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Mission of the mind - Catalyst Live 2018

The latest Catalyst Live, the TED-style event organised by BMS World Mission, featured a typically diverse range of speakers to help Christians engage with challenging ideas. Here's a snapshot of audience reaction 


Catalyst Live Paula Gooder


'Many inspiring and challenging speakers' - John Levick 


'Catalyst Live provided a very full programme with around 15 speakers but was lightened by Harry and Chris which provided more light hearted interludes with their comedic rap jazzing.
'On more serious notes we were challenged by Rosie Harper on euthanasia who had seen a relative who had ended his own life. We were asked whether we saw God as a caring God who allows us to end our suffering, or one who demands a person continues to suffer extreme pain until eventual death.

'Paula Gooder (pictured above) challenged us in a completely different way on how we use our imagination to interpret scripture. The Nativity was used as an example where we use our imaginations to fill out the story where the Bible is silent. Paula asked us to consider Phoebe, mentioned at the beginning of Romans 16, where we have some information but where there is scope to fill out her character, such as her name indicating her background was as a slave but she was now a wealthy leader and sponsor of Paul’s work.

Catalyst Live Ron Choong'Again showing the diversity in the programme we heard from Ron Choong (pictured) who brought together his Christian faith with his legal and scientific background particularly in the area of palaeontology.'
'As to be expected at a BMS day we heard about both how Christianity is growing around the world, but also the challenges it faces. Rula Mansour provided us with an insight into the work she is doing to bring theology into the cultural reconciliation process in the Middle East. Baroness Elizabeth Berridge also shared with us based on her links with the Middle East.

'We were reminded of our history with David Bebbington telling us about William Carey, who he came to faith, his call to India and the challenges he faced as he founded the first modern day missionary movement.

'We were reminded in a session from Adrian Snell that some people struggle with words and we need to be aware of other forms of communication to ensure inclusiveness. Towards the end of the day we learned of the contribution of Dorothy L Sayers and the impact her faith had on the nation, particularly around WW2.
'Overall a well worthwhile day with many inspiring and challenging speakers.'

John Levick is treasurer of our Baptist Union 

Catalyst Live Rosie Harper

Rosie Harper 

'Challenged me over the whole question of peace in her part of the world' - Carol Murray 

'Catalyst Live was its usual thought provoking, infuriating, stimulating and fun self, ably handled by Mark Woods, who gave us a superb session on John 8 vs 1-11 in his own right. He opened up the story and gave us new perspectives.

'Rosie Harper eloquently gave us much to think about and be challenged over on ideas surrounding assisted dying, more powerfully so having come  from a personal perspective.

'Adrian Snell helped us to ably think about those with special needs and our response with different formats through music and art.

Catalyst Live Rula'Listening to Rula Mansour (pictured) challenged me over the whole question of peace in her part of the world and I found it so insightful.

'Paula Gooder also gave us further insights into Paul, which is her  speciality, through Phoebe, reminding many of us of our reading of Teissen's The Shadow of the Galilean. Her scholarship is worn lightly but is profound.

'Finally for me David Bebbington with his historical perspectives on  William Carey were good to hear again, except I wanted to take him to task on his portrayal of Mary, no mention of Hannah Marshman and his neglect of others influences of Carey.

'All of this was carefully interspersed by Harry and Chris, who, while lightening the proceeding, were thought-provoking in themselves. In all a very good day.'


Carol Murray is moderator of the Central Baptist Association, a former tutor at Regent's Park College and former minister of Haddenham cum Dinton Baptist Church 


Catalyst Live Mark Woods

Mark Woods

'No prescriptive recipe, but each of the elements complemented each other' - David Howe


'A huge selection and well presented.'
'Each element offered an accessible insight and entry into some well-founded and substantial mind mission material. It was amazing that there should be no prescriptive recipe, but that each of the elements complemented each other. As I tasted later elements I felt myself wanting to go back and enjoy some more of the earlier elements again.

'Sometimes I wondered if I had maybe selected too big a piece – it was challenging – but then realised how important it was to be challenged and to be open to trying some elements that I would maybe not normally have chosen.

'Thank you to everyone that made it all happen – a great job.' 

David Howe is minister of Heanor Baptist Church


For more on Catalyst Live, including videos of the talks, visit bmscatalystlive.com




Baptist Times, 14/11/2018
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