Young men on April 16 from New Jersey colleges gathered at Montclair State University for a Christian men’s conference, whose organizers wanted to stress that a good legacy is more important than a good weekend and that Jesus is the ultimate man in whose steps to follow.
“There should have been more men there to hear what was said,” vouched Dashawn Simms, a student from New Jersey City University. “This conference brought me closer to Jesus, so I’m never afraid to talk about him with anyone.”
Planned and executed by Jersey Metro, the New Jersey college ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ–one of the largest inter-denominational Christian organizations in the world–LEAD2011 began at 11:00 AM with contemporary worship, during which most men stood with hands raised, eyes closed and “hearts open,” as they prayed to Jesus, their God and ultimate example of a man, according to the emcee.
The event’s program boasted four talks and sermons called “Christ on the Cross: The Ultimate Act of Responsibility,” “Church-Loving Men Are Better Church-Going Men,” “Relationships: The Lifeblood of Men,” and “Legacy: What Will You Leave Behind?” In between the talks, loads of pizza pies were served to keep the dudes attentive and full.
“I realized how much of the ultimate man Jesus is,” said Peter Olderon, a student from Montclair State University. “I know I will never be as ultimate as Jesus, but I would like to be the best man I can be.”
While the gathering altered most of its attendee’s opinions involving manhood, some already had keen perspectives.
“My views about being a man haven’t been changed much,” said Andrew Kisuule, a political science major from Warren County Community College. “I already had the same ideas.”
Organizers–all men on staff or volunteering with Campus Crusade for Christ–feel that because the culture’s view of manhood is skewed and confused, meetings promoting healthy, Biblical manhood are essential, so that Christian men begin to organically advocate for Christ’s manhood.
With 40% of children in the U.S. without a father, increased domestic abuse at the hands of men, worldwide sex-slavery and a “decide and conquer” mentality for sex, Jersey Metro has joined the droves of Christian organizations who are continuing to redefine, or rediscover, true Godly manhood, they feel. Seattle-based mega church Mars Hill Church has been at the front of this battle line, along with many others like Family Life or The Village Church.
And while Andrew has heard it all before, being reminded of the Bible’s view of manhood has still influenced him.
“I now know that I have to live my life to help others and leave a legacy of hope,” he said, adding, “The conference helped me realize that I need to do more to make an impact on this world. I’ve learned that living a safe boxed-in life […]will not help me build a legacy […] for God.”