Report on the 2014 Men’s Advance

Posted by on Mar 28, 2014 in Men's Advance

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
-Joshua 1:9

On February 28th, a little over 100 men and boys gathered to be reminded of God’s call to manly courage. Not for proud boasting did they come; rather, they came to be reminded of the roots of Christian courage: humility and faith. We are thankful for the time of exhortation and examination and pray that God would bring fruit from this year’s event.

Photo by Joshua Brabo

Our Theme:

Our theme was “Manly Courage,” and Pastors Marcus Serven and Scott Brown brought six messages on this topic. We specifically focused on the courage Christian men need to lead their families and how this courage differs from false or deficient ideas of courage. As the evil around us distresses us, we need the bedrock of God’s faithfulness to stand upon. False pretensions must fall and sturdy foundations must be built.

Conference Talks:

Pastor Serven started us on Friday evening with “The Courage to Believe in God’s Covenant” (click on the title to listen or download). Drawing from passages like Deuteronomy 7:6-11, it was proclaimed that God’s sovereignty in choosing us and establishing His gracious covenant with us forms the basis for our courage. This gracious relationship brings with it responsibilities which we seek to keep, as a son seeks to obey his father. Blessing comes through the keeping of this covenant. Because of steadfastness of our God’s promises, we have the courage to walk in this covenant way. On Saturday Pastor Serven also spoke on “The Courage to Loyally Serve Christ’s Church” and concluded the event with “The Courage to Trust God for Your Future”: “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Heb. 12:28)!

Scott Brown brought challenging and needful talks examining false forms of courage. On Friday, he opened with a call to “The Courage to Order Your Personal Life.” Our sin can be one of the most fearful things to admit and confront, but it is necessary for the Christian life. Only through genuine repentance and faith in Christ can we begin to have courage. On Saturday, Scott Brown gave an encouraging talk, “Profiles of the Courage of Joshua,” exhorting us to start being courageous with our current situation, even if it seems mundane. He also challenged us: “Don’t Confuse Courage with Pride.” True courage must be distinguished from impostors; we must seek out our pride in its various forms and destroy it.

Discussion Groups:

Once again, the discussion groups were a valuable part of the conference, stimulating good heart-searching and thought-provoking discussion. These conversations helped the messages sink in a bit deeper and little closer to home. In addition to our speakers, we had a great group of men, and even boys, who were able to share from their own experiences and struggles how the principles discussed impact our lives.

The Women’s Gathering:

The wives and sisters and daughters of our conference attendees were not forgotten during the event. About 50 women and girls enjoyed a time with Mrs. Tonya Chapa on Saturday afternoon at the Serven’s home. Mrs. Chapa discussed the discipleship of children and encouraged the ladies to be faithful in the seasons of life where God places them. The women and children also joined us for the final dinner on Saturday night.

Food & Song:

Far from being an dry, academic format, we enjoyed hearty times of fellowship around well-cooked and plentiful meals prepared by our own volunteer cooking staff (headed this year by Sarah Serven). These times helped develop new and old friendships in the all too short time we had together. Also, before each session we sang along with Charlie Zahm as he led us in hymns of the faith with his strong baritone voice. He also performed a song on his own before each session. As expected, he beautifully added his skill and art to the crafting of our theme.

Thank You to Many:

We are thankful for the team that put this conference on for us all. There were many aspects, some more notable than others, that came together for this to work. We were glad to have four book tables well stocked with good resources for our men, as well as CDs available from Charlie Zahm. Last year’s pastoral interns, the “externs” Joel Stanton and Cody Winton, were back to help us with games, the book tables, set up, and more. Members from our church did many of the needed jobs, members such as Jeff Hamann (Registrar), Marc Houghton (Treasurer), Mike Wolf (Set-up), Elijah Brown (Emcee), etc… As said above, the kitchen staff was an integral part in the event. Profuse thanks goes to the Serven family for immersing themselves in conference preparations for the month or two prior to the event. We are glad for the help of those attendees who stayed to help us take things down at the end of the conference. There were many who helped, some in little known ways, and made the Men’s Advance a success.

-Peter Bringe, Pastoral Intern