By: Katie Sobiech
It’s that time of year again. You know that when the weather gets a little cooler and the leaves begin to change colors and fall; great men of God are ready to stand up.
Once a year men gather in Akron for Iron Sharpens Iron, a national conference for men, by men, targeting the aspects of leadership and the role of men in the church and family.
Targeted at ages 13 and up, it covers issues for all stages of life.
“We go out each year and check the heartbeat of men and what their needs are,” Bill Thompson, Founder of Toolbox Ministries, said.
“This year because of our economy being so extended there’s a depression with men, so we’re going to have someone help them look at that from a godly perspective,” he continued.
The men will get to choose from 20 different equipping workshops and check out 30 resource tables from both national and local ministries.
Mark Your Calendar
On November 6th men will be equipped and empowered with all that they need to get a great start in becoming better leaders and fathers.
The day will be filled with workshops and powerful speakers. Keynote speakers include Carey Casey, Executive Officer of the Kansas City-based National Center for Fathering, and Chuck Stecker, President and Founder of A Chosen Generation.
The event will be held at The Chapel- Green Campus. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. and the event will begin at 8:30 a.m.
The importance of fatherhood far outstretches many of the other topics that fill our magazines, TV screens, newspapers and other sources of entertainment. In many ways, fathers are the glue that holds the family unit together. Their presence is needed, and without them the family falls apart.
“Since the mid 1900’s men essentially walked away from their families. They took their briefcases and lunchboxes and went to work, leaving mom at home to raise the family,” Thompson explained.
“We moved into an industrial society, away from agricultural, so there wasn’t the family intimacy. Now we’re on our 4th or 5th generation of children being raised without the presence of their fathers,” he said.
But, America can change for the better. It just needs some men to stand up, take charge, and make that change a reality.
As families continue to fall apart, dreams continue to disappear, and children continue to raise themselves, it is important to realize the importance of a father, or male mentor, in the life of a child.
Men are needed to lead, guide and provide. This generation is crying, and dying, without them.
Time for Change
“In Akron we have what they call the ‘Buchtel Cluster’ which are the schools that support Buchtel High School. Seventy-seven percent of the kids in the Buchtel Cluster go home to mom only. Most of these moms are working, so if dad’s not there and mom’s not there then they’re left to figure out life on their own,” Thompson said.
He shared that in America, 60% of fathers do not live in the home. Of the 40% percent that are consistently there, only half of them are actually involved in their children’s lives.
“Many fathers didn’t catch the sheer importance of just being engaged in their children’s life day by day,” Thompson said.
But, today is the day for change. This month is the month for change. This year is the year for change.
And, you don’t need to be a father. There are many youths in the church that are fatherless and need mentors. Will you be that man to stand in the gap for a child? You may be the only hope he has.
This conference will not only equip men to become better fathers and leaders, but connect them to others who are trying to do the same.
Thompson plans to follow up with the men and churches who are interested, through Toolbox Ministries, which has hosted the conference for the past three years.
“Our vision for Toolbox Ministries is to teach men how to become spiritual leaders and how to impact the world that they live in,” Thompson said.
“Our mode of operation is to come alongside pastors and help them develop sustainable male leadership in the church,” he continued.
The name “Toolbox Ministries” originates from the fact that every church is different and needs to be equipped with a unique toolbox of tools and skills.
“One of the first things we do is provide them with a free needs assessment. Their men fill out questions and we get charts and graphs saying ‘This is where your men are; where would you like them to be?’”
For the next two years the conference will focus on “Re-Fathering Your World”.
“Our hope and wish is that 40-80 churches will dispatch 400-800 men into the community equipped with the skills to impact their world after November 6th,” Thompson said.