Photo courtesy of Mike Smith
On Saturday, May 6, over 100 men and boys of all ages gathered for Man UP! 2023 at Spring Lake Camp and Retreat Center in Lonsdale. This was the third year for the event which is sponsored by the Missions Team of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.
The day began at 2 p.m. with a brief orientation meeting. From there, participants were free to enjoy several activities including fishing, golf, yard games, and much more. At 5 p.m. everyone met back at the cafeteria to eat dinner together. Gumbo was served as the main course with chicken strips and fries as an alternative. The event concluded with a worship service at 6 p.m. Elliot Andrews led the group in worship and Dr. Rex Horne provided a challenging message for all in attendance.
Man UP! began during the pandemic to offer a way for guys to get outside and get together for a time of fellowship and relationship building. There was a need then, just like there is now, for men to disciple, exhort and encourage one another.
One of the goals of Man UP! is to help men to see that we need each other. Men need other men. Boys need other boys and boys need men who will pour into them and help them grow to become godly men. Too many boys don’t have a male figure in their lives who can teach them, guide them, and encourage them. Boys need men who can help them up when they’ve made mistakes, brush them off and point them in the right direction.
Man UP! helps create an atmosphere where men begin to build relationships and have spiritual conversations. One participant shared that this was the first time the men of their church had done anything like this. Another pastor shared how he was able during the course of the day to have a deep conversation with one of the guys from his church that he had not been able to connect with previously.
In the future, there will be stations set up for men to share their passions like Dutch oven cooking, metal working, fishing, hunting, etc. Guys will visit the booths and talk to the men about what they do. There will be opportunities for hands-on experiences where guys can try their hand at some of the hobbies. Most importantly, men will get to share about their relationship with Jesus and how He has used their hobby or passion to help them reach other guys.
Man UP! is scheduled for the first Saturday in May. Mark your calendar now for May 4, 2024. For more information on Man UP! or on helping men and boys become disciple makers, contact Travis McCormick at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 501-376-4791.