Editor’s note: This article was written by Scott Barkley, national correspondent for the Baptist Press. Michael Catt was a speaker at the ABSC Prayer Workshop in 2012 and 2022.
ALBANY, Ga. (BP) — Michael Catt, longtime pastor of Sherwood Church who oversaw the development of Sherwood Pictures, has died after a battle with prostate cancer, the church stated on social media today.
“We are forever grateful for Pastor Catt’s dedication to preaching biblical truth and the unmistakable way he shaped us as a church body. Join us in prayer for the Catt family and all those who knew Michael as pastor and friend,” the statement read.
The former pastor’s family had recently shared that his health had taken a turn for the worse.
Catt served as senior pastor at Sherwood from 1989 through 2021, at which time he retired to Gatlinburg, Tenn. During that time the church grew into a multi-generational, multi-ethnic congregation including those from more than 20 nations.
Sherwood developed a large imprint in its city, building a 100-acre Legacy Sports Park, establishing numerous crisis pregnancy centers and repurposing an old Coca-Cola bottling plant into a hub for disaster relief operations and ministry to at-risk youth.
Ken Bevel, Connections and Local Missions pastor at Sherwood, led in establishing The Hope Center at the old bottling plant and still oversees those operations.
“Michael was a great pastor, great expositor of the Word,” Bevel told Baptist Press. “I’m thankful for the 13 years my family and I had under his leadership.”
Bevel is perhaps more recognizable to those outside of Albany for his roles in films like “Courageous” and “Fireproof,” which were part of the ministry also associated with Catt – Sherwood Pictures.
Just a few years after bringing brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick on staff at Sherwood as associate pastor of media and associate pastor of preaching and prayer, respectively, the church stepped into filmmaking.
Sherwood Pictures was born with the movie “Flywheel” in 2003. Catt served as executive producer as well as in future projects “Facing the Giants” (2006), “Fireproof” (2008) and “Courageous” (2011). He would also be executive producer for “Woodlawn,” a film by another set of brothers, Andrew and Jon Erwin.
Catt also shared his story of adoption, not finding out until he was 38 years old and in his second year at Sherwood. A series of chance encounters peeled back the layers of his story and even made him realize his birth mother watched Fireproof without realizing she had a granddaughter starring in it.
In addition to overseeing other media productions, Catt was a prolific author and well-known speaker at numerous conferences, including those at The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. He was president of the 2008 SBC Pastors’ Conference, a former International Mission Board trustee, president of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Preaching Conference and GBC vice president. Catt also represented Southern Baptists in a small group meeting with President George W. Bush in the Oval Office in 2002.
“So thankful for the life and ministry of Michael Catt, whose ministry reached throughout the Southern Baptist Convention and far beyond,” SBC President Bart Barber wrote on Twitter. “He faced his illness with a faith and confidence that made every word in Fireproof all the more real.”