Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mighty Mens Conference 2010

I just returned from attending The Mighty Men's Conference led by Angus Buchan the author of Faith Like Potatoes. The conference was at his farm in Greytown, South Africa. What is the big deal about a men's conference? Well this one had at least 400,000 men gathered for one purpose - to worship and to hear from God. Yes, I said 400,000 men. You can look up Mighty Men Conference on YouTube. There are already several clips from people who attended.

I have to start by saying that this was an experience that I am still trying to fully absorb. Putting what I experienced into words is not going to be easy but I want you all to know what happened.

The conference ran from the 16th through the 18th of April, but my journey began on April 14th. I boarded a bus in Windhoek, Namibia and we traveled 950 miles. The trip took over thirty hours. The trip in itself was an adventure because I was on a bus with 58 other men all headed to the same conference. I was the only one on the bus who only spoke english. I was nervous, excited, frustrated, tired and totally out of my comfort zone. I did not know anyone on the bus. I had no idea how long it was going to take to get to South Africa and I was not in control. I do not do well under those circumstances but God was working on me. I got to know a few of the guys on the way down and I was beginning to feel more comfortable. We shared with each other and by the time we arrived in Greytown, South Africa I felt better about being with these men.

When we got to Greytown it took us another hour to get to the Buchan farm. As we drove on dirt roads we came over a hill and the site took my breath away. We were looking over the Buchan farm and there spread out before me were tents, cars, campers and people for as far as the eye could see. How can I help you understand the magnitude of what I saw? Well Petco Park holds 42,445 people. The number of men at this conference could have filled Petco park nine and a half times. I still cannot believe what I saw and I was there.

The first session began at 7 pm Friday night. We had to walk just over a mile from our campsite to get to the main stage. The stage was set up high with three huge video screens. In front of the stage were row upon row of hay bales and throughout the field there were huge towers with more speakers and more video screens. Word has it they had to run over 4 miles of cable to power everything.

We started with some praise songs and I have to tell you I glimpsed a piece of heaven. To hear over 400,000 men raising their voices in praise to God was beyond words. We were in a valley of sorts and you could hear the voices echoing off the hills. I know God was watching and had to have a tear of joy in His eyes as He watched that many men, His children, singing to Him. I was unable to sing at times and had tears streaming down my face. It was the most incredible thing I have ever experienced.

Then Angus Buchan came on stage. From where I was sitting he looked like an ant and I was pretty close to the stage. Angus expressed his being overwhelmed at seeing so many men. He then shared that the theme of the camp was about being Watchmen. He reference Ezekiel 3: 17-19 and as he recited the verses we knew that we were going to be challenged about being men of God. Angus did not share anything profound and it was all stuff we knew and heard before but his humility and his genuineness captured the hearts and the attention of the men. Angus did not hold back. He challenged every man there about being watchmen in their homes, communities, churches, work places and schools. That first night we consecrated ourselves and santified ourselves before God. Grown men were humbled before God and many for the first time. Men wept openly and prayed with and for each other. Men for the first time in their lives made public declarations of their faith. It was humbling and you could almost hear the angels rejoicing in heaven over each man that gave his life or rededicated his life to Christ.

After the first session we walked ove a mile back to our tent and I was so tired I just went to sleep. I woke up at three in the morning and could not get back to sleep so I got dressed and went for a walk. I walked between the rows of tents and just felt the presence of God over us. I looked and saw a layer of mist hanging over the camp which felt like God covering and protecting us. I prayed as I walked and praised God for what He was doing. I prayed over the men in attendance and then started walking back to our tent. As I was walking back I looked out again and I sensed that on the hills around the camp where His angels watching over us too.

Saturday was another day of challenge. The first session Saturday focused on our time with God. Angus felt God telling him we needed to be silent before the Lord so we all got on our knees in the field and bowed our heads and for five minutes we were not allowed to talk or move. Imagine 400,000+ men bowed before the Lord, silent, listening to hear from Him. I get goose bumps again just remembering it. You could have heard a pin drop. At the end of five minutes Angus said we could sit again but almost every man stayed on his knees. Angus then said that for some the five minutes went quickly and for others it felt like an eternity. Then he said that five minutes is no where near enough time to be in His presence. He challenged every man to spend an hour with the Lord alone every day. We then were released to have lunch and reflect on what we heard.

The evening session on Saturday was the largest crowd yet. We did not care about the media helicopters flying over head, we did not care that we were making history, we just wanted to praise our Father and hear from Him again through His servant Angus. This session was more for the fathers. Angus challenged the men to train up their boys to be men and then to release their boys to be men. Again nothing profound but straight to the heart. At the end of the session Angus asked fathers and sons to get together. I looked out over the crowd and saw fathers embracing sons. I saw them crying together and I was overwhelmed. I wept and rejoiced seeing fathers with their sons. Then Angus challenged the fathers again to release their sons to be men of God.

That night we went back to our tents exhuasted but full of the Spirit. We sang praise songs with those camped next to us and just enjoyed fellowship with each other. Men sang and shared openly for over two hours.

We woke up Sunday with excitement about the next session and with reluctance because this was the last session. Sunday the wives were invited to attend and Angus focused on speaking to the women. He outlined what the men had gone through and challenged the women to let their men be the watchmen of their homes. It was a short message and then we prayed together and it was over.

During each session Angus would say "Amen" as a war cry and the men would echo back loud and with everything they had as one voice. You can listen to the bits on YouTube and hear a sample but it does not do it justice. To hear over 400,000 men say "Amen" as we did and to hear it echoing off the hills around us... no words can do it justice. I can only imagine how our Father in heaven felt. I can see Him sitting proudly on His throne saying, "Those are my boys."

Angus challenged us to be the men God called us to be. He reminded us of our responsibilties and said that if each of the men in attendance kept their word to God then there is no way South Africa and the rest of the world would not be changed. I agree with that. I know that many of the men will go back and their lives will not change but I hope and I pray that those whose life was changed will go home and begin to make a difference.

Each man who is reading this, and who is a Christian we are each watchmen and we need to heed the words written in Ezikiel 3:17-19 "17 Son of man, I have made you a watchmen for the house of Isreal; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked man, "You will surely die," and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself." To my brothers reading this, please do not let another man's blood be found on your hands. Stand up and be the watchman. Alone we can do nothing but together through Christ we are unstoppable and Satan and his legions must flee!


pieter said...

I was there with Tony. The way he describes the event, is exactly the way it was and reading through it, it has given me goose bumps again. Now, more than a month later, I can still not stop talking about it. The experience has brought me closer to our Heavenly Father.

I Confessed my sins. I forgave all those who had sinned against me and an enormous sense of relief and peace came upon me. Then I knew I had to be baptised. It was like a voice telling me over and over again that I had to be baptised. This was most surprising, as I was one of those people who thought that Baptism was just an old fashioned biblical ritual. Well I listened to that voice and on 16 on Sunday 16 May, in front of our church congregation I was baptised. Praise the Lord!

There was quite a lot of negative publicity in both the printed and electronic media about this event. I can not see why this should be. I am however sure that the word of mouth of those who have benefited from this will by far exceed this negative publicity.

Chris Mathers said...

I have just arrived at my desk at the start of another busy day having just last night, watched Disc 3 of the Mighty Men's Conference 2010 DVD set.

My wife bought it for me for Fathers Day but because we had just moved house, we hadn't had the opportunity to get the player set up until these last few days.

What an experience! We have watched the three discs over the last three nights... more or less experiencing the occasion as the men who were there would have... and we have been so moved by the experience. Many times I thought... Wow! What a breath-taking experience for those guys. By the way... if you connect your DVD Player to your HiFi or Surround System, you will get the feel of it much better than watching a U Tube clip.

Thelma and I have enjoyed Angus' books and DVD's over the past year or so... using one as a daily devotional and after finishing it, we gave it to my mum and dad to read.

We are fortunate to love each other in the same way that Angus and Jill do and together, we love the Lord having allowed Him to take possesion of our hearts for just ten years now. Although I am into my sixties... and perhaps because of it... I am keen to build on the inspiration that Angus has kindled and to take it to new heights.

We live in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and would welcome contact from like-minded men and women who might share an interest in starting a Mighty Mens Movement here.

Thankyou Tony and Catherine for your well-presented coverage of the event and thankyou Angus for being the first person in my sixty two years whom I have been inspired to publicly call 'My Hero'! That is such a maligned word these days... over-used to the point where I believe it has been watered down to the extent that doing the most natural things makes one a Hero!

Angus is my Hero. The Lord is my Saviour and I offer my life to Him.

And all the men at Greytown and in living rooms around the world said...
AMEN! AMEN! and we all gave God a round of applause!!

I'd love to hear from you...

Chris Mathers