Part 2 in the #BattleLine series.
Fred Gray can see the big picture. He has a desire to train servant leaders, those who will then train others to lead and serve. And he understands the need to start with the men of his church.
Fred became Senior Pastor of Southside Baptist Church in Suffolk, Virginia, on October 7, 2018, and he quickly started intentionally investing in discipling his men. He first began by getting to know some of them who were serving in leadership.
“I wanted to hear their heart and see their passion and trust that the Lord would identify a team of men who shared a passion for reaching men.”
It did not take long for the Lord to identify Nathan Carr, who had already been reaching out to men long before Fred arrived at Southside.
“I asked each man to take off all of the ministry hats they were wearing and allow the Lord to identify just one ministry…then I told them to eat, sleep and drink that ministry and knock it out of the park.”
After Nathan shared his desire to serve in men’s ministry, Fred knew that he was the man for the job. Soon after that, Men’s Fraternity was launched and Nathan recruited a team of about 12 men, who he calls coaches.
Fred credits the grace of God for how well the planning went, as well as the launch night. And they have a higher than normal percentage of men returning each week.
Fred shares one amazing story of a young man who recently trusted Christ as his Savior.
“This past Sunday morning, a young man who was not a part of our church but came to Men’s Fraternity at the request of his friend… The Lord worked it out for this young man to be in my small group. After a few weeks you could see the truth beginning to challenge him. This hunger led him to want more. He asked about visiting the church with the idea of being further challenged. After attending for 3 weeks he trusted Christ as Lord and Savior. What really spoke to my heart was how this came about. After preaching for a time I transitioned in the message to turn our attention to the Lord’s Supper. After explaining some of the truths pictured by this, I gave the invitation. Bear in mind that everyone is seated during this invitation. When I asked if anyone wanted to respond to the Gospel to please stand up, he stood up. Sometimes the Lord leads me to give this kind of invitation and 3 times this year men have stood up to respond to the Holy Spirit. Two of those were for salvation.”
Fred also continues to hear that some of the ladies in the church are seeing a difference in their husbands. That is exactly what Fred hopes to see as they continue to invest in men. He desires to see “godly men who will be godly husbands and fathers who are then ready to serve and lead in the church. I am praying for God to raise up pastors, lay pastors, teachers and missionaries.”
According to Fred, Noble Warriors has been a helpful source of encouragement and has provided exposure to resources without pressure. Men’s Fraternity has been priceless in the lives of their men and their families.
“For me there is no better communicator to men than Robert Lewis. Our guys know this material is dated as to when it was produced but they have come to understand the truths are timeless.”
Fred continues to praise the Lord for what he sees happening in the lives of men, praying that others will have the opportunity to see this in their churches as well.