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More than 1,000 men challenged to be ‘godly leaders’comment (0)

March 13, 2014

By Neisha Fuson

More than 1,000 men challenged to be ‘godly leaders’

After attending the 2012 Gridiron Men’s Conference in Tuscaloosa, Pastor Dwayne Norman and some of the men from Bush Memorial Baptist Church, Troy, knew they needed to have a similar conference closer to home.  

“We wanted to challenge the men in our community to ... be men of God and be what God calls us to be as husbands, fathers, businessmen, church members and godly leaders,” Norman said.  

And the result of that dream was the Man Up 2014 conference. 

Held at the Troy Recreation Center on Feb. 22, Norman said the venue was “completely maxed out” with more than 1,000 tickets sold for the event that featured Rick Burgess of “The Rick & Bubba Show.” 

“We thought of Rick because ... we knew his name would draw people and we knew he’d give more than just a testimony — he’s going to challenge men from the Word of God and that’s exactly what he did,” Norman said.

Mike Davis, a lay leader at Bush Memorial Baptist, coordinated and directed the details of the event, Norman noted. Andrew Knick, pastor of Southside Baptist Church, Troy, facilitated a men and boys’ expo before the conference. The expo was a way to draw more people to the evening event and included hunting and fishing vendors. Kelley Foods of Alabama and Chick-fil-A vendors also were at the expo, among others. Jerry Johnson, a Bush Memorial deacon, coordinated the music group for Man Up 2014, which was comprised of men from several churches in the community.

Along with at least 20 Bush Memorial volunteers helping the day of the conference, there also were at least 12 other Salem-Troy Baptist Association churches involved in organizing it, as well as financially supporting it through buying tickets and funding the rental of the facility. The association also served as a sponsor and assisted in the organization of it.  

Ken Baggett, director of missions for Salem-Troy Association, said local businesses sold tickets and some donated door prizes for the event.

Baggett related the name of the conference to the need in a man’s life. “At some time in all of our lives there’s going to be a situation ... we’re going to have to deal with and we’re going to be looked at to be the leaders in our families — so ‘man up’ and do what we’re supposed to do.” 

Several men came forward at the end of the night to give their lives to Christ or recommit to being a godly leader, Norman said, and Bush Memorial is contacting each man as follow-up. 

Prior to the event several men across Pike County volunteered to lead “The ManCode” Bible study, by Dennis Swanberg, for men who were interested in joining a small group study. Conference participants were given a card as they entered inviting them to attend a Bible study, and Norman said 25 men indicated they were interested. The first study was held in late February in five different residential and business locations, Norman said. 

“I think there is going to be more that comes from [Man Up],” Norman said. “We’re still hearing incredible testimonies in men’s lives. ... It was just a God thing to see men saved and lives changed.” 

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