Over the past four years it has been phenomenal to see the growth in numbers of both men and Churches who attend the Karoo Mighty Men Conference (KMMC) from the Port Elizabeth-Despatch-Uitenhage-Jeffrey’s Bay area, according to Lance Walton, KMMC coordinator for the region.
“I have been amazed by what this conference has come to mean to these men, their expectations for KMMC, and how it’s become one of the most important things on their agenda for the year – KMMC is virtually all they talk about.
“It’s wonderful to see the camaraderie between men from all walks of life and the passion men have towards attending the conference.
“It is wonderful to witness the men encouraging each other and preparing for the conference, even to the extent of purchasing caravans just to be there.
“These men just love the wide open space out on the farm, thoroughly enjoy the speakers, and hold the farm owner, Jannie Moolman, in high esteem for hosting the event.
Better and better
“The men always say, this year it’s going to be the best and can’t wait to attend as it just gets better and better.
“The conference has changed so many men’s lives that those who have attended are always talking about the next KMMC and which friend they need to take with to the conference.
“They want their friends to experience what they have experienced, because no matter how great expectations are the experience of being at a conference is more profound.
“At the end of the day, KMMC is all about winning souls for the Kingdom of Heaven and, as Angus Buchan says, ‘encouraging men to take up their rightful role as prophet, priest and king in their home, in their work place and in the nation’,” says Walton.
He believes that what attracts men to KMMC is the way they are inspired to stand up as role models; to be responsible citizens, responsible fathers, responsible husbands and responsible leaders according to the mandate that has been given to us as sons of God through Jesus Christ, which is the heart of Angus’ message.
“However, Angus’ always points out that his example to young men is dependent on God’s grace, on God’s love, because as he says: ‘… I am a sinner saved by grace,’ which we all are,” adds Walton.
He says excitement is mounting among the men of Port Elizabeth in anticipation of seeing ‘Uncle Angus’ again at KMMC 2015 after a year’s absence.
“When I ask the team leaders of large churches who have attended all the conferences, they can’t wait and they say, ‘were bringing more men, and expanding our tent’,” says Walton.
He reports that the tents that were sent up to the Karoo from Port Elizabeth in 2011 (the first KMMC) were transported on a 1-ton bakkie and trailer.
In 2012 the tents were sent up with a truck, in 2013 the tents that were transported weighed in at 13-tons, and in 2014 the tents were delivered on a rig, and loaded into a 12.5-meter container, weighing in at 20 tons, which is a reflection of the growth in numbers of men from Port Elizabeth attending KMMC.
10 new churches from PE
Walton reports that 10 churches that have not attended KMMC are now planning to attend the conference.
“I feel that the growth among the churches attending the conference is extremely positive, as besides new churches attending KMMC, the churches who have attended in the past, have doubled and even quadrupled the number of members going to KMMC.
“Furthermore, many of the churches experience growth after KMMC as they become the spiritual homes of newly saved men from the conference, and existing members that return to their respective churches from KMMC are motivated and get involved in whatever way they are led by the Holy Spirit to assist in their congregations.”
It is not only churches that are attending as groups, but even men in their workplaces. Walton says new companies are sending their men to attend KMMC and even a large group of men from a well know vehicle manufacturer’s production line are planning on attending as a group.
The Port Elizabeth support for KMMC and fellowship among men that have either been to KMMC or are planning to attend is organised around a series of breakfasts, which Walton says is a wonderful way to get the men together.
“We have about four breakfasts a year. Just before KMMC we have a pre-camp breakfast, and after the camp we have a post-camp breakfast, where the chaps have an opportunity to share their testimonies, which is always a big faith builder — the chaps just love it,” says Walton.
Kobus Le Grange KMMC coordinator for the Oudtshoorn area agrees that pre and post KMMC gatherings are extremely encouraging for men who are planning to go to the conference or have just returned.
He says the Oudtshoorn KMMC group of men has grown from four in 2011 to 150 men last year. This year, he is expecting about 250 men to travel in convoy to KMMC.
“Last year we even managed to get our Mayor and some councillors to join us and they returned to Oudtshoorn changed men.
“Men come back home with changed attitudes towards their wives and families because they have been graced by a relationship with God through Jesus and have been shown by the Lord that His heart is for the family.
“Men come back from KMMC with a new desire to make Jesus the centre of their families and they want to be a positive example for their wives and children.
“This not only impacts on their families but on households around them who see the change in them and want to experience the same change in their own lives,” says Le Grange.
When asked what it is about KMMC that attracts him, he said it is the wonderful opportunities for fellowship with brothers in Christ.
“At KMMC it does not matter what denomination or church you belong to all that matters is that you are a follower of Christ.
“Worshipping, praising the Lord, and praying in such a large group of God’s children is an incredible privilege.
“We sit around the campsite with friends and neighbours and fellowship in Christ without the need for alcohol, without bad language or bragging, just resting in the comfort of the Lord, grateful in the knowledge that you are accepted by your fellow followers of Jesus for who you are without having to impress or be special, because we are all sinners who are only saved by the Lord’s grace, not by anything we have done or can do,” says Le Grange.
“The Mighty Men Conferences are all about Jesus and our relationship with him, and putting him at the centre of all our other relationships.
“It is this personal relationship with Jesus, knowing that you are accepted by him that changes men, softens their hearts and encourages them to take responsibility for the way they relate to their families, neighbours and colleagues at work and that leads to the healing of households and communities,” he adds.
Le Grange confirms how keenly men are looking forward to seeing “Oom Angus” and listening to his message.
“Although we go to KMMC to worship our Holy Father and strengthen our relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, Oom Angus’ message always encourages this process and helps us understand the significance and demands of the times we are living in,” says Le Grange.