Thu, April 25, 2024

Faith Friday: Men of Augusta, it’s time!

Steve Swanson is the former station manager of 88.3 WAFJ radio station in North Augusta.

“I’ve always said that if you reach the fathers, the men of the homes, you’ll reach the whole family.” That’s how my conversation began with Pastor Brad Whitt of Abilene Baptist Church in Martinez. Pastor Brad was kind enough to offer me a few minutes to talk about the Men of Augusta conference coming up next weekend March 1st and 2nd.

Brad says Abilene has done a couple of men’s conferences, but years have come and gone since the last one took place. In praying about it last year, he really felt like he wanted the church to offer a men’s gathering to the community. With the help of his brother Craig and Evangelist Scott Dawson, phone calls and emails went out and contacts were made. Those efforts, connections, and relationships have brought about a strong and varied speaker lineup.

Speakers will include John Smoltz, a hall-of-fame pitcher from the Atlanta Braves, Quarterback Carson Beck from the University of Georgia Bulldogs, and the president of Hobby Lobby stores Steve Green.

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“We’ve got to do something to reach our men, equip our men.” – Pastor Brad

So, what are some of the needs that men face these days? Brad says, “Number one, encouragement to be the leaders that God has called and created us to be. Godly men, men of character, men who love their families, love the Lord, love the local church. And probably, just encouragement with all the things that get thrown at men today.” Brad continued, “A lot of guys are beat down. It’s hard leading, loving your families, and so I think, if we can give some guys there just some encouragement, some tools…and the other thing is relationships with other men.”

Brad has envisioned the ripple effects of this gathering to continue after the conference concludes at midday on Saturday. The church is planning to invite men to return several weeks after the conference for early breakfast get-togethers with the goal of reinforcing the themes and content of the conference, but also to continue to encourage building relationships with other men.

Some of the conference conversations will focus on Biblical manhood, a man’s personal relationship with Christ, leading your family, and a discussion about what leadership looks like. Organizers plan to build in some time in the schedule for those attending to interact with the speakers when they are not taking their turn on the platform.

Pastor Brad offered this insight, “Sometimes, we learn by what we’re taught, but as men a lot of times it’s just caught. That’s one of the things I hope for this conference, I hope you’ll learn some stuff but even more than that, that you’ll catch fire by being around some men who love the Lord and are trying to live out their Christian faith in their different arenas.”

The church is hoping 800-1,000 men (or more) will participate. This will be a great event for men and boys as well. Brad said, “Listen, I’ve got children down as young as ten. I’d bring my ten-year-old son in a minute. You know again I want to see Godly men worshipping, listening, and learning and being around these guys. I would not have a problem at all bringing one of my young boys, my son with me to this thing. “

As an aside, Pastor Brad chuckled when he told me that some women in the church heard who was going to be part of the conference and indicated that they wanted to come to this event. Conversely, Brad said he didn’t recall any guys trying to find a way into an earlier ladies’ conference.

Brad’s enthusiasm for the Men of Augusta was evident as we spoke. “I’m super excited about the weekend. I think it’s gonna be a win for our men. But I’m really excited about looking at those following weeks and see kind of who comes back and then how we can reinforce, reiterate, and revive those guys over the next several weeks.”

When I asked Brad for some final words about his hopes for the conference, he responded by saying, “Having these young guys seeing their dads and grandfathers there worshipping and taking seriously the things of God, I think that’s a big deal too.”

The Men of Augusta conference is just days away and tickets are selling briskly. Now is the time to invite a couple of friends or a carload of guys to join you at the event. The website to reserve your place or get additional information is Menofaugusta.org. The cost of $30 per person includes both the Friday evening and Saturday morning sessions. The conference will conclude at noon on Saturday.

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