Conference worthy of superlatives

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 26, 2004

Awesome…Challenging…Fantastic…Successful…Wonderful…Memorable…and Blessing!

These were just a few of the superlatives used by a cross-section of men who attended the Feb. 20-21 Selma-Dallas County Men’s Conference on the campus of Concordia College, whose theme was &uot;Making Everyday New.&uot;

And not a single complaint had been received by any of the men contacted.

Email newsletter signup

They came from east and west and north and south to be at table with one another – from all over Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi,

and from as far away as New York state – to hear nationally known men’s conference speakers Dr. Tony Evans, a Dallas, Texas, megachurch minister;

Dr. Steve Farrar, who conducts men’s spiritual leadership conferences across the nation; and the Rev. Chette Williams, Auburn University football team chaplain.

As Todd Stewart, a member of First Presbyterian Church and the congregation’s liaison to the steering committee, put it, &uot;You would have to go a long way and spend a lot of money to hear such inspirational speakers, and we had them all together right here in Selma.&uot;

Stewart was very inspired by the bringing together of blacks and whites in a deeply spiritual way during the conference.

Dr. Kenny Hatcher, pastor of Northside Baptist Church who attended with a group of his men, said that the conference was a very challenging event and, he added, &uot;I’m expecting God to do something very special in Selma and Dallas County soon as a result of it.&uot;

Wayne May who chaired the steering committee called the event &uot;a fantastic week for families and men,&uot; referring to the fact that the first of several gatherings before the Friday night opening, was a service for families held at the Julius and Mary Jenkins Center on the campus of Concordia College.

That event attracted 1,500, according to May. The Chamber of Commerce leadership breakfast Friday morning at the Carl Morgan Convention Center drew 330, according to May, and may have been the largest turnout ever for a chamber breakfast.

And, too, the minister’s luncheon at the St. James Hotels was packed out, May said. He estimated that 125 pastors were in attendance.

The Friday evening and Saturday morning sessions had more than 2,000 in attendance. May said that the logistics went smoothly despite the large numbers.

Every hotel/motel in town was booked Friday night, he added.

Most important, May said, was the spirit – completely positive, nothing negative. The speakers were right on target in relation to the conference’s stated purpose, he said: to teach men how to be leaders in their family, church and community.

May was most impressed with number of what he termed &uot;personal decisions&uot; that were made – 200 by his count. Following altar calls, at least 200 men came forward in the two sessions to profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, to reaffirm their faith, to vow to repent and to amend some attitude or pattern of behavior.

Counselors were present on the floor for the men who chose to come forward to make their statements privately.

Dr. F.D. Reese, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church who together with First Baptist Church were lead sponsors, called the conference &uot;a very inspirational event.&uot;

The whole conference was successful and met the expectations of the steering committee, said Reese, who was on the


With the conference’s success, Reese said that no decision had been made whether they will do another conference next year. He added that the steering committee will meet soon to evaluate the conference.

May, whom Reese praised for his tremendous leadership of the steering committee, said that he was all for another conference, but chuckled as he said &uot;but the Lord would will have to raise up another leader.&uot;

Dr. McNair Ramsey Jr., vice president for development at Concordia College, said that Concordia was very blessed to have the conference.

He said the conference was an exceptional success, and while it took a lot of preparation, the college received more than it had given.

May said that a good follow-up for this event would be

a conference for husbands and wives to be held Oct. 2 in Montgomery in the Joe Reed Arena on the campus of Alabama State University.

For further information on this conference, call Covenant Family Ministries at (334) 272-4236 or go to the Web site