Twenty-seven people surrendered to Christ on Feb. 11 in the northeast Arkansas town of Walnut Ridge.
It happened in the fellowship hall of the First Baptist Church, where nearly 200 men gathered for what was billed as Hunt Harvest, a dinner that included southern fried catfish, side dishes, and desserts prepared by area churches in the Black River Baptist Association.
The event was designed to reach those who hunt, fish, and enjoy the outdoors. Dr. Charles Morgan, associational missionary, planned this opportunity for fellow enthusiasts in cooperation with area associated churches.
Its purpose was to reach those who may not have a church home to attend, and it gave an opportunity to fellowship with others of like interests.
“The main focus was to reach out to lost people. People who wouldn’t necessarily come to a church, but they would come to an event like this,” Morgan said. “It was for fellowship, but it wasn’t really aimed at fellowship. We were aiming for souls. We were wanting to get the lost people.”
The featured speaker was Sam Moore, full-time evangelist from Bentonville. He presented a message about deer hunting – using it as an illustration while presenting the biblical Gospel.
There were 189 at the event. Twenty-seven guests accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. Morgan said community events with this type of inclusion and nature help make northeast Arkansas a stronger and better place to live.
“If you’re willing to work together and reach out, we can see souls saved in today’s world,” Morgan said.
According to Morgan, events like this one allow men to get comfortable with church.
“A lot of men don’t feel comfortable, or don’t think they’re going to feel comfortable, coming into the church,” Morgan said. “This allows them to get comfortable and know, hey, I could sit next to this person. I have something in common with them.”
In southeast Arkansas, First Baptist Church in DeWitt on Feb. 6 held its Outdoorsman Supper and Cooking Contest. Pastor Jimmy Albrecht said this was the second year for the event. They had 250 men in attendance. About 15 of them submitted food in the cooking contest. Five trophies were awarded.
One trophy was for the most unique, which went to a crane dish.
The guest speaker was Bro. Rubin Weaver.
In a Facebook post about the event, Weaver said the building was packed, “with folks standing and some having to make seats out of ice chests.”
“The meal was amazing! So thankful for your effort to reach and pour into the many men who were there. Thankful for salvation and for the spirit of God meeting with us. Honored I got to be a part of it,” Weaver wrote in the post.
Albrecht said Weaver did a great job presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people. He said men from all over the area, including Monticello and Crossett, attended the event.
“When you get men together to hear the Gospel, man, that’s always, always encouraging,” Albrecht said.
According to Albrecht, they had at least one person saved that made it known, but he is sure there were other encouragements or acknowledgements made too.
“Our desire is to see men come to know Jesus,” Albrecht said. “When men say we’re going to follow Jesus in our family, the family does. That’s why we think it’s important to try to reach out to the men in our community.”
In Conway on Feb. 11, the Second Baptist Men’s Ministry hosted its Beast Feast, their annual sportsman banquet. It is held each winter and is open to men and boys of all ages.
The event featured live music, games, outdoor exhibits, food, and a special guest speaker. Retired NFL quarterback Jon Kitna was the 2023 speaker, and he delivered a powerful message about the importance of following God and making Jesus the center of your life. The event was held at the Conway Expo Center and fairgrounds. They had about 2,500 people attend this year, Chairman Daniel Hollinger said. Twelve to 14 people made a commitment for Christ.
“Our key verse is Proverbs 27:17, ‘As iron sharpens iron one man sharpens another.’ We have a great time putting on the event, but it’s about sharing that Gospel message. That’s why we do it,” Hollinger said.
On Feb. 24, more than 260 men from across central Arkansas gathered to hear from current Southern Baptist Convention President Dr. Bart Barber during the “What’s at Steak” men’s event. Hosted by Second Baptist Church in Jacksonville and the North Pulaski Baptist Association, the event included a time of worship, fellowship and a great meal with steaks from David’s Burgers Butcher Shop in North Little Rock.
“It was a phenomenal night,” said Dr. David O’Dell, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Jacksonville. “The worship, the fellowship, and men singing their hearts out to ‘Living Hope,’ there’s nothing like it.”
“On nights like this, I am reminded we are better together,” North Pulaski Baptist Association Missionary Greg Varndell said. “I really appreciate the partnerships we have with our pastors, churches, the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and our Southern Baptist Convention.”
More than 20 volunteers, mostly women from Second Baptist Church in Jacksonville and other area churches worked together to help make the event a success.
These are just a few of the several men’s ministry events happening across Arkansas.