Catalyst is a two-day Christian conference unlike any other, combining the best speakers, musicians, and segments to inspire and educate the next generation of leaders in ministry. Freedom Alliance selected five leaders involved with the military in ministering positions to escort to this year’s Catalyst in Atlanta.
All our participants would agree that Catalyst was as healing as it was informational. Besides receiving important guidance for ministering to others, they had personal needs met as well.
Master Sergeant Patrick, a combat veteran from Fort Benning, is active in his church and weekly ministers to other wounded heroes at his local VA hospital in Atlanta. “It gave me the opportunity to really look within myself for answers to questions I was dealing with,” he remarked about the event. Patrick felt like Catalyst specifically recognized the sacrifice that our military service members have made for our nation’s freedom. “We are not forgotten,” he said, moved by the sentiment.
Also from Fort Benning, Major Denise found an unexpected opportunity at Catalyst. “As a leader and a victim of PTSD and TBI,” she said, “the last three and a half days here have given me the tools to help others heal from life changes. God put us here for a reason and a purpose.” Denise wants to use her combat experience and what she learned at Catalyst to help others find their purpose and healing.
Another participant was Tanya, who is a 14-year, long-serving chaplain at Fort Campbell and Fort Sill. Tanya started out as a National Guard soldier and has been active duty for six years. She deployed with her Fort Campbell unit last year and returned with PTSD. Finding comfort from her church and being with other believers, she desires to use her faith to help other soldiers experiencing psychological issues. In particular, Tanya wants to establish spiritual retreats for PTSD sufferers. Catalyst provided the direction and enthusiasm to pursue this goal.
The regional leaders for Campus Crusade for Christ’s military ministry, Rick and Jan Hamme, also attended the conference with Freedom Alliance. The Hammes provide a program for service members dealing with PTSD and marital issues due to the stresses of military life. Rick, who was a Navy chaplain and a Marine pilot, thanked us repeatedly, saying, “God had his hand in this. Thanks for listening to him.”
The group met up with Eddie Heath, an Empowering Leaders strategist from the Virginia Baptist Mission Board, who hosted them for several meals. These times away from the conference sessions were used to process the event and voice thoughts and ideas.
As a parting gift, each attendee was given a download card featuring the Catalyst speakers, so they could bring the event home to share. “It has been a great tool,” Patrick said, “for wounded warriors at Fort Benning to listen to a word of hope and inspiration from godly people. Thanks again and again.”