Although many debate the origin of the saying “It takes a village to raise a child,” most agree its wisdom stands without debate. I’ve decided to take a little liberty and modify that saying to the focus of this month’s article. My phrase is “It takes a village to raise a child and it takes men to build a village.”
Each year on the third Sunday of June we celebrate Father’s Day. This year as we celebrate all the fathers at “The Ship”, we also celebrate all the men who are working in ministry to help “build the village.” We celebrate all but can only highlight a few in this article.
We celebrate Brother Raymond Brewster and the men comprising the Royal Ambassadors leadership team. Brother Brewster shared with me that, “The journey to become a strong Christian man starts by walking through the doors of boyhood. Without good fundamentals and mentors in place that journey will be much longer than required. The Royal Ambassadors program assists young boys with their voyage to manhood. The goal of the FBBC Royal Ambassadors is to teach our boys what it means to be men; spiritually, culturally, and physically.” The Royal Ambassadors (RAs) meet bi-monthly to practice those three tenets.
Building on the adult level we have the “Men’s Ministry”. The goal of the ministry is to develop men who walk, work, and live in the image of God. The IAmMan Conference scheduled for June 15-16 is one of various resources made available for development of the total man. The conference will include two sessions, “Know Your Rights” and “Planning Now for Later.”
Finally, the conference will conclude with Pastor Donald Reid speaking on “Being A Total Man for God.” Pastor Reid’s focus will be on balanc-ing work, family and church.
Then at the core of “The Ship” we have The Deacon Ministry. Led by Deacon James Williams, the ministry consists of 22 Deacons and four (4) Elders. The primary focus of the ministry is to assist the pastor in extending pastoral care to the congregation, as well as provide servant/leadership in the church. These men lead the church in the support and care of the pastor, visit sick members and participate in various ministries while help-ing to carry out the vision of the pastor.
Just a quick observation reveals the FBBC men are woven into almost every ministry and/or activity of the church. We find men actively engaged from the Pulpit, Music Ministry, Food Bank, Christian Enrichment (adult & youth) to the Usher Ministry.
The reach of the FBBC man extends far beyond the campus of “The Ship.” We have for example:
Elder Isaiah Whittaker, Sr. who for the past fourteen years has published a daily blog titled, “Sharing the Word.” Sharing the Word is composed of a daily prayer; personal and special prayer requests; scriptures, and words of wisdom for life’s issues in just about any situation in the workplace, home, and wherever your setting may be. The Elder stat-ed he has approximately 90 followers on his mailing list and plans to continue publishing his blog until …Deacon Leslie Lake who has been ac-tively engaged in prison ministry since 1993. His only break occurred during the time he served a tour of duty in Italy. He has been volunteering for Fellowship’s Prison Ministry since May 2005. Over a year ago several FBBC brothers (Deacons Dwyane Strong, James Williams, and Steven Dent) joined him making weekly visits. For the past four years Deacon Lake has also been a volunteer for Kairos Prison Ministry International at Dooly State Prison (DSP) in Unadilla, GA. This prison ministry is much more comprehensive in that the ministry addresses the spiritual needs of incarcerated men, women, youth, and their families (his focus is the men). This year he was privileged to lead a group of 22 men from various churches who participated in a three and half day stay (March 30 – April 2) at the prison. Rev. Robin Melvin and William Burnette Jr. also participated in the weekend stay. The program graduated 36 inmates with the tools to take Jesus Christ to their prison populations. On every 4th weekend of the month, the team follows up and oversees more than 200 Kairos inmates at DSP. The inmates are given the tools to conduct their own services with band, choir, prayer, and bible study. When asked why do you do this, his response is: I do the prison ministry because this is a call on my life. Just after Jesus saved me, I had an intense dream; “I drank the water, was thrown in the water, and was put in prison because of the water.” The water represents the Word of God and the Lord has always opened the doors to the prisons to get me in them to share his Word.
Then we have Brother Otus Miliner, who has been volunteering time with Youth in our community for many years. It all began with the Warner Robins Recreation Center, Youth Basketball Program. Brother Miliner’s own children were the driving force behind his decision to coach youth basketball. He coached each of them until they reached middle school (7th grade). Volunteering at the Warner Robins Recreation Center led to volunteering time with a traveling Youth Basketball (AAU) Program. He continued to coach the youth in this program until his children and their friends graduated from high school and moved on to college. After retirement, God provided an opportunity for him to fulfill a life-long dream – to have a tutorial, mentoring, study skills and athletic program for our youth. He was asked and eagerly accepted an invitation to join the FBBC Athletic Ministry. “We had a gym” he says. “The Student Enrichment Program (StEP ) grew out of our ministry and we have been working with our Youth the past five years.” Coach Miliner proudly states, “I know in the many years, I’ve been coaching, it’s been a blessing to see all of those young adults go on to college, then careers and become productive citizens.”
The list of FBBC men impacting our community for Christ through ministry both on and off our campus seems endless. The Kingdom Men Christian Enrichment class donates their time and resources to a boys group at the Genesis House in Perry, GA. Rev. Henry Covington reaches seniors through the Southern Heritage Ministry. Reverend Willie Raines delivers the gospel to youth through his powerful, motivational, and inspiring ministry.
“It takes a village to raise a child and it takes men to build a village.”