With 30 Mighty Men of God, David built an army of thousands.
DEVILLE – With 30 Mighty Men of God, David built an army of thousands.
In today’s time, Gibbie McMillan, director of Men and Volunteer Ministries for the Louisiana Baptist Convention, wants to find more than just 30 mighty men of God. He wants to find thousands, and he believes Paul David Freed is the man who can help him find and prepare those men.
Freed is the founder and president of Mighty Men of God based in Orlando, Fla.
“I believe we are in a spiritual battle, and we need to raise a mighty army in order to combat and defeat the forces of Satan,” McMillan said. “We must also look to recruiting more of our younger men and boys to this army.
“If we don’t pass the baton to the next generation, we are going to be in trouble. You may not realize it, but we are just one generation away from becoming a heathen nation, and that’s upsetting” McMillan told a group of 150 boys, young men and older men at the Mighty Men of God Conference held last Friday and Saturday (April 25-26) at Philadelphia Baptist Church in Deville.
It was the second regional conference in a month’s time. The first took place at Jefferson Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, and drew over 200 participants. These two conferences, though, are just the beginning as five more regional conferences are scheduled for next year.
Leading off the schedule is a conference at Woodland Park in Hammond in February, 2009 followed by conferences at Temple Baptist in Ruston in March; a return visit to Philadelphia and a church still to be determined in Baton Rouge in April, and Dry Creek Camp. McMillan said these five conferences are just a prelude before taking the conference to Angola State Penitentiary in 2010.
“The purpose of today’s and future conferences is to call men back to be mighty men of God. Statistics show that if you can reach the man, 92 percent of the time you will reach the entire family for Jesus Christ. We’re trying to turn our culture back to the Lord and this is a way to do it.”
In opening the conference, Freed, who served as vice-president of Promise Keepers before starting his own ministry, told the gathering of 150, “I believe God has called us together at this moment in 2008 for a reason.”
He spoke of and demonstrated how David’s mighty men fought as a unit using spears and shields to protect the formation from the front, sides, above, and from behind. He told the group Roman armies used this tactic to conquer the earth, and is just as effective in our spiritual battles today, he said, where Christian men need each other’s support.
“You are much stronger if he has your back,” Freed said as he moved up and down the aisles pointing to this man or this boy to stress his point. He made a point to make each man feel like he was speaking directly to him. He also made sure to make direct eye contact and to hold it as he lectured. “God has not called us to be self-made men. He has called us to need each other and fight together.
“Make no mistake, we need to find as many mighty men as we can because we are in tremendous battle. We must train for war … here are some tools and strategies you should use,” Freed said.
Using two real-life generals – Prussian Gen. Carl von Clauswitz and three-star Gen. George S. Patton ¬– Freed listed the key elements of a successful army. He showed the crowd a sling, and a pouch filled with round stones.
He demonstrated how the shield, spear and sword were used and offered the gathering leadership principles and keys to a real friendship. All the time, he continually drew in the crowd with stories, parables, or pieces of historical fact.
“I was using a number of different teaching techniques – slides, scripture reading, stories, personal accounts, rare Bible-related artifacts, demonstrations – to reach the many levels that were represented here.
“I feel I was pretty successful in reaching those different levels, because when I first started speaking many would look down when I spoke to them,” Freed said. “But as the conference went on they started making eye contact with me and holding it. They sat up and their shoulders were no longer bent, ” Freed said.
“Even here, in this church, I felt a spiritual battle taking place. I believe we succeeded in reaching a lot of men here tonight (Friday),” Freed said.
The following day he reached out to even more of the men during a moving father/son commissioning ceremony. More than 50 boys from ages 12 to 18 were commissioned as mighty men of God.
He told the gathering that the local church is “the highest authority, and the highest authority in the local church is the pastor” Freed asked for all the senior pastors to step forward.
Eight were in attendance, and Freed asked if there were any, who would come and lay their hands on the pastor’s shoulders and pray to help strengthen them. In just a moment’s time, the pews were empty as everyone came forward.
Another emotional moment came as Freed had the senior men step forward to be honored. Six men – 62 years or older – came forward, and after a brief prayer Freed asked the gathering to come and thank them for their faithful service. There was no one left in the pews.
“This conference isn’t a one-time event, but the groundwork of what is to become an even bigger event,” McMillan said. “While I am pleased with the crowd today, and the one at Jefferson Baptist, I truthfully believe we could one day have a conference that is attended by thousands.
“And when that happens, people will realize this is truly God’s army of mighty men,” McMillan said.