Pass The Torch Training Conference

On March 11th, my sons and I drove six hours to Buffalo, NY to participate in certified leader’s training with CSB Ministries – the team that provides the Christian Service Brigade Curriculum for boys in grades 1 thru 12 AND works to support “Iron Sharpens Iron” men’s conferences.

We’ve been involved in supporting our local Stockade group (3rd grade to 6th grade) and having a scouting background, we were itching to “get fully trained” (a big push in scouting – a trained leader is someone who is equipped to make things happen).

This session was titled “Pass the Torch” which emphasizes our need to be role models in our own church and community. We carry a fire within us and need to share that fire with others. Passing the torch isn’t like passing a baton in a relay race – for in that instance, the runner has completed his leg of the race and race is done for him – in our case, we each have our own unique race to run, but part of that mission is to share our light, help others catch fire, and continue to run our race until we finish and attain our tangible laurels (life everlasting).IMGP6812 (2)

The Apostle Paul said “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim 2:22) We Group Effort for Firehave a mandate to pass the torch to other men of all ages – we do that in many ways: service to others, mentoring, accountability groups, bible study, attending events and conferences, being a strong leader in our home, raising our sons and daughters with deep knowledge and reverence of God and His Word.

Participation in “Christian Education” ministries is often neglected or under served by men. Sunday school teaching, small group leading, and even coming to “men’s outings” tends to be declining over the past decade or two. Men can encourage others by simply showing up, and accomplish more by sharing a vision for the growth of the church.

IMGP6935Christian Service Brigade and Iron Sharpens Iron ministries help with all of that. The keynote speaker also reminded us that man’s torch that isn’t lit, is simply a stick he carries for no good purpose. It’s designed to give light and heat, but if it’s just another stick then the man can do nothing valuable with it to serve others. We all need to be “BRIGHT AND KEEN FOR CHRIST” all the time.

At this training event, there were five time slots for training and 16 topics presented (listed below). Stephen attended the certification sessions and my son Joshua and I attended a mix of other topics.

We’re trying to figure out how to pass our torches to the other men in our church by sharing our experience.

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Topic: How To Tell A Story (A Story Paints A Picture)

Presenter: Peter Westerman, Denville, NJ – CSB Ministries Staff Associate

Everyone likes a good story! Storytelling is a terrific way to teach spiritual lessons. It has a universal appeal. There’s not one young man in your Stockade or Battalion who doesn’t like a good story. A good story commands attention. It sticks in the mind. A boy will tell the story he heard at a Stockade meeting to his parents when he gets home. He’ll tell it to his friends. Some stories he will remember for a lifetime. Just think how many stories you heard as a child that you could still remember. That’s why the Brigade encourages storytelling. Storytelling is a challenging skill that demands some time, effort, and a bit of courage to develop. This skill can be developed and you can be a more effective storyteller.

Topic: The Certified CSB Leader Experience (Part 1 of 3)

Presenter: Ron Rynd, Rutherford, NJ – CSB Ministries Regional Director

Why each Church needs to build Godly men of Today and Tomorrow. Examining the foundational principles and rationale for a church-based Christ-centered ministry to men and boys.

Topic: Fatherless No More

Presenter: Joel Fiscus, Christiana, PA – CSB Ministries Vice President of Field Staff

We will examine the unique needs and challenges in effectively reachng the fatherless boys in your unit. You will leave with proven strategies that will empower you in pointing them to the (Heavenly) Father they never had while you model Christian manhood through your leadership and discipleship.

Topic: Gaining and Retaining Leaders

Presenter: Dale Kinkade, Leavittsburg, OH – CSB Ministries Regional Director

Gaining and retaining ministry leaders is no easy task. There is so much to do, but so few step up to the plate. Light the torch of leadership in your ministry by shifting from a task oriented process to a relational experience.

Topic: 3M – Making the Most of the Modules

Presenter: Bill Mellien, Eau Claire, WI – CSB Ministries Regional Director

The new Stockade modules are great but they are a guideline. Straight talk and discussion about how we can enhance our boys experience and point them toward Jesus in each module.

Topic: Everyone Communicates – Few Connect

Presenter: Scott Haima, Hamburg, NY – CSB Ministries President

World-renowned leadership expert John C. Maxwell says if you want to succeed, you must learn how to connect with people. And while it may seem like some folks are just born with it, the fact is anyone can learn how to make every communication an opportunity for a powerful connection.

Topic: Not Easily Broken

Presenter: David Gregg, Oakdale, CA – CSB Ministries Regional Director

The vital need for men to walk alongside one another.

Topic: Be a Battalion Innovator!

Presenter: Arden Musselman, Elverson, PA – CSB Ministries Regional Director

Here’s how you can contribute your Battalion’s experience and share your original activity patch material with many other units. Using the Battalion Developers Kit

Topic: How to love a human being, especially if you are one

Presenter: Kevin De Kam, Byron Center, MI – CSB Ministries Regional Director

Our current perspectives are shaped by our past experiences. Learn how your story affects the way you view yourself, others, the world, even God, then how to accomplish the “superhuman” feat of looking through another person’s lens in order to more effectively care for the boy in your unit, the man in your ministry, your co-worker, spouse…

Topic: The Certified CSB Leader Experience (Part 2 of 3)

Presenter: Ron Rynd, Rutherford, NJ – CSB Ministries Regional Director

How to Build a Ministry for Godly Men of Today and Tomorrow. Developing a sound understanding of inter-generational relationships and the dynamics of male discipleship

Topic: The Certified CSB Leader Experience (3 of 3)

Presenter: Ron Rynd, Rutherford, NJ – CSB Ministries Regional Director

What’s in a program that Builds Godly men of Today and Tomorrow? A. Constructing an effective ministry for active junior-age boys (Stockade) in and through your church. or III-b. What’s in a program that Builds Godly Men of Today and Tomorrow? B.Constructing an effective ministry for active teen young men (Battalion) in and through your church.

Topic: get M.A.D. – Making a Difference

Presenter: Bill Mellien, Eau Claire, WI – CSB Regional Director

A seminar on the need in today’s world for men to “Build Strong Boys”. As dads (as men) what is our Biblical responsibility for discipling boys and young men? Statistics and Biblical truth as related to Mentoring And Discipling.

Topic: Men’s Ministry vs Ministry to Men

Presenter: Wayne Burroughs, Alexander, NY – Man in the Mirror Area Director

An overview of the No Man Left Behind model followed by an interactive discussions on intentional applications of the “all-inclusive mindset”.

Topic: Evangelism in Every Day Life

Presenter: Bishop Maurice Curry, Buffalo, NY – Covenant Brothers Men’s Ministry

Topic: Building Relationships Through Events

Presenter: Keith Clark, Springville, NY – Pastor Springville Crossing Church

Men need time together to build trust and open the communications lines. Providing non-threatening environments to begin to and continue to build such trust is also critical. Discussion of ways to balance meetings and events so that we can more effectively minister to men who might otherwise avoid ministries that could help them.

Topic: Men’s Ministry 101

Presenter: Stuart Burton, Arcade, NY – Pastor, Crosstown Alliance Church

In this session we will look at some of the basics of Men’s Ministry. We will look at things like: Why we need Men’s Ministry? What does an effective Men’s Ministry look like? Why is it different than Women’s Ministry? And then finally how do we get started or even adjust the Men’s Ministry that we already have? In a world that is fighting for the next generation we need to have a battle plan of our own. That battle plan should include an active Men’s Ministry. Let’s see if we can figure out how to make that happen.


Meeting Recap (3/7/2016)

Another great meeting last night.  Dodgeball has been the local favorite for game time lately and the new balls received work well with their “nerf-like” construction.

For the activity, one of our junior rangers talked to the boys about “reaction time.”  Reaction time is that amount of time which elapses between recognizing a threat and taking action to deal with it.  This could be recognizing that someone has thrown a ball at you during dodgeball and then deciding whether to try to catch it, duck, jump or run.

In real life, reaction times are important for professional athletes who need to have a keen eye to follow a ball’s trajectory.  Drivers need to be able to recognize a hazard in the road and react quickly to avoid a crash.  CSB image

We showed the boys how to measure their reaction time using rulers and some mathematics.  One boy would hold the ruler upright and then release it. The other boy would need to recognize when the ruler is released and grab it.  By measuring the distance which the ruler fell between each action, we could apply a formula to determine the amount of time that elapsed.  This measure is the reaction time.

In talking about units of measure, we also asked the following question; “what is the measure of time elapsed between slipping on a peel on the sidewalk and hitting your head  when you fall?”  The answer?  “One Bananosecond!”

For our story circle, we had a discussion about bravery.

Who comes to mind when you think of people who exhibit “bravery”?  The boys almost universally linked bravery to soldiers and emergency service providers such as police, fire or EMTs performing their best despite life or death circumstances.  That is bravery to be sure, but we pointed out that it can also carry other meanings.

IMGP6811For instance, isn’t it brave to: stand firm against injustices; take a risk to tell someone what you really believe even though they may disagree or reject your statements; or keep trying to accomplish a goal when you feel defeated?

We shared an example definition from the Boy Scout Handbook (from 1911); “A Scout is brave. He has the courage to face danger in spite of fear, and to stand up for the right against the coaxing of friends or the jeers or threats of enemies; and defeat does not down him.”  The more recent wording is “A Scout can face danger although he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him.”

Bravery is also about recognizing the “right thing to do” and doing it – especially when others disagree or might mock you (i.e. “… the jeers or threats of enemies”)  This is especially true when we consider our spiritual lives.

We asked the boys about accounts in the Bible dealing with bravery.  They mentioned several, but most of the responses dealt with David and Goliath.  We asked for volunteers to read three selections about David and Goliath.

The first selection describes the scene confronting the Israelites (1 Sam 17: 8-11&16):

Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.

1 Sam 17:32-37 defines bravery.

David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”  Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”  But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”  Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.”

1 Sam 17:45-47 Shows us why he was brave – he trusted God to prevail.

David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

We also talked about other situations like Daniel standing up for what was right (Daniel 1:8-10), and his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3: 15-18) being cast into the fiery furnace and surviving to show what what right.

Bravery is something that takes time to develop and when it comes to standing up for what is right, we need to learn from David that our real strength comes from God, not ourselves (Psalm 121).