Connecting at Catalyst
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Jeremy Brannon

Catalyst-10 The Catalyst Conference team will stop at nothing to keep attendees on the edge of their seats at their yearly conference for Next Generation Leaders. Just ask the human cannonball who was fired through the rafters of the Gwinnett Arena at Catalyst 2010! The loud boom was enough to make us wonder what was going on in the meeting, and we looked in from time to time to observe the proceedings. But most of our Accordance team’s time was spent introducing people to--and doing demos of--Accordance.

Catalyst is a very diverse community, not only hailing from all parts of the U.S., but representing a wide generational range. The conference was begun by members of Andy Stanley’s NorthPoint Church here in the Atlanta area to fill the gap in training for Christian leaders in their twenties and thirties. However, there are a large number of pastors in the 40-60 age demographic that attend as well, often flanked by members of their staffs. People flock to Catalyst because below the slick and well-organized presentation of the conference (replete with diverse entertainment!), lies a desire to communicate practical wisdom on church leadership on topics ranging from social justice to staff development and dynamics. To that end, Accordance fits right in, as each generation of leaders turns to solid study of the Bible as foundational for life and ministry. What more efficient and elegant way to dig deep into the context in which the Bible was written, or access it in its original languages, than in Accordance?

As a member of our text development team, I don’t do as many demos of Accordance as some members of our staff, but it was a lot of fun to show the Catalyst attendees what Accordance is capable of. Some attendees who had little knowledge of original languages were amazed to see how easy it is to do simple word studies, armed with little more than a Strong’s-numbered text and a good original-language dictionary (Like NIDNTT or HALOT). Many were amazed to see Accordance’s Atlas and Photoguide in action, as 2-D and 3-D images remind us that the Biblical texts were written by real people in real places. The simplicity of Accordance’s interface likewise allowed people who were just interested in reading a few translations in parallel and scrolling with commentaries to do so simply by clicking on on a few workspace icons. Of course, those who wanted to do searches in the original languages were pleased at the drag-and-drop simplicity of the Construct windows, which in Accordance 9 are really easy to manage in zones! And the speed and simplicity of our improved Search All and My Groups impressed those who wanted to check entire groups of tools and texts at once.

Many Catalyst attendees were Mac-users and/or iPhone/iPad users and a lot of them asked about our iOS app. To wit, I was able to give them a quick demo of the current beta version, complete with quick GoTo-style passage lookup, side-by-side display of reference tools and texts, double-tap access to Strong’s number information, and “pinching” a few graphics in our Photoguide. Being able to do a quick COUNT 1 search of the tagged Greek New Testament, for hapax legomena was a treat for anyone interested in original languages. We are excited to see the app’s release draw closer and closer!

Although our booth had no people dressed in spacesuits or playing music while suspended from wires (à la Bon Jovi), our team had some great opportunities to interact with attendees about Accordance. Particularly, I enjoyed sharing one of the ways Accordance benefits me personally: it establishes a high “ceiling” for Bible study. My initial interactions with Accordance consisted of little more than simple passage lookup or word searches. However, Accordance has offered so many simple ways of doing more complex searches (especially using Strong’s numbers and Analysis graphs) that I’ve grown in my study methods. Thankfully, Accordance is always growing too, so there’s little chance that I’ll ever “bump my head” on its technological “ceiling.” With its focus on keeping the Bible and searching central, I’m never obstructed or distracted by more information than I need. Accordance has enhanced my Bible study, not just made it quicker, establishing a healthy “growth curve” for years to come.

Our hope at Accordance is that all of our users, including some of the new friends we met this year at Catalyst, will establish their own Bible Study growth curve by putting the power of Accordance, and its prodigious array of texts and tools, to work for them. For a human cannonball, what goes up must come down. But for Accordance, the sky’s the limit.

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