An Interview With Pastor Michael Catt

How does a small town pastor in Georgia end up serving as executive producer for multiple motion pictures? That was just one of the questions we had for Pastor Michael Catt who serves as the Pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. He is also the executive producer of a number of successful Christian films including Facing the Giants, Fireproof, Courageous, and Woodlawn. Here are some of his comments from our recent interview.

When did you first feel called to preach?

“In college, I attended a church service where my youth pastor was a guest speaker. After the service, I approached him and said, ‘I believe God is calling me to ministry.’ The pastor of the church overheard me and without hesitation said, ‘Great, you’re preaching for me in two weeks.’ Two weeks later, I was back at that church preaching my first sermon. The topic was, Counting the Cost of Serving Jesus.

How did Sherwood Baptist come to launch a ministry inside a closed Coca-Cola bottling plant?

“In 2010, I was driving when I received a call from Jim McBride, our executive pastor at Sherwood Baptist. He had also served in management at the Coca-Cola Company’s bottling plant in Albany. He was calling to let me know the 60,000 square-foot plant was not only available, but it was possible the plant’s owner might donate it. He said if we could come up with a plan in the next 24 hours for how Sherwood Baptist could use the plant, the owner might give it to Sherwood. We did, and within another 24 hours, Sherwood Baptist was given possession of the property.

“We use it today to minister to the local community through a number of programs including, The Flywheel Ministry, which offers auto inspection services for senior adults and single mothers; and The Dreyline Ministry, which helps feed the homeless. We also use it to provide support for other local and national ministries.”

How did you end up serving as executive producer for multiple motion pictures?

“We were at a staff retreat in 2002. I asked our media ministry pastor, Alex Kendrick, how he hoped to be serving the Lord in the future. He said, ‘I’d like to be making Christian motion pictures, but I don’t see how I can work on a church staff and do that.’

“It was one of those moments when you hope you’ve had your quiet time because you want to give a God-honoring answer. So I said, ‘Why not? Bring me a script and a budget. Then let’s see if God is in it.’ So Alex, his brother Stephen, our executive pastor, and I formed Sherwood Pictures. We raised funds to produce Flywheel, a small-budget, feature-length film. It was originally intended to be an Easter outreach video for Sherwood Baptist.”

What advice would you offer to other leaders in ministry?

“If there’s a trap that people in ministry fall into, it’s the fear of man. They’re not willing to trust God with their calling or their ministry, and they operate out of fear about what will happen if people don’t like what they do. God has never called us to be people pleasers. We only need to please an audience of One.

“Fear is one of the tools of the enemy. If we’re operating out of fear, we’re not operating out of faith. At some point your fear has to meet your faith at an intersection. You have to decide, ‘Am I going to be in bondage to fear or am I going to walk in the freedom of knowing I’m doing what God has called me to do?’”

How did you come to partner with The Gideons International?

“I grew up in a church where Gideons served. And about a third of our church’s deacons are Gideons. I’ve always admired Gideons for giving up their time just out of their love for the Word and for the Lord.

“It would be easy, especially in today’s culture, for Gideons to say, ‘Since we’re being told we can’t place God’s Word in many locations, let’s just quit.’ But Gideons have stayed at the task. In Albany, they have just gotten back into some places they have been out of for a long time, simply because their camp prayed. They’ve asked God to open doors. They have developed relationships and held productive meetings. They haven’t protested. They just loved the people who told them ‘no.’ Some of those people changed their minds and doors opened.”

The Gideons International thanks Pastor Catt and Sherwood Baptist Church for partnering with our ministry. He is our scheduled guest speaker at our International Convention this July in Indianapolis, IN. We praise God for how He is working through Pastor Catt and his wife, Terri, as well as the rest of the leadership and congregation at Sherwood Baptist. Please pray for God’s continued hand of blessing on their lives and ministry.

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