MBC men grow stronger at conference
By Allen Palmeri
October 4, 1005
JEFFERSON CITY– Missouri Baptist men met for two days of encouragement and challenging teaching Sept. 23-24 at the first annual Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Men’s Conference at Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City.
Danny Decker, men’s missions and ministry specialist for the MBC, coordinated the event and was pleased with the spirit of the meetings. About 60 men were spread out praying all over the sanctuary at the end of the conference, crying out to God to help them become less passive and more responsible in their marriages and churches.
“God moved mightily, and he’s still moving in men’s lives,” Decker whispered as he watched the men pray. “There are a lot of men shedding tears and blowing noses—a lot of hugs. I think God’s done a spiritual work in this group of men. I think we’re going to see it grow.”
Decker was one of four MBC specialists helping to lead the conference. Ron Barker, MBC personal evangelism / spiritual awakening specialist, was the keynote speaker, and Decker, MBC Associate Executive Director Roy Spannagel and MBC Family Ministry Specialist Joe Ulveling all taught breakout sessions.
“I believe it’s a great beginning for men’s work across the state of Missouri,” Spannagel said. “Our men have to rise up and be counted in their work across the state if we’re going to see our churches become strong in the work of God. I’m just excited about seeing what God has done. We’ve got people from all over the state of Missouri who have come to this men’s conference, and each one of them is going to take a little bit of this back with them. When it gets announced again, I believe they’ll be encouraging folks to come in larger numbers from all over this state.”
Barker began by teaching about the importance of a clean heart (Psalm 139:23-24). If we do not see sin as God sees sin, men have a tendency to hide and blame, Barker said. Acknowledging our sin and confessing it, which simply means to agree with what God has to say about our sin, has a way of putting men back into action, changing society as God intended it to be changed, he said.
“Here’s how you know you’re in revival,” Barker said. “The culture changes.”
On Saturday morning, he challenged men to step up to the next level of growth in the male journey. He said that all men are in one of five categories: boy; adolescent; man; mentor; or patriarch. He stood on a chair to illustrate the highest status.
“Patriarchs are calling men to eternal values, and they’re finishing strong,” he said. “Are you finishing strong?”
Decker said that while Barker has been called to preach a hard message at times, it is precisely what Missouri Baptist men need to hear. Spannagel agreed, explaining that Barker’s “warmth, love for God and tenderness” all work together to give men the feeling going out the door that they have been truly encouraged in the midst of their various struggles.
“I just appreciate Ron’s heart and the dimension that that brings to our convention staff,” Spannagel said.
An ongoing theme for MBC men’s ministry is “catch and release.” Those words were displayed on hats that were given to the participants, reminding them to hook men and hand them back to Jesus so that they can go on to do kingdom work.
“We need to catch men for Christ,” Decker said.