The annual men's conference at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Upper Marlboro, Md., scored a stunning touchdown and victory this year as more than 4,000 men participated in the Red Zone, a day-long conference that featured such national sports figures like celebrity-coach-turned analyst Tony Dungy; host of NFL Today, James J.B. Brown and former Washington Redskins Coach Jim Zorn who, was recently named the quarterbacks coach for the Baltimore Ravens.
Last modified on Wednesday, 28 April 2010 23:35
According to Pastor John K. Jenkins, who has been presiding at the church for nearly 20 years, the idea to merge sports, particularly football, with religion for the 2010 men's conference became possible only after talks commenced with Marty Granger, the chairman of the Foundation for Manhood, and a partnership was forged. Generally the annual conference focuses on the church's men's ministry wanting to reengage with their faith, families and communities. This conference, however, went farther showcasing 16 small group sessions or so-called huddles, in keeping with the football theme, designed to tackle individual flaws and promote family unity and harmony.
My hope is that we change some lives and improve on them. The challenge is to determine how can we as Christian men transform the way we live? How can we truly impact the lives of others in a beneficial way? More than anything, if we do that this event -- conference would be successful, said Dungy, the current NBC Sports commentator on the weekly Sunday Night Football pregame show, Football Night in America.
This has been a wonderful event. The original thought at the time was to combine the Ravens and the Redskins and have a big presence. It didn't turn out that way, said the coach who won the 2006 super bowl with the Indianapolis Colts. The fact that the Red Zone concept was later expanded to include other football
notables besides the Ravens and Redskins camps only made the event more exciting for the attendees like 12-year-old Jared Adams and his friend Jordan Gittens. They walked around, escorted by Jared's dad Darrell, with gleeful grins on their faces looking like they were in sports heaven.
I've come here on the recommendation of a friend and have been very pleased so far. We have reconnected with what is important in life. We have positive role models here and men bonding with each other and participating in their families' lives, said the elder Adams who was keeping a watchful eye on the two adolescents.
Those positive role models included retired football athletes and individuals charged with promoting Christian values in and out of the National Football League (NFL) like Don Davis who hosted a topic entitled, It's Time to Take Off the Mask; Harry Flaherty whose topic, Leadership Through Adversity was geared toward males aged 13 to 22; and Lee Rouson, the former New York Giant and Cleveland Brown who hosted the topic, A Boy Plays House But a Man Builds One. More family theme topics were available for those interested like Roland C. Warren's A New Beginning for Your Family. Warren is the president of the National Fatherhood Initiative.
Mark Stephens, former Detroit Lion and current Metro Maryland Area Director for the Fellowship of Christians, hosted the topic, How to Be a Hero to Your Daughter.
Also, Mark P. Fisher, an ordained minister and president of the Sandy Cove Ministries, subject matter was entitled, Discover the Mind of a Woman.The common thread in all of the topics is to remove blame and shame from all households and ensure that all family members remain in the ultimate game---the game called life.
I am extremely pleased right now, said native Washingtonian and Bethesda resident Brown, who was born five blocks from the current Washington Nationals baseball stadium in Southeast and now owns a minority stake in the franchise. I'm pleased that 4,000 men are participating. I'm pleased to see fathers and sons together. I'm pleased to see men encouraging men. It's true diversity.
Perhaps former Washington Redskin linebacker and current week-day radio host LaVar Arrington captured the mood of the crowd when he said, I'm just happy to be here. This is my church home. When Pastor Jenkins asked me to be a part of this, I couldn't refuse, said Arrington who still is a fan favorite in this town.