Men for these times

Men’s conference featuring well-known speakers coming to Standish


STANDISH — A sermon, past conferences and months of planning have grown together as one and will take shape on May 16 at the Men For These Times conference, a 750-seat faith-based non-denominational event at the Standish-Sterling Central High School that aims to encourage men to trust and lean on one another.

Brent Snelgrove, one of the conference’s directors, says the Men For These Times Conference will attempt to give direction on how men can create small, diverse groups within churches and deal with issues in their lives such as prodigal sons and daughters, sickness and disease, social ills, infidelity among spouses and job loss or economic woes.

“More and more we’re hearing that people are isolated,” Snelgrove said. “They have no where to turn. I know there’s a real hole.”

“People need to re-anchor their lives,” added Rev. Devin Chisholm, co-director of the event. “The idea for this (conference) has actually been in the back burner of my mind for about 15 years.”

Chisholm and Snelgrove attended a large conference, over one million men strong, called “Stand in the Gap” in Washington D.C. about ten years ago, but according to Snelgrove, that conference didn’t create the feeling of fellowship necessary to build trust and friendship that is needed for men to make a visible impact today.

“When we left that event, men spread out through the country,” Snelgrove said. “There really wasn’t any focus. There wasn’t really anything concrete. We didn’t really have any direction.

“We all left knowing that we needed to do something but didn’t know what to do. … It became too watered down.”

However, Snelgrove says he now attends a weekly men’s meeting held by Chisholm that is smaller and focused, and he says its results have been much more prominent.

“The commonality that we found is that we need each other,” Snelgrove said. “The other thing we began to understand is that we don’t have that outlet anywhere else.”

“We have seen the benefit of developing a friendship within our faith,” Chisholm said.

“If we needed it, it’s very certain that (other) communities need a similar type of format,” Snelgrove added. “It (conference) begins the direction necessary to start small group encounters. … They (men) need somebody they can call at three in the morning.”

James Caughel, another event coordinator, says that when men leave the conference and begin meeting in small groups in their own communities, Men For These Times will help them get off the ground, but will not dictate what they share or how they function in their community.

But not only the event ten years Snelgrove and Chisholm attended ten years ago pushed towards the establishment of the conference. According to Snelgrove and Caughel, a sermon preached by Chisholm last year became an arrow pointing to the need for the conference.

Chisholm says the message focused on disarray among the people of Israel over who should be the ruler of the nation, amongst other controversies.

“The whole Hebrew world was in chaos,” he said, adding socially, politically and religiously things were falling apart. “The men of the tribes of Israel rallied.”

And Men For These Times is aiming once again to rally the men of Arenac and Northern Bay, Iosco, Gladwin and Ogemaw counties. However, the directors knew they needed some attractions to draw 750 men from the area to the event.

Caughel says the two guest speakers, faith-based comedians Ken Davis and Jay Laffoon, often perform in front of crowds of thousands, and their reputations will mean a packed house.

“We just don’t get big name events in this area,” Caughel said. “Ken Davis was a wish list. … Then it happened.”

In fact, Caughel says the whole process of cementing the performers almost seems like it was meant to be.

First, the event was going to be scheduled for May 2, but that night was already booked for the Standish-Sterling Central High School prom lock-in, so the event was rescheduled for two weeks later. Then, Caughel says via e-mail, he contacted Jay Laffoon’s public relations representatives, who informed him Laffoon would be in Michigan around that time for a marriage encounter he and his wife, Laura Laffoon, were leading. Caughel says soon after Laffoon came aboard, he found out Davis was also attending the marriage event and would agree to be a part of the conference.

“We didn’t even know Ken Davis and Jay Laffoon knew each other,” Snelgrove said.

With the special guests, Snelgrove says the event will fill up quickly. The cost for the one-day conference is $30 until April 1, and then the cost increases to $40. Money for registration will be used to cover event costs and any extra will be donated to charity or for seed money for future conferences. To register, or for more information, call Snelgrove at 989-737-8356; Caughel at 989-415-5329; or Chisholm at 989-846-6277.


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