ATLANTA — A Forsyth County resident led change and influenced future leaders — some 10,000 of them — last week during one of the largest annual gatherings of young Christian “change-makers” in the country.
Tyler Reagin, who has lived in Forsyth County for about 10 years, is the newest executive director of the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, a three-day leadership experience aimed to inspire those who love church and want to be “leaders and influencers.” It was held Wednesday through Friday.
Catalyst hosts groups and individuals from more than 50 denominations and 5,000 churches across all 50 states. The idea behind the nine events that Catalyst puts on throughout the year in different cities is to focus on a new generation of church leaders and change the “40 to 60-year-old mindset and medium” they grew into.
Since its conception at a Next Generation Leaders Conference in 1999, more than 100,000 people have made the annual trek to Atlanta to participate.
“There’s music, it’s not just worship,” Reagin said. “We bring in bands and comedy acts. We really love introducing the audience to people they should know.
“We want to create a platform to put voices and people and talent in front of our audience, even if it’s small things.”
Reagin has been in the leading seat for about a year. He was on the team for one year before the move up, sitting as creative director and executive producer. Prior to that, he was the service programming director at Browns Bridge Church for eight years.
The theme for this year’s Atlanta conference was of creating change in the church. To do that, Reagin said, the leaders effecting that change must do so internally first.
“Your heart has to change before you can lead others to change,” he said. “We are sensing a group of leaders who are not OK with an average sense of the world and who are not OK with the status quo. They’re passionate about trying to make things better.”
Reagin noted that the conference diverted from its typical format by introducing “team collectives, an intentional break from regular conference sessions to allow teams and individuals to reflect on the content from stage and work through guided exercises to create action steps for their teams, churches and organizations post-conference.”
“It’s been really fruitful for us to see these leaders see the lights go on,” he added.
His team consists of 25 people, from the inspired team to production and programming groups to the content team, who “really succeeded this week and did a phenomenal job.” Reagin said the biggest gratification of the job is seeing the impact in his community.
“It’s more of a calling,” he said. “You continue to serve in the areas you’ve been placed. When God opens a door, you trust that God’s got this and not just me. It’s not easy to move into that, but it gives you a peace to know it.”
Above all, though, he said it’s great to see everyone “just hang out and have a good time.”
“The truth is, we all want to smile no matter what we’re going through,” he said. “We tend to enjoy it more.”