Feb 1, 2018 - The excitement was palpable as 49 delegates from 15 Asia Pacific countries flew in to attend Alpha's Annual Emerging Leaders Conference, Katalyst 2018 earlier this month.
Katalyst, Alpha's answer to a conference to build and inspire leaders to be influential change agents in fulfilling God's purpose in their lives; be it in their workplace, community, family unit or full time ministry has been running for four consecutive years and showing no signs of slowing down.
The name "Katalyst", is in fact a play on the word "Catalyst", but spelt instead with a "K" to differentiate from other Christian conferences that might bear the same name. The "K" also has roots in the English transliteration of the Greek word "καταλύτης" (katalýtis).
Promised an exciting programme line up for the next few days, the delegates first checked in to their room at CHANGI COVE where a surprise lay in store for them. A personalized gift box with a whole bunch of goodies was prepared for all the delegates and they even got themselves a personalized travel journal with their names on it, courtesy of the design team from Alpha Asia Pacific.
After the delegates registered, they were greeted by co-hosts Glenn Chan & Roseline Ching, followed by dinner. Glenn, who was last year's Katalyst panel speaker and former delegate jested saying, "I had such a great time at the last few Katalyst, I can't stop coming back for it. In fact, I begged Ros to let me come back this year!". Miles Toulmin, Executive Director of Alpha Asia Pacific charmed the room with his British swag and took the room through a tour of what Alpha stood for and its vision moving forward.
The delegates were also treated to a Katalyst specialty, the Encounter room - set up specifically for the purpose of allowing delegates to have an encounter with God through the different stations set up in the room. Delegates were able to also build relationships through acts of prayer for one another and also through the practise of washing each other's feet, just as Jesus did for his disciples, strengthening the bonds between them before retiring for the night.
A powerful worship session kicked off the conference, followed by sessions facilitated by an impressive line-up of speakers, the likes of Miles Toulmin, Melinda Dwight, Joel Burden, Evangeline Lee and Richard Magnus.
Miles who kicked off the first session with his talk, "Seeing Opportunities Amongst Giants", inspired the delegates to view things through the lens of faith, instead of magnifying obstacles and problems through the lens of fear. His analogy of seeing the amazing grapes, instead of the huge giants left the delegates in tears of laughter.
Melinda Dwight, who is the National Director of Alpha Australia and sits on the board of Hillsong came on next and challenged the delegates to be lion catchers through her message, "Are You Ready To Chase A lion On A Snowy Day?", inspired by Benaiah's story in the book of Samuel. That same passage was reinforced in the next speaker session where Pastor Joel Burden of Hope City Kuala Lumpur held firm on his belief that a leader should step forward and break through ceilings for other people to climb higher and grow.
Evangeline Lee, general counsel for one of the largest banks in the world by asset, based in Singapore shared on her experiences working in a tense environment in the corporate world yet still able to retain the right values, summed up her lesson in one sentence, "Keeping an unoffended heart is the key to miracles" and that brought everyone back in full view of how they could serve in the Kingdom of God, wherever their place of work could be.
Richard Magnus, a retired Adjunct Prof. Judge and former chief Justice of Singapore started off his session with a slight twist, passing on a blanket mantle to all the emerging leaders of Katalyst 2018 as a symbol of the Mantle of Christ, the mantle of authority that has been shared by God onto us that we may go forth and evangelise in the name of God.
Alpha Katalyst wasn't just all serious talks and no fun. The delegates got to spend some time with each other over a session of "treasure hunting". The Katalyst delegates were separated into 7 groups and after a short moment of intercession, were sent out to town to pray and document their experiences. Even though it rained, the weather did nothing to dampen the spirits of these emerging leaders as they make their way back and shared their stories.
Katalyst also incorporated a session involving panel speakers from all the Alpha Contexts like, Seah Liang Chiang (Alpha for Workplace), Charlotte Ng (Alpha for Youth & Campus) and Kim Chin (Alpha for Church), who got to share their experiences of running Alpha and took on a Q&A session from the delegates.
To sum up the experience of Alpha Katalyst 2018, one of the delegates from Philippines, Kevin Gever said this. "The learning and experience I had in Katalyst 2018 is but a personal one. Wherever you are, I believe that in the sufficiency of God's grace in Jesus Christ, He's calling us to lead a movement where we can witness His glory and miracle - just ask, take the lead and be a movement. I am a Katalyst for Jesus and I know you are too."
Are you ready to be a Katalyst too?