maincurve UC Library MyUC iLearn Webmail Home
title Media Relations Home



Cumberlands students and professors attend Catalyst 2012


Williamsburg, Ky. – On October 3-5, University of the Cumberlands (UC) students, faculty and staff traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for Catalyst 2012. This was the 13th annual Catalyst event, which is a conference devoted for equipping Christian leaders, especially young leaders, for evangelizing and ministering in the church today.

Among the 14,000 people in attendance from all over the United States and 100 countries, Cumberlands had 10 students and 5 faculty/staff members present. UC students attending the conference were:

LeAnn Wright, Waynesburg, KY, Double Springs Baptist;

Kayla Smith, Williamsburg, KY, Faith Baptist Church;

Kelsey Day, Harlan, KY, Dione Baptist Church;

Tanner Yankey, Lawrenceburg, KY, First Baptist Church;

April Smith, Corbin, KY, Central Baptist Church;

Eric Wright, London, KY, Hawk Creek Baptist Church;

Lee Sharp, Paris, KY, First Baptist Church, Paris;

Patrick Rowe, Lawrenceburg, KY, First Baptist Church;

Julie Paris, Ashland, KY, Unity Baptist Church;

And Jordan Infield, Knoxville, TN, Cedar Springs Presbyterian.

Faculty and staff members in attendance were Magan Atwood, Director of Appalachian Ministries; Bob Dunston, Chair of Missions and Ministries Department; Kirby Clark, Professor in Missions and Ministries Department; Casey Hamm, Baptist Campus Ministries Semester Missionary; and Dean Whitaker, Director of Baptist Campus Ministries.

“It is a great investment for me to take junior and senior students in leadership who are called to serve God through the church as this truly is a Catalyst for their ministry and lives now and into the future,” said Whitaker. “They come away with fresh ideas of how to impact the world with the gospel by developing healthy leadership skills and strategies that keep the gospel as the central focus and allow room to reach into places in the our global culture with truth and light.”

The two day event is very creative, that provides everyone an experience of teaching, worship, preaching and sharing in cutting-edge ways for the gospel to go forth to reach into our culture and the entire world. There are fun elements mixed in that help interpret the theme MAKE, such as a pottery wheel where people could make a clay pot. The theme was meant to say that as God made us he desires to use the gifts and strengths he has given us to make a difference and to make things new as we serve in ministry. The conference is for those in ministry who desire to see the gospel go forth into dark places. There is great emphasis on how the church needs to be leading the culture into fresh places of growth in order for God's Kingdom to advance.

Featured speakers included Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Francis Chan, Christine Cain, and Perry Noble. Since UC participants represented a variety of Kentucky Baptist churches, what they learned and experienced will bring a renewed enthusiasm and fresh ideas not only to the University of the Cumberlands campus but to the local church as well.

“I have taken BCM leaders to Catalyst since 2003, and each time I attend, I return refreshed and deepened in my spiritual walk and resolve to serve Christ by aiding students in their personal discipleship that will impact local churches and advance the Kingdom of God,” said Dean. “This year, I was able to connect with a ministry called the White Umbrella, and for Spring Renewal, we will have that theme and have a pastor and worship leader from that ministry share the gospel and encourage churches and Christian believers to take a stand to help end modern day slavery and human trafficking. This is a $32 billion a year blight on our world and the U.S. is as deeply engrossed in it as anyone. The church must make a stand and take action through the Holy Spirit power.”

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; twelve graduate degrees, including two doctorate, two specialist and eight master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.