Forty-five students plus 18 faculty and staff members took part in the recent Catalyst/Atlanta 2011 conference and came away challenged to “Be Present.”
Tim Shetter, assistant dean of community life, said the goal of Catalyst “is training the next generation of leaders. People come from all over; there were 13,000 in attendance this year. It’s a great opportunity for students to hear well-known leaders and get information from them. They (the speakers) all have good ideas and information about leadership.”
Students from the Applied Christian Leadership and Advanced Christian Leadership classes Mr. Shetter and Dr. Scott Jones teach were encouraged to attend. Other students in leadership roles on campus, including resident assistants, student government officers, and athletes were invited as well.
The scheduled offered students the opportunity to choose five workshops on Wednesday, while Thursday and Friday were devoted to plenary sessions covering a wide range of topics focused on the “Be Present” theme. Speakers included Andy Stanley, Dave Ramsey, and Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church. “The idea was to be where you are; don’t be distracted,” Mr. Shetter said.
Allison Baker, a junior, said the conference provided more than a temporary spiritual high. “It is an event that calls leaders to be holy as their God is holy. The encouragement toward passion and creativity is matched or surpassed by the emphasis on integrity.”
And junior Callie Dawkins felt a personal challenge to become involved with global issues. “Before this season, excuses and discouraging thoughts raced through my mind every time that I was confronted with global poverty issues. The testimonies of Katie Davis, Blake Mycoskie, Chris Seay, and others infused an overwhelming passion within me and confirmed that now is the time that God will use me, my prayers, my financial resources, and my love to further His kingdom work going on throughout the world.”
Mr. Shetter said Bryan students have been attending Catalyst for about 10 years, and he expects the college contingent to grow next year.