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Passion for discipleship fuels church’s men’s ministry

EDITORS’ NOTE: The following story is part of a Baptist Press series exploring how individuals, churches, associations and conventions exhibit a passion for Christ and His Kingdom.

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (BP)–Mark McCall has a passion for men’s ministry, which is why he appreciates that his pastor’s enthusiasm for soul-winning includes an emphasis on discipleship.

“The neat thing about my pastor is his heart is in evangelism — and discipleship,” said McCall, a homebuilder and a leader of the men’s ministry at Crosspointe Baptist Church in Millington, Tenn. “Everything [pastor Steve Flockhart] does is fueled by evangelism first, but on top of that is training, teaching and discipling. It’s great to come in and feed on his energy for both.

“In the church I was in before, it was all about evangelism. I have a heart for discipleship. I want to take the new Christian and train him up and set him on the right path.”

At Crosspointe Baptist, that training includes a weekly men’s discipleship program known as “Men’s Fraternity.”

Based on material by Little Rock, Ark., pastor Robert Lewis, the group features Wednesday morning sessions led by Flockhart. McCall leads the evening class. Together, they draw about 80 men.

Each January, the ministry sponsors a weekend men’s conference. Starting in 2001 with 120 men, this year it drew a crowd of 350, including a large contingent from a nearby African-American church.

In recent years the group has taken 35 to 45 men to Promise Keepers rallies in Atlanta and St. Louis. But this fall, McCall plans to schedule a local retreat that he hopes will attract 150 men.

Despite the church’s growth, the traditional monthly men’s prayer breakfast -– a staple in many Southern Baptist men’s groups — was canceled. The growth made it too difficult to find a time agreeable to everyone, McCall said.

But it isn’t programs that make the difference as much as a heart to lead men into a closer relationship with Christ, McCall said.

Minister of education Johnny Lane sees the development of the men’s ministry as one of the keys to the church’s astonishing growth.

“I’m a firm believer the more men you get involved, the stronger your church is going to be,” Lane said. “If you get men saved and involved in church, you’ll get the family. The quickest way to get the family involved is to get the husband.”

Flockhart has the kind of personality that makes it tough for anyone to say “no” to him, according to assistant men’s ministry leader Jason Dupree, who works for a brokerage firm.

For example, the men’s conference was able to book Russ Lee, former lead singer for “Newsong,” just because their pastor asked him to come, Dupree said.

In addition, Flockhart challenges men to try things no one else will attempt, Dupree said.

When they were looking for premium offers to persuade more men to attend the men’s conference, Dupree -– responding to a question from Flockhart -– suggested that they give away a pair of airline tickets. A regional airline granted the request.

“Steve says to dream big and then go after it,” Dupree said. “Our attendance was up because we had those tickets.”

Of course, the point is not to give away lavish door prizes but encourage men to get involved with other men, especially in small accountability groups, Dupree added.

“You can encourage him to read his Bible and do what he needs to do and a few weeks later his wife will come up and say, ‘What did you do to my husband? We’re dating now and our marriage has changed.’”

Crosspointe’s men’s ministry is part of a divine move that only God could have accomplished, Dupree said.

Not only has the ministry strengthened his faith, Dupree said it has given him a peace that God is able to do what He promises.

“We’re not having to hammer these guys now,” Dupree said. “They’re doing what they should be doing. You don’t have to keep saying they have to read their Bible every day and pray. They’re growing in Christ.

“Now [they have] a desire to be more like Christ. You’re seeing guys being Christians all week long instead of just on Sunday.”

Church member Jimmy Ray said the men’s ministry has brought men together the past four years in a way that he has never seen before in a church.

The ministry is especially helpful in explaining to men the role they need to take in the home, on the mission field, in the world and in the church, Ray said.

“In today’s society most men don’t know,” Ray said. “Men have to be spiritual leaders, not just in the home but in the church. We’re seeing a demographic shift now in the men stepping up and taking roles [at Crosspointe.]”

    About the Author

  • Ken Walker