Local churches reach men with the gospel through Man Church
August 14th, 2017 / By: Jerry Pierce / comments
LONGVIEW Just a couple of years ago, Brian Sizemore wouldn’t have dreamed of leading a Sunday school class, much less a roomful of young married couples trying to build their homes around their faith in Jesus Christ.
Neither would Wes Moyers have thought he’d be leading a Sunday night home fellowship group, helping fellow church members chew on the message their pastor preached that morning through discussion and Bible study.
Both men credit Holy Spirit-inspired moments of clarity from God’s Word delivered at something called ManChurchETX (ETX stands for East Texas) for spurring them to take unprecedented steps to follow Jesus.
They are far from alone in profiting spiritually from the bimonthly worship gatherings held at rotating church venues in the Longview area.
Since ManChurchETX was launched more than two years ago at Joy Baptist Church in Gladewater, more than 100 men in a handful of nearby towns have received Christ as Savior; many more have committed themselves to biblical discipleship and greater ministry involvement in their local churches.
Sizemore and Moyers were both saved prior to participating in ManChurchETX, but neither man was emulating Jesus all that closely at work and, more importantly, in their homes.
Sizemore, a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church in White Oak for eight years, says he is much more involved in his church than before, and he has a new understanding what it means to be a real man.
“I was raised in a tough, stern kind of way,” Sizemore told the TEXAN. “Those are good qualities to an extent, but I realized that being a godly man for me meant I needed to be more loving and caring to those around me, to my wife and kids especially. I needed to lead in being a biblical man. It’s been an eye-opening experience.”
I realized that being a godly man for me meant I needed to be more loving and caring to those around me, to my wife and kids especially. I needed to lead in being a biblical man. It’s been an eye-opening experience.”
A few months after coming to some of these realizations, Sizemore said he felt a strong leading to begin teaching a young marrieds Bible study at his church. He also realized following Jesus and leading by example meant he had to provide servant leadership in his home and be the catalyst for prayer and spiritual conversation in his family.
Wes Moyers of Joy Baptist Church in Gladewater said he was moved by a message from Shane Pruitt, SBTC missions director, who during a ManChurchETX gathering in 2016 encouraged the men to continue building on what God had started, reminding them that a movement of God cannot be stopped.
“It really resonated with our men’s group,” Moyers recalled. Soon, Moyers was seeking God’s direction on how he could grow in his faith and serve fellow church members. He ended up volunteering to lead a home group fellowship. He said his wife, Katherine, is reaping the benefits of deeper relationships at church by hosting the group in their home.
“She’s growing right along with me,” Moyers said.
Additionally, Moyers saw one of his younger brothers receive Christ at the first ManChurchETX meeting more than two years ago.
Teddy Sorrells, the pastor who had the vision for ManChurchETX and whose church, Joy Baptist, hosted the first meeting, says he was motivated largely by his friendship with the man who led him to Christ years earlier, the late Chris Rodgers.
Rodgers, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer in the months before ManChurchETX was birthed, was a consistent witness for Christ who wanted his legacy to be leading men to the Savior.
With only a few months to live, Rodgers spoke at the first ManChurch meeting, sharing with the men his journey through addictions and false concepts of manhood before his conversion and call to become a pastor.
“Teddy,” Rodgers told Sorrells, “I just want to show men what it means to finish strong.”
Sorrells, likewise, says ManChurchETX in many ways reflects what Rodgers wanted to do.
During a typical ManChurch, the men eat “man food,” followed by a worship band leading in music that appeals to men, and then a straightforward Bible-focused message that challenges the Christian men there and extends the offer of the gospel to the unconverted.
The first meeting more than two years ago drew 80 men. These days, between 200 and 250 men will show up.
“At every event,” Sorrells said, “men are being saved, men are repenting of sin, and chains are being broken.”
Chad Richardson, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist in White Oak, said he has seen the fruit of ManChurchETX in his own church.
“The great thing about ManChurch,” Richardson said, “is they are able to speak to a man the way men need to be spoken to on a range of issues: sexual purity, a man’s marriage, fatherhood, just general living for Jesus kinds of messages.
“The overall central theme is that Jesus is the answer to whatever problem you face, and guys are responding to that awesome call of Christ in their lives.”
ManChurch is not unique to the Longview area. Different variations of the concept are held in churches elsewhere, a few using the ManChurch moniker.
But Sorrells is hoping more churches around Texas will capture the vision of bringing the message of the cross to guys in a man-friendly environment.
Two decades ago, the Promise Keepers movement was successful in engaging men in large stadium events, but no large-scale revival or awakening occurred. Sorrells is praying that God might spark true revival and awakening in a movement of godly men, but this time driven by local churches rather than large parachurch groups.
“Promise Keepers tried, but it was top down,” Sorrells said. “This is a bottom-up effort involving local churches. These men are discipling the men they are bringing to Christ.”
For more information, visit manchurchetx.com.