History was made on Super Bowl Sunday, February 3, 2013, when a record 164.1 million fans tuned into CBS and watched the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31. But the Ravens weren’t the only champions that weekend. The day before, on Super Saturday, an estimated 23,000 men gathered together for FamilyLife’s one-day Stepping Up™ Video Event. These men were not yearning for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Instead, they want to be champions at home.
They met in churches, houses, offices, and on college campuses. They were at retreat centers, restaurants, prisons, and military bases. They met in all 50 states and around the world: in Budapest, Hungary … Mexico City ... the Cayman Islands.
Regardless of where the men gathered on February 2, or the size of their group, they all were taught how to step up courageously to be God’s man. They watched DVDs featuring ministry leaders like Dennis Rainey, Robert Lewis, Matt Chandler, Voddie Baucham, and others.
Rainey, the president of FamilyLife, decided to show up unannounced at the Super Saturday gathering at FamilyLife in Little Rock, Arkansas. He went because it was organized by a 16-year-old young man named Westley and two of his buddies. More than 50 men were in attendance there. “I wouldn’t have missed how three young men made an impact on their peers and men of all ages,” Rainey says.
Now stories are pouring into FamilyLife about how God worked through the Stepping Up event. Here are three:
Lake Ridge Baptist Church and Washington Area Coalition of Men’s Ministries (WACMM)
Pastor Frank Johnson of Lake Ridge Baptist Church (Lake Ridge, Virginia) teamed up with WACMM's conference director, Tony Dronkers, to host a Super Saturday Stepping Up event. WACMM is focused on helping not only pastors, but also the leaders of their men’s ministry. Dronkers says that Super Saturday was a great fit. Pastor Johnson wanted to jump start his ministry to his men, and WACMM was able to bring some other churches together to share the opportunity.
So on February 2, more than 60 men watched the Stepping Up videos at Lake Ridge Baptist Church. Twenty-three were from the host church; the rest were from the community and other small churches in the area. One man drove about 100 miles with his son to attend. “I loved the conference and the impact it had in reminding us who we are called to be as men of God,” he said.
For Lake Ridge Baptist Church, Super Saturday was a starting point for a men’s ministry. Pastor Johnson is now leading the Stepping Up follow-up series for the men in his church. Twelve men attended the first session. One of them, Scott, brought his three sons, and said, “I am using this as part of the answer to God’s call to raise my sons to be courageous young men.”
Crete Berean Church (Crete, Nebraska)
Pastor Kyle Bond had been praying that God would direct him to a simple curriculum that could be used as a catalyst to get men motivated to being the men that God has called them to be. He believes that Stepping Up was an answer to his prayer.
Eighteen men, ranging from 27 to 82 years of age, came to the Super Saturday event at Crete Berean Church. Pastor Bond said, “To a man, they have all said it was great and challenging.” One of the men had recently gotten back with his wife after being separated. God used the weekend to do something amazing in his life.
Most of the men had never been in any type of small group format before. “There was such a buzz about what they learned,” Pastor Bond said, “and a lot of excitement about doing the 10-week Stepping Up follow-up series.”
With only 43 adult men in the Crete Berean Church’s congregation, the 10-week Stepping Up follow-up series is now being offered as a Sunday school option for men. Thirty-five have signed on.
Men’s Meat Night Group (Bartow, Florida)
Three years ago Pastor Jim Hatch of First Presbyterian Church in Bartow, Florida, began an inter-denominational men’s fellowship in his community. The idea was to have a monthly gathering where each man would bring his own item for grilling and a side dish to share. Now, 30-40 men from different church traditions gather together in a home each month for what they call Men’s Meat Night.
When Pastor Hatch learned about the Super Saturday Stepping Up Event, he presented it to the group. “The men were excited to not only have the chance to grow personally through the event but they saw it as an outreach opportunity.” They hosted Super Saturday at the local community college and drew 63 men from eight different churches.
One of the men who participated has begun mentoring six young men from the Bartow community. Another told Pastor Hatch that he went home after the event and asked his wife to forgive him for not being the husband she needed and God intended. He explained to the pastor, “In 25 years of marriage I have never prayed with my wife. Sunday morning we prayed together.” The following Sunday, the man was baptized.
Rainey hopes that Super Saturday is the beginning of a movement of men who are committed to leading their families well. It has already spawned hundreds of men's groups that will go through Stepping Up’s 10-week series. He believes that men will change as they draw closer to God and are accountable to one another. As men step up to follow Christ’s blueprints for life, they will be true champions. Families will be strengthened. Homes will be transformed. The world will notice.
And legacies will be changed … forever.
Editor’s note: This report was compiled by Mary May Larmoyeux.
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