LITTLE AXE— After months of planning and praying, organizers of the inaugural “Following the Trail” conference for men and boys hoped to have about 100 show up at Cornerstone Indian Church Oct. 9 for the event.

Pastor Bryce Scott said 85 pre-registered, but when the day finally came, around 230 men and boys showed up.

“It went really well,” a pleased Scott said. “We had about 230 in attendance, so we were pleasantly surprised.”

So well, in fact, that there was “a lot of talk about doing it again next year,” he added.

A minor disappointment was the absence of promoted featured speaker Dean Blevins, News 9 TV personality, who unfortunately had surgery two days before the event and had to cancel. Other speakers included evangelist Clint Sinclair, pastor of Bar None Cowboy Church in Afton, and Eddie Lindsey, church planting strategist with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

“Blevins had surgery two days before, so he wasn’t able to make it, but he committed to being here next year,” Scott said. “The crowd really enjoyed the other speakers, however. It was really neat to see.
“Clint talked about making excuses for our children and how we try to cover for them instead of dealing and confronting the issues.

“Eddie talked about the family and some of the things they need to do as men. He used Zaccheus as an example of how when Jesus saw him He didn’t focus on his stature, but saw him for who he was. That was a good Scripture application.”

In addition to the speakers and testimonies from several others, the event included many activities, including a horseshoe tournament, dominoes, checkers, archery, free throw and three-point shooting contests, golf pitching contest, putting contest, displays in the church sanctuary and a blood drive.

Native American evangelist Mike Keahbone served as emcee for the event, and general session worship was led by Ellis Horsechief. Youth session speaker was Jay Mule, with worship led by Donna Bear.

“The activities were really a big part of it; the fellowship,” Scott said. “Getting them involved and letting them meet men from other parts of the state was essential. A lot of the men who came were those who normally wouldn’t come to church.

Organizers also wanted to “build up” the youth present.

“We did have a youth session, and as we brought them up in front of the stage, we cheered them and encouraged them,” Scott emphasized. “Youth are small in numbers in our churches, but they are usually very active. In our church, for example, one of the biggest outreach ministries is our youth. They invite their friends to church and they eventually get saved and baptized and become a part of the church.”

Scott said organizers are thankful for advice and direction given them by BGCO Family and Men’s Ministry Specialist Keith Burkhart several months ago. The conference was patterned after the annual state men’s retreat held at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center.

“One of the main things we wanted to do was give them something to take back with them, instead of just having a meeting and getting together and having a good time,” Scott said. “Something they could really take, and I believe they got that. We did give them a Bible and some other things, but also the messages were impactful for them.

“I know there were several men who came with their sons who won’t go to church. They were in tears and really had broken hearts. That was something to see. It took something like this where they knew there were going to be some activities outdoors and no pressure. That was one of our main goals, not to make it look like church.

“This made a difference in some lives, and was neat to see.”