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Catalyst’s New Leader Believes Christians Should Be ‘The Best Leaders on The Planet’

Thu, Apr. 23, 2015 Posted: 11:45 AM


The challenge for Catalyst organizers this year under the new leadership of its executive director, Tyler Reagin, is staying above a tidal wave of Christian conferences, many of which have emulated the Atlanta-based movement once considered to hold “Ferrari” status, as a young pastor recently put it, since its start in 1999.

That year, it was conceived as a “Next Generation Leaders Conference” by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner, John Maxwell, Lanny Donoho and several young leaders.

“Catalyst was created to meet the felt need that existed within the church leader space for a leadership event that was focused on a new generation of church leaders,” Catalyst says. “Everything within this space seemed built around a forty to sixty year old mindset and medium. This team was convinced that this needed to change.”

The “under-40” leaders within the Christian community were targeted and in October 2000, in Atlanta, Georgia, partnering with North Point Community Church, Catalyst convened 1,500 church leaders for this inaugural experience.

“With a unique approach to programming and learning, defined by a fun, dynamic attendee experience, leaders were personally challenged to become ‘change agents’ within their organizations, churches and communities."

I recently had the chance to talk with Reagin, who is now more than a year into taking over the helm after visionary Brad Lomenick’s long-term run ended. Reagin was in between sessions at the Catalyst West Conference at Mariner’s Church in Irvine, California, where he also served as a host from the stage.

“What I’m so incredibly moved by and feel the weight of is how do we make Christians the best leaders on the planet because they’ve been giving this hope and this idea. I feel like it starts with us,” he told me. “We can’t get up here and talk about it and then not be who we are.”

He continued, “So, we’ve just been fighting for the [Christian leadership] culture to match what we say and do and the rest of it will work its way out. I think we’ve made a lot of changes and that is articulating why exactly we exist – if we disappear tomorrow what would happen?”

Reagin said he wanted people attending a Catalyst event to come away feeling as if they themselves are heroes and not necessarily those giving their message from the stage.

When asked about changes to Catalyst since he took the top leadership position, he said, they were subtle but he believes “the fruit from them will be great.”

“For us it’s not about Catalyst, it’s about [the question], ‘Are we pushing leaders to be better?’”

Full interview can be seen in video here.

Alex Murashko