Men can face unique challenges in their world which will test their being, their resolve, and for Christian men, at times even their faith.
Being willing to be shaped and molded as a man to be the best man of God, forged, if you will, is the background behind a gathering of men being hosted by SouthPoint Church, 2010 Stateline Road West in Southaven on April 12-13.
Craig Wendel is the lead pastor at SouthPoint Church who believes the FORGED Men’s Conference, to be held on a Friday night and during the day Saturday, will be a fun, but also meaningful event for those who take part.
“I really think that men need a place where they can be themselves and have the freedom to grow,” Wendel said. “The whole conference is based on Proverbs 27:17, ‘as iron sharpens iron so one man perfects and sharpens another.’ This idea is coming together, just men, set up and established for men, and will give guys a chance to be real and, hopefully, give them an environment where they can share some things, grow and learn through the process.”
Wendel admits that while the church has held women’s events in the past, this is the first time for men to gather together and connect in a conference setting.
“My wife has done a few women’s conferences but I ended up having several men over the years keep asking about having one,” Wendel said. “I really think this was a good year to do it so we’re rolling out the stops here and trying to get this thing going. I’m really looking forward to it.”
The conference will start Friday evening, April 12 at 6 p.m. with registration and a main session starting at 7 p.m. An after party later that evening will end the first day.
Participants will return the next morning at 8:30 a.m. for coffee and donuts, with a morning session to start at 9 a.m. A break out competition at 10:30 a.m. and a lunch break at 12 noon will be followed by the final main session at 1 p.m.
Wendel is among the conference’s speakers but he added that two other speakers, Ken Hubbard and Jake Sellers, will bring their own special, unique life and faith story.
“Jake Sellers is coming from California,” Wendel said. “He has a miraculous story of serving three consecutive life sentences and he has an amazing testimony of how God got him out of prison and set him free from all of the stuff. Since then, he’s started five churches, been ministering and doing great things.”
Wendel added, “Pastor Ken Hubbard has a similar story. He’s currently pastoring a church outside of Seattle, Washington.”
Hubbard is the lead pastor of Radius Church in Mt. Vernon, Washington. Sellers resides in San Jose, California and is co-founder of Jesus Unified, Inc., a missionary work to Mexico designed to help formerly imprisoned deportees integrate back into Mexican society. It also works with rescuing women and children who are victims of sex trafficking.
The FORGED idea is also being woven into a message series Wendel plans to use at SouthPoint, he said.
“It’s all about the molding of steel, the shaping of steel,” Wendel noted. “Our hardened, unright state is being heated up through trials. We go through some testing and through the power of Christ we are hammered out into a usable tool or a usable weapon for the situation.”
The April conference will involve more than just sitting, listening and then talking. Wendel expects men to be able to express themselves by doing things, as well.
“One of the things men like to do, ever since creation, is to do things with their hands,” Wendel said. “When we have a unique situation, which we’re trying to create in this event, where we can do something with our hands at the same time with another man alongside of us, other men alongside of us, it creates windows in the soul that get opened now and then, where there is freedom of conversation.”
It is expected the result of the FORGED Men’s Conference is that men become better husbands, fathers, leaders and better Christian men.
“That spirit of Christ and that outreach, that taking the presence of God out of this place will flow through him,” said Wendel. “He’s going to go to a place of work that I don’t go to. If they’re younger, they’re going to go to school, whatever. If they’ve been heated up and shaped properly, ‘as iron sharpens iron,’ then they’ll be better in that environment and raise the overall awareness of Christ in the county and in our city.”
For more information on the FORGED Men’s Conference at SouthPoint Church in Southaven, visit southpoint.tv/forged.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.