Chances are, if you’ve heard of Michael Catt, it’s because you’ve watched Facing the Giants or Fireproof, both produced by Sherwood Baptist Church in Georgia. But that is only one of many accomplishments in his very full biography. Besides serving as Senior Pastor of this 3,000 member church (since 1989), Michael Catt is also the writer of six books, including, The Power of Surrender, the host of annual Refresh conferences, and is a leader in the Southern Baptist Convention. Michael is also the proprietor of a few biblically-rich websites, including VanceHavner.com, 2prophetu.com, and ronndunn.com. He also blogs at his personal site: michaelcatt.com. Michael is also a reknowned conference speaker and is regularly interviewed on media across the country. He is an influential mentor to hundreds of young pastors and a sought-after Bible teacher. I appreciate Pastor Michael Catt taking time today to answer questions for today’s Friday Five:
1) You’ve been Senior Pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia since 1989. When did you first feel the call to the pastorate?
I served for 15 years as a student minister in several churches. Around 1983, while serving a church in Atlanta, I began to sense that God was changing the direction of my ministry. While serving a church in Fort Worth, Texas, I felt that God gave me a specific word about changing the direction of my ministry, but didn’t know if it would be a pastorate or an Associate pastor. In 1987, FBC of Ada, Oklahoma, called me as Senior Pastor, and I was there almost three years before coming to Sherwood. I do believe that serving as a staff member helped me appreciate the roles staff play – something that wouldn’t have happened if all I had ever done was serve as a Pastor.
2) You speak and teach a lot about revival, even hosting annual Refresh Conferences. What is the secret to your longevity in the pulpit?
I believe it’s to stay fresh. In 21 years, preaching over 1200 sermons on Sundays, I might have repeated a dozen messages. I might return to a text, but I always seek to look at it in a fresh way. If I’m growing, my understanding of the Scriptures is growing as well.
I also refuse to be captivated by the times. I don’t want to be consumed with trends that might lead me to compromise the Scriptures. I want to make sure that I am anchored to the truth, not blown about by ever changing winds.
3) A few years ago, you’re church began Sherwood Pictures, producing blockbusters like Facing the Giants and Fireproof. Did you ever think that those projects would reach as many people as they have?
No way. We’re a church making movies. Even in our wildest dreams, we wouldn’t have pictured the extent of the impact of Sherwood Pictures. The movies have been translated into at least 13 languages and are in nearly 60 countries.
How can you explain or expect being interviewed by TIME, USA TODAY, The New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Dr. Phil, and hundreds of other media and entertainment outlets. It’s beyond explanation. That’s why it’s easy to give God glory, we know we aren’t that good—but God is.
4) You’re a big fan of Vance Havner–creating a website (vancehavner.com) with his resources. What impact did he have on your life and ministry?
I began to understand the lordship of Christ under Vance Havner. He came to my home church twice when I was first saved as a teenager. His preaching, honesty, prophetic tone, and uncompromising stand highly influenced my life and ministry. I was fortunate enough to have him mentor me for the last fifteen years of his life. I cherish the letters I got from him. I started the website to try to keep his name and ministry alive. His voice still needs to be heard.
5) If you could share one piece of advice with young pastors, what would that advice be?
Learn to walk in the fullness of the Spirit. Fleshly ministry gets fleshly results. Make sure your ministry, preaching, and motives are gold, silver, and precious stone, not wood, hay, and stubble. And, one piece of advice Havner gave me: ‘You don’t have to chase key men when you know the One who holds the keys.”