“Hitting the Mark: Tactical Precision for Generational Impact” was the theme for this years Men’s Conference held at First Baptist Church Bettendorf over the weekend of February 9th-10th. Practicing biblical manhood is of vital importance if the local church seeks to have any lasting impact in the communities of Iowa. Men will face difficult issues no matter what season of life they may be in and must turn to Christ to determine what is the best course of action. Success in any area of life can be defined according to only cultural standards: “He who has the most toys wins;” “Greed is good;” and “If you ain’t first, you’re last,” are a few comical examples from pop-culture. But if the local church seeks to live beyond the next generation, it must be filled with godly, biblical, men.
This was the first occasion for the annual Men’s Conference of the BCI to be held at FBC Bettendorf. Working in concert with the Baptist Convention of Iowa and other churches in the state, we partnered with Cornerstone Community Church in Chariton and First Family Church in Ankeny. These regional events were scheduled for maximum exposure on three consecutive weekends. Each location kept the same overall theme but allowed each local church to give their own style and flavor to the conference they hosted. There were some weather-related challenges to the conference held at FBC Bettendorf, but some minor tweaks were implemented to still allow for the conference to continue as planned. The main session speakers were Paul Miller, lead pastor of Cornerstone Community Church and Todd Stiles, lead pastor of First Family Church. Both pastors taught via Facetime from their respective churches. Praise God for the advancement of technology!
Paul Miller spoke about how if the church, and especially men, are not careful we will be one generation from becoming ineffective and gone. Everyone will leave some type of mark; Paul challenged us to think about what type of mark we will make for Christ. Todd Stiles taught about the nature of idols from the book of Jeremiah. All Christians are susceptible to idols if we are not careful; Todd spoke to how idols are deceitful and methodical at destroying our love for God and how idols rob God temporarily but ruin people eternally.
In addition to the main sessions, there were also three breakout sessions focused on how men can “Hit the Mark” as a disciple of Jesus, as a father, and as a neighbor. Local pastors from the Quad Cities area led those discussions and encouraged all the men to pursue Christ in each area of their life. In each session the issue of teaching the next generation was brought up, either directly or indirectly. The conference was open to both men and their sons, 6th grade and up, and everyone benefited from discussing how to worship God more. As the months pass by, the pastors at FBC Bettendorf will seek to hold the attendees accountable to encourage them to remain faithful to what God has called them to do in their respective spheres of influence.
“The men immediately responded to how positive the whole conference was,” said Cory Gonyo, Senior Pastor of FBC Bettendorf and the breakout leader for “Hitting the Mark: As A Father.” “The response we received from almost everyone in attendance was that we need to do this again next year. All the sessions were valuable.” The impact from this conference will, Lord willing, be seen in the families of FBC Bettendorf and throughout the area of the Quad Cities. Work done in a biblical way; children being discipled by their parents; the gospel being proclaimed in the various neighborhoods surrounding FBC Bettendorf are what we are longing for. This is the desire of both the local church and the BCI, and we look forward for more opportunities in the future to partner together to see the gospel proclaimed and healthy churches being formed throughout the state.