimes feel irresponsible.

“Beginning empty-handed and alone frightens the best of men. It also speaks volumes of just how sure they are God is with them.”  A Tale of Three Kings


  1. Courage to get help when it would be easier to pretend.
  • Secrets are dangerous. You should fear the consequences of concealment more than the consequences of confession.
  • Transformation is going to begin with one baby step, which may feel like the most courageous thing you’ve ever done.
  • Humility is liberating. Humility is an invitation for God to do something unusual. Pride and fear are cells without windows.


  1. Courage to submit when it would be easier to power up. 
  • Great leaders don’t make all the decisions. Great leaders make sure all the decisions are great.
  • You are not your smartest person in your organization. You’re just the leader.
  • If you can’t take NO for an answer, you’re a sorry leader.
  • Leaders who won’t listen will eventually find themselves surrounded by people who have nothing to say.
  • It takes courage to surrender. It takes courage to submit.

Plans fail for a lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22


“I would rather fail in the center of God’s will than look back and wonder what would have happened if I would have trusted and obeyed.” — Andy Stanley


What story do you want to tell?


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