|More than 1,300 men attended this national event in Phoenix, Ariz.|
HonorBound Mens Ministries started the new year with the conference, co-sponsored by Phoenix First Assembly of God (Tommy Barnett, pastor). Although weather conditions throughout the nation made travel difficult, men came for the January 28,29, 2000, event. This was the first in a series of Raise an Army conferences to be held throughout the year.
Todd Fry of Kansas City is one of nearly 400 who attended a pre-conference seminar on fathering. HonorBound offered Dads Coaching Clinic, a local church discipleship and evangelism tool which teaches dads to be better fathers. The seminar was free to men registered for the conference. The men received a complimentary copy of the student manual and participated in a videotaping of the seminar.
"The Dads Coaching Clinic is a tremendous tool for all fathers regardless of the age of their children," says Fry.
As men entered the sanctuary Friday evening for an hour of pre-service prayer, a sense of expectation was prevalent and continued throughout the conference. Men were soon singing with gusto, raising their hands to the Lord. The Holy Spirit moved through the anointed worship led by Ron Gollner.
"Our desire with this particular series of conferences," says Charles Brewster, director of HonorBound, "is to see God raise up an army of warriors for Christ. Were asking God to prepare men for intense times of prayer, evangelism, ministry and spiritual warfare as we go about taking our world for Christ." This years conferences are designed to draw men into a closer walk with God and then release them into their communities.
"Its not about staying under the spout where the glory runs out," Brewster says. "Its time to bring about an evangelistic crusade in our nation. What better way than men reaching men?"
With styles ranging from the impassioned exposition of Charles Crabtree, assistant general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, to the boisterous Christian flag-waving of Roosevelt Hunter, conference speakers directed the men to attend to personal holiness and integrity. "We have got to get a hold of God," said Crabtree. "We have got to step up to the plate and change this nation for His glory. Each of us must take responsibility. We are portable temples of the Holy Ghost. You cant separate who you are from what you do."
Moving about the sanctuary, Bob Gladstone, academic dean at the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry, challenged participants to revolt against the powers of sin and death in their hearts, in their homes, in their churches and in their nations. "Trust me," he said, "it will not happen in our nation if it does not start with men . It is not going to happen at the grassroots level unless it starts right here."
Pastor Tommy Barnett closed with a message exhorting and encouraging men to think in God-sized terms about the effect of their influence. As with every speakers call to prayer, men sought God at the altars.
As the tired but fulfilled men filtered out of the auditorium, their faces radiant from having been in Gods presence, the overwhelming response centered around getting home and taking their world for Christ.
"God is raising up His army," Brewster says. "We will do mighty things for Christ."
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