The first Mighty Men conference, sponsored by Brothers in Christ, was billed as "a revelation of purpose-power-victory!"
Not only did they fulfill their description, they provided an evening of fellowship, unity and spiritual re-awakening to the crowd of men spread throughout the auditorium at Swift Middle School May 5.
The Mighty Men moniker refers to a passage in Samuel II that tells of men who embraced and used the power of God, accessible to all Christians.
About 150 men of all ages came to hear a message of hope, strength and renewal.
The tone for the evening was set through worship music provided by Brett Rush and the Shiloh Praise Team. Rush, a recording artist and pastor of Shiloh Tabernacle in Quarryville, provided an emotional rendition of "Grace Like Rain" and "Cornerstone" to lead into the event's first speaker, Rob Sturgill.
Sturgill, a 1988 Solanco graduate, recounted his battles as a youth with drugs and alcohol and the corresponding lifestyle.
"I was a fool. I was living on shaky ground," said Sturgill. He then delivered a message of change and salvation through claiming the "power of the resurrection," and reminded those in attendance that Christian men cannot be tolerant of un-Godly behavior.
"Just because the world has become accustomed to (sex and inappropriate language in the media) and (non-traditional relationships), does not mean we can go against the word of God. You cannot twist the words of the Bible to interpret it for your convenience."
Ken Walton, also a 1988 Solanco graduate, followed with a poignant testimony of joy, tragedy and triumph. He related the experience of his son's birth followed by the illness of his wife and his father's diagnosis of cancer. His father, whom he described as "my best friend," succumbed to the illness within a year. His emotional account of the birth of his daughter, Rebecca, and her death 76 days later, led to his message.
"There is still an emptiness in my heart...I don't know that it will ever be gone," Walton said, "but I learned from her, and I still learn every day. God carried me. I learned to seek Him."
Walton finished with a challenge to the crowd to "Ask, and seek his will. Don't take him for granted."
Ben Foley, a Solanco alumnus and soon to be graduate of Lancaster Bible College, proclaimed the purpose of a man's life "is to be Christ-like in all we do." Relating his youth, Foley said he thought that to be a Christian, he would have to be meek and weak. "I wanted to be Strong, revered, powerful..." Citing several passages from the Bible, Foley showed to be Christ-like, all Christian men must be "Mighty Men, warriors waging war against Satan, battling sin..."
The final speaker was Pastor Jeff Roland of Shiloh Tabernacle in Statesville, N.C.
Roland tied each of the testimonies together by defining a "Mighty Man."
"It's easy to be Christ-like when things are good. It's easy to praise God from the mountaintop," he said. He went on to illustrate the challenge is to "Praise God in all things. Not just when things are good."
Roland concluded the evening with a call to salvation among non-believers, for rededication amongst believers and finally for a revival in the community to start "here and now," to which nearly every man in attendance responded.
Following the evening's services, most men remained for a time of reflection and fellowship.
Randy Zimmerman of Willow Street attended the inaugural event. "It was great to see the word of God presented this way. The unity, fellowship, the moving of the Holy Spirit...the Word and music together. It was uplifting."
Dan Unger of Quarryville agreed. "Everything was great, the music was especially awesome."
Steve Latham, also of Quarryville, added, "I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was great for the men of Solanco to get together to worship him."
Reflecting after their encore event, the speakers agreed that the night was an "absolute success."
Volunteers have already been coming forward to help in a second event to be held in 2007.
"There was such a diversity of the speakers yet the message was unified. Each delivered the message in a different way. Everyone was moved. I was moved," said Foley.
Sturgill said he was happy with the event. "I was totally pleased with God's faithfulness. It was great to see the vision come full circle. Words cannot express what we are feeling right now. But then, how could you ever describe God's grace?"