by Jeremiah Kelly
Editor’s note: One of the biggest needs in our nation is to challenge men to step up to courageous manhood and meet their responsibilities as husbands and fathers. That’s the purpose of FamilyLife’s one-day Stepping Up™ Video Event, which has drawn more than 50,000 men so far this year. Jeremiah Kelly, a civilian attorney for the U.S. Army Medical Material Command at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, helped organize one of these events, and in this article talks about the impact in his church.
We were exhausted by cotton-candy Christianity. That’s why our Band of Brothers Men’s Ministry at Frederick Church of the Brethren decided to host the Stepping Up Video Event. Joe Fitzgibbon and I are lay leaders of the Band of Brothers, and we didn’t want our men to take the gospel for granted. We didn’t want to assume that they understood their duties as articulated in Holy Scripture.
So Joe and I organized the event, which was held on February 2, 2013. About 130 guys worshipped God together and watched the Stepping Up DVDs that featured ministry leaders like Dennis Rainey, Robert Lewis, Voddie Baucham, and others. The day was challenging, and many of the men are still talking about it. Most say something like, “That day completely changed my life and outlook on my roles as a man.”
Before the video sessions began, we handed out a “toolkit” for every man that included a book, workbook, and a sermon series. We also started each session with some teaching about manhood. Over lunch seven of the older men of the church answered random questions from the attendees. Everything was covered from questions about sex to salvation, from theology to culture. It was an open forum and our guys really seemed to appreciate it.
One of the discussion groups was made up of high school boys. Their dialogue about sexual purity was intense, even uncomfortable at times. I led that group and several of the boys opened up about the mixed messages they are receiving from our culture, about the lure of pornography, and about the sexual one-upmanship among their friends. I was so proud of these young men who accepted the challenge of purity and committed themselves to standing firm for Christ against the tide.
There were also several men at the event from a local rescue mission. They weren’t all Christians and most of them were alienated from their families. I had a chance to talk with a man in his mid-twenties who had a crack addiction. He also had a daughter whom he had not seen in a while.
I was blown away when this young father said that our manhood conference had reminded him of the awesome responsibility and privilege he has as a man to love his children. He said it motivated him to get off drugs and clean up his life, by the grace of God. And because we took so much time to speak directly and explicitly about the gospel, he left knowing that he needs Christ to do it.
After the event
We have spent countless hours following up with the men who attended our Stepping Up event. It’s been very encouraging. Several of them have given their lives to Jesus Christ.
Hosting the Stepping Up event was a great way to draw a line in the sand for the men in our church. Instead of cotton-candy Christianity, our Band of Brothers is committed to standing for Jesus. Despite our failures, we are disciples following hard after Him as husbands, as fathers, and as leaders in Christ's church.
Click here for more information about hosting a Stepping Up event.