Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD. The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel. PSA 128
In a Prison Chapel several years ago an inmate said to me, “the greatest downfall of this great nation is the absence of men in the homes”. Someone once said “if you want to reach the world you need to start in the homes.” The condition of the world is often the reflection of our homes.”
In our Anabaptist culture our fathers are rarely absent in body, but can certainly be absent emotionally and spiritually. Unfortunately, the result can be very similar. As Anabaptist men, we take the responsibility of providing for our family very seriously! We are willing to work long hard hours to cloth and feed our offspring, and rightfully so, but we should never forget that providing for the physical needs is only one portion of the purpose God has for us!
It seems to be easy for us to talk about our jobs, hobbies, recreation, plans for the year and even politics. But, sometimes it is hard for us to talk about what is happening in our hearts; our hopes, plans, fears, dreams etc. As a young man, father and husband I recognize my need for a community of men where we are transparent and authentic about our lives. A place where we realize our strengths, weaknesses and encourage each other in our visions and goals. It’s called the Body of Christ in action.
In January 2016 while Margaret was at the Inspire Women’s Conference I was quietly rocking our one year old to sleep. As these thoughts were going through my mind, I was reminded of a time in 2009 when I was invited to join a group of men attending a Men’s Conference in North Carolina. There was a lot of good speakers and breakout session topics and I don’t remember a lot of small details about it. However, one thing I do remember is that I came away from that conference with a few practical tools to apply to my everyday life. I came away with homework on how to serve my wife and children and furthermore, I came away with a renewed vision to embrace and enjoy Godly manhood!
Since that time in 2009, I have had the privilege of meeting lots of other men that are on the same journey. As I dreamed of a Men’s Conference for Goshen Indiana it didn’t take long to find a group of men with similar visions. What a joy to serve on a team with likeminded men! It is not our vision to establish a church, but to equip men with practical tools for victorious, authentic Christian living. For myself and most men I have encountered, we need lots of encouragement. One the most damaging lies we believe from the enemy is that we don’t have what it takes to be that kind of man. Therefore, we chose the name Men of Valor. Gideon thought it nearly impossible to be someone the Most High God would use for something significant, but in Judges 6:12 the angel of the Lord called him a “mighty man of valor”. Why? When we see a towering task before us and we measure that against our limitations and weaknesses, we always come up short! In that moment, like Gideon, we are perfect candidates for an amazing work of God! God always has and always will delight in showing himself strong on our behalf.
For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect (turned) toward Him. II Chronicles 16:9
By His Grace -Amos