WARNER ROBINS -- Its 6 a.m. Friday morning, and about 60 men have just finished their choice of fruit and juice or doughnuts and coffee -- or both.
They stand and read together out loud a scripture verse projected on a screen before them:
If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 New King James Version)
The group, led this particular Friday by Tim Price, is called the Ironmens Community Prayer Breakfast. Price called it a nondenominational gathering of men and boys from about 30 churches of varying denominations.
He said the group has met each Friday for four years from 6-6:50 a.m. at the Wellston Center on Maple Street off Watson Boulevard. Each Friday, that is, except the Fridays during Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks.
The goal is to reach men with the Gospel and disciple men with the Gospel, Price said. Were working to give men the encouragement and resources to live out this life called Christianity. We share life in Gods context. We do it as a large group and we also do it in small groups, the tables the men sit at. We take a few minutes after the speaker to talk, reach out and pray together at the tables. Up front theres the overall message. At the tables theres one on one.
Price said activity at the breakfast and at tables regularly includes praying for local police and firefighters, elected officials and military members. Price said though 60, 70 or 80 men might be at a Friday breakfast there are about 200 who take part when they can. He said many travel and do shift work that keeps them from coming at times.
Price said speakers at the breakfast are from all walks of life, just like those who gather to hear them.
We have speakers come share and give their testimony, Price said. People who just say heres my life and what God is doing despite my imperfections. We have average guys from all kinds of professions speak, from coaches to government officials. In fact, Mayor Chuck Shaheen was our first speaker and spoke just before he was inaugurated. He gave his personal testimony and quoted the scripture, I am not ashamed of the gospel.
Price said the breakfasts beginnings were at First Baptist Church of Centerville. But Price and another leader of the breakfast, Russ Pierce, felt it should be a community affair not tied to any particular church.
We wanted to get outside the confines of one denomination and reach men, Pierce said. We didnt want pastors to feel they were sending men out to be drawn by other churches.
Though Price serves as director of the group, that is changing. Both he and Pierce work jobs, but Price is also taking on the role of pastor at Pinehurst Baptist Church. He will continue involvement with the breakfast but hand over the directorship to Pierce.
Because the two have shared responsibility in the past and because various breakfast duties and responsibilities have been taken on by others, they say the transition wont be that big of a deal. They say the breakfast will continue and expand in efforts to disciple men.
Its a tremendous blessing to see the personal growth of men at the breakfast, Pierce said. Its satisfying knowing they can walk out of here with the confidence theyre not alone in their walk with God. They have brothers standing with them.
Contact Michael W. Pannell at email@example.com.