Organizers have hosted growing men’s event for six years
By Myra Holmes
A group of 180 men gather near Enid, Okla., at the end of March to blow stuff up, shoot things, eat and build relationships.
On the last Saturday of March, a group of men gathers on 300 acres near Enid, Okla., to eat red meat and deep-fried Twinkies, blow stuff up and shoot things—all to reclaim godly masculinity and further God’s kingdom.
“Man Day” is “a day where men can get together to do ‘man stuff’ without all the garbage that society tells us has to be there in order for us to have a great time, like beer and half-naked women,” says Brent Kroeker, member of Enid (Okla.) MB Church.
Over the last six years, the event has grown to include about 180 men not only from Enid MB and other area churches but also from surrounding states. Many are alumni of Tabor College, the Mennonite Brethren liberal arts college in Hillsboro, Kan.
Through both the activities and the support for a mission in Africa, the day “defines us as men more accurately, as our Creator intended,” says Kroeker.
Kroeker and other Man Day organizers—Kenyon Gerbrandt, Jason Klassen, Brian Banz, Mike Yutzy, Eric Flaming, Jeff Husted, Toby Kennedy and Brent Lang—take cues from John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart. “Aggression is part of the masculine design; we are hardwired for it,” writes Eldredge.
Accordingly, Man Day activities include a mechanical bull, an extensive paintball course, college basketball on the big screen and a shooting range that offers a “120-gun buffet.” An annual highlight is the Great Pond Race in which salvaged cars are raced around a five-acre pond “until they smoke and die,” then set on fire or blown up. Food served throughout the event includes grilled steak, deep-fried Twinkies and Oreos, a crawfish boil and an infamous “bacon bomb.”
For some, the day becomes a worship experience. “When men get together and refocus their lives to Scripture and what that means for them as husbands and fathers, that is worship to us,” Kroeker says.
While not explicitly evangelistic, Man Day provides low-key opportunities to share Christ and build relationships. Kroeker says, “We hear back every year from men who have no ties to a church family, but will come to Man Day.” Copies of Wild at Heart are distributed to underscore the purpose of the day.
This year, Man Day included an opportunity to give to Hosanna Institute of the Sahel (HIS). Missionary Yacouba Seydou works with church planting, pastoral training and meeting physical needs—including drilling water wells—in Niger, West Africa. Kroeker serves on the HIS board of directors.
Less than 10 percent of the population in this predominately-Muslim country has access to clean water, so wells are vital to health. As Yacouba talks with Muslim community leaders about a well, organizes the drilling and returns regularly to check on it, he shares Jesus, the Living Water. “Villages are changed in a matter of a year both physically and spiritually,” Kroeker says.
Donations for HIS from this year’s Man Day totaled over $10,000. Those funds will be added to about $17,000 given by Enid MB Church at Christmas as part of their Advent Conspiracy emphasis to drill new wells.
For more on Man Day, look for it on Facebook. For an example of the work of HIS, watch “Molly Water Well” on YouTube.