DAVIS—The impact of the REWIRED Oklahoma State Men’s Retreat spread far beyond the boundaries of Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center April 29-30, with an estimated overall audience of “more than 4,000,” said director Keith Burkhart, family and men’s ministries specialist with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
“After talking with conference center officials, I believe it is safe to say the attendance was 3,600 in the tabernacle Friday night,” Burkhart said. “That does not include some from the cowboy camp and others just hanging out outside and in their cabins.”
Also, the event was live streamed over the Internet.
“We had individuals from 34 different countries on 583 computers connect to the live stream,” Burkhart said. “More importantly, we had two men indicate they prayed to receive Christ as a result from viewing the retreat via the Internet.”
Burkhart was the featured speaker on Saturday morning, while the opening session Friday evening featured Michael Catt, senior pastor of Albany, Ga., Sherwood, and a sneak peek showing of the church’s fourth feature-length motion picture, “Courageous,” which is scheduled to be released in theaters nationally Sept. 30.
Catt used the Old Testament figure of Caleb as an example of a courageous man.
“Caleb means all heart . . . he fully followed God,” Catt said. “He asked for a mountain to climb, even at his advanced age. . . . his faith rested on God’s promise.”
Catt outlined five principles of courage: conviction, diligence, sacrifice, faith and taking a stand in what one believes.
“We don’t make a deep impact with shallow decisions,” he cautioned.
Saturday morning, Burkhart turned to Genesis 2 and Adam as the example of a man God created to be His servant.
Although Adam failed, Burkhart said, “The fall did not change or negate God’s original intent for us as men! Christian men have used the fall as an excuse far too long as a way to run away from or make excuse for not living up to God’s purpose as men.”
He said God is looking for men to “work” with Him, to “trust” Him, to “serve” Him and to “keep” what He has entrusted to them.
Although the movie didn’t start until almost 10 p.m. Friday, the majority of the men stayed for the viewing, which didn’t end until almost midnight. Many of those who stayed had their lives changed, Burkhart said a few days later.
“I just got off the phone with Walter Mullican, pastor of Oklahoma City, Portland Ave., and he said seven of his men came back and reported to the church about how the movie had impacted them, and they pledged to their church that they were going to become ‘Courageous’ men,” Burkhart said May 3. “Men started standing up at the end. It’s just very impactful. I’m getting messages on Facebook about how it impacted their lives. It was a somber exit at midnight when it was over.”
While the overall impact is unknown, Burkhart said the number of professions of faith is able to be tracked through forms and other media.
“We get reports of those all year long,” he said. “And, we already have had reports of several surrendering to the ministry. God is really working in these men’s lives.”
Far from just an Oklahoma event, REWIRED attracted men from at least four other states: Arkansas, New Mexico, Missouri and Texas.
Social media is playing a huge part in its exposure as well.
“We have had well over 40,000 hits on our website,” Burkhart pointed out.
Also, a MenREWIRED.com app was created this year, with several features men can access following the conference. Thus far, the app has been downloaded 200 times, Burkhart said.
While numbers are one way to track the success of any endeavor, Burkhart said he prefers to focus on God’s movement among men through REWIRED.
“We can do a lot of planning, and God has given us a lot of creativity and a lot of great volunteers, but God’s hand is on reaching men, and we want to make sure He gets all the glory; that the focus remains on Him. When we do that, God shines on us,” he said.
On Friday evening, the men contributed $13,500 in cash in a special offering taken for the disaster relief response in Alabama following the April 27 tornadoes in that state. Burkhart said pledges are still coming in toward the offering.