December 18, 2014

Large Christian conference draws closer

Still plenty of openings

By Tim Barnum|Staff writer
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STANDISH — The “Men for These Times” conference, a 750-man event encouraging men of faith to form small support groups to help one another deal with today’s issues, which will be held at the Standish-Sterling Central High School, is only about one month away.

“Registration’s now coming in pretty quickly,” said event coordinator Brent Snelgrove. “We’re about a third full. … There’s still a lot of openings.

“Most of the registration’s been local. … We’re starting to get calls in from a variety of areas.”

According to Snelgrove, interested church groups from Bay City, Gladwin and Oscoda, to name a few, are starting to inquire about the event that will take place May16.

“They’re excited about the speakers,” Snelgrove said. “People are really excited about (Christian comedian/speakers) Ken Davis and Jay Luffoon.”

But he also added the day isn’t only about seeing popular faith-based performers.

“The heartbeat of the conference is not so much having speakers,” Snelgrove said, adding instead, the purpose is to get the attendees to form small groups of men at their local churches to help one another out with issues they are facing. “There are times when a village or a town needs to come together.”

He says there were some instances in his past, and recently, where he recognized the need for a small support group similar to one he meets with at Standish Community United Methodist Church – a group he says has helped him in his personal life.

Snelgrove says recently one man he knows has been struggling mightily with the economic downturn, having to work in Ohio during the week, travel home to be with his family and go to church during the weekend, before head south again.

“And he has three kids,” Snelgrove said. “He knows his family needs him.

“This is the type of man we need to have in our prayers.”

In the past, before the small group in Standish began meeting regularly, Snelgrove says an occasion when he witnessed someone’s distress was even more tragic.

He says while working as a car salesman, a customer was sharing some issues with him. Snelgrove said the man had struggled with alcohol, employment and a divorce and he tried to encourage the man, but really had nowhere to direct the man for intimate, open support from other men.

A couple years after buying a car from him, Snelgrove says the man’s new significant other came to him about putting the vehicle’s title in her name – the man had committed suicide.

“That has never left me. … I know if we had on of these small groups (at that time) we could have flushed that out,” Snelgrove said. “That’s the type of setting that is really in my heart. We need to be here for these guys.”

While the conference is non-denominational, Snelgrove some church leaders have shown resistance due to the inclusion of other Christian denominations. Locally, however, he says support for the program has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We’ve got really good support from the ladies in our church in volunteering to put together the lunches,” he said, “We’ve had excellent support from the school in accommodating this conference.

“It’s really heartwarming to see those types of things taking place in our community.”

And while the itinerary for the days’ events hasn’t changed, Snelgrove said one change has taken place that will probably be welcome with open arms.

“We kept the price at 30 (dollars) instead of raising it to 40,” he said. He added that originally the price was going to be raised after a certain time in an effort to encourage early registration.

For more information on the “Men for These Times” conference, call 989-737-8356 or 989-415-5329; or send an e-mail to men4thesetimes@gmail.com.

Click here for the first story on the Men for These Times conference

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