And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to FAITHFUL MEN, who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:2
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to STAND FIRM. Ephesians 6:13
2020… is a man standing alone in a swamp with dense fog hanging in the air. Isolation. Uncertain footing. Limited vision. Can you feel it?
He needs other men to move from isolation to connection, from shifting sand to solid rock, from confusion to clarity. In the tumult of 2020 you’ve given men connections, traction, clear vision, and hope. Here’s how…
Discipleship. Small Groups. Mentors.
Through the fog of COVID and racial unrest, we have encouraged men to reach out and get connected or stay connected. We’ve helped guys launch or sustain small groups, connect with mentors and have conversations with folks with different perspective. Don Coleman is a great example of the power of helping men connect.
Identity. Value. Purpose.
When life is crazy and uncertain, serving others takes our focus off ourselves and allows us to be part of something bigger. As we follow Jesus’ example of sacrificial living, we desire to bless others but often find that the blessings are multiplied to us. Rich Babbitt serves with infectious joy and encourages others to dig in and get traction in life by investing in others.
Family. Investments. Legacy.
Someone noted that 2020 has been like a pressure cooker for families. Men recognize that unusual times create new opportunities but aren’t always certain how to move forward. We need examples to follow. Without vision, the people perish and men like Harry Hanger leave a legacy for many to follow in loving and leading their families well.
Partners and friends of Noble Warriors are tireless champions for biblical manhood. We point to the model of manhood, Jesus Christ. His selfless love reminds us to put others first. Noble Warriors’ partners help men find connections, traction and clear vision.
Mike Young, Executive Director
PARTNERS PROVIDE CONNECTION
Spiritual Fathering and Front-Porch Discipling
If you want to find Pastor Don Coleman, you’d better start by looking on his front porch. Years before we met him, Pastor Don was “front-porch discipling” anyone who would come sit with him at his home in the East End of Richmond.
Who is Pastor Don?
Long before he became a Noble Warriors partner, God’s hand was on his life as He brought him through the church and ultimately into pastoring in the very city he was raised in.
“God shaped my life to lead.” Pastor Don grew up in a home where his parents were not always available to him, and at just seven years old, he and his four younger siblings entered the foster care system.
“One of the first miracles of my life is that my foster family took all five of us.”
It was one of the first signs of God building his story of life and ministry in the city he loved. God placed him with a foster family who loved him and pointed him to Christ. They faithfully carried their five foster children with them to their small city church each Sunday. It was in that small church he accepted Jesus into his life. A few years later, he and his brother went back into the home with his father, but they still lived in the city they loved and remained close to their siblings – yet another miracle. He was able to keep attending church in his hometown. As he grew older and attended college at VCU, seeing others grow deeper in their faith challenged him.
Growing up a “spiritual orphan” shaped Pastor Don’s ministry, and his passion for “spiritual fathering” was clear from the first time he and I met and began discussing the Noble Warriors vision.
“We need to sit down and talk,” Don spoke directly from the beginning. “Mike came across so strong; he was so sincere about men. We need other men around us, a place to land, pointing, modeling to other men to know how to build relationships.”
We formed a true brotherhood that day, and he found in Noble Warriors a brother and a family who share his passion and live this mission. A spiritual orphan needs only to meet Jesus to gain a spiritual family. It’s this spiritual family that Don and others, who partner with Noble Warriors, are committed to building, and to developing spiritual sons and daughters.
“We have to invest in men.”
And we became family – family that just looks a little different, which has given us the opportunity to have some Courageous Conversation.
The family bond my family has with Pastor Don is obvious – even if at first glance a news photographer didn’t quite see the connection.
He recalls, with a chuckle, a moment years ago at a National Day of Prayer event when our boys were younger. While standing together, we were approached by a photographer who wanted to know our connection.
“Oh, this is our Uncle Don!” one of the boys professed. By the look of confusion on the photographer’s face, he didn’t quite understand yet that even though our skin color is not the same, “we are family.”
Pastor Don’s spiritual family at East End Fellowship, where he pastors, happens to be 60% white and 40% people of color. He has a reputation of being an African American pastor whose desire is to be “anti-racist”… because the Kingdom of Christ transcends race. As one of the earliest workshop speakers for our conferences, Don always saw a great mix of cultures.
“We need to take on the posture of trying to learn. That’s what’s broken today in our world. We need to have proximity with someone from another culture, enough concern about one another that we can have courageous conversations.”
The intentionality was there from day one to have authentic cross-cultural ministry. His partnership with Noble Warriors over the years is one of the outlets through which he’s been able to develop many of those relationships
Within our cultures are broken men. We need to multiply relationships, seek and hear other perspectives, and build trust.
“We need everybody at the table.”
Intentionality in Today’s Environment
Pastor Don Coleman is a disciple-maker maker, one of the reasons his partnership with Noble Warriors is such a good fit. His intentionality when it comes to giving and reaching across lines fosters reproductive discipleship.
“I love men.” He intentionally invests in the men in his own community, and the relaxed environment of his front-porch discipling opens the door to press in to hard conversations.
He models God’s openness and willingness to receive all who will come. He served the public school system as Chairman of the School Board for the City of Richmond and prays faithfully and consistently for the kids and citizens of his community.
As a pastor, Don values the partnership Noble Warriors brings to the local church as a support and enhancement to men’s ministry. Investing in Noble Warriors produces quality events and resources.
Don is a man who walks the walk, a true example of what Jesus did in His ministry, and his example provokes others to live intentionally for Christ.
“When people see us love across boundaries, they will know we are Christians by our love.”
Jesus prayed, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” It is all about God’s Kingdom, not an individual. It’s about being Kingdom-minded right here, right now, on earth.
“We want to see the Kingdom impact the neighborhood, community, and region.”
Don’t ask Pastor Don, “What Would Jesus Do?” He challenges us to do what Jesus did.
If you are passionate like Don, you can contribute to spiritual-fathering and disciple-making through partnership with Noble Warriors. One way is to help us launch church-based small groups across the state.
Don Coleman, Senior Pastor of East End Fellowship, Richmond, VA
Don Praying with the Youngs at the National Day of Prayer Event
Iron Sharpens Iron Conference in 2013
The Noble Man Conference Workshop in 2018
PARTNERS CREATE TRACTION
A Changed Life Changes Lives
Rich Babbitt was already involved in leading the men’s ministry at his home church when he was first introduced to Noble Warriors. In fact, he’d been leading in church for years. He and his wife Kathy met as single parents helping to lead a ministry for other single parents. He’d been involved in Bible studies before, but what impacted him through Noble Warriors was the way he learned to dig deeper in relationships.
“As a man and a husband, it really impacted how I dealt with things. It made me take a hard look at how I act and react in relationships.”
Rich and Kathy knew that blended families could be more at risk, but they were committed to growing and maintaining a healthy marriage.
Getting connected with Noble Warriors gave Rich the tools he needed to work through anything, no matter what the issue.
He heard new things about manhood and family, and he recalls how his first study of Men’s Fraternity transformed him.
“Rejecting passivity hit home with me.”
Their marriage has been an example for over 25 years, and now they get to enjoy their three children and four grandchildren as empty nesters committed to serving others. He has served on the Board of Directors of Noble Warriors for 10 years, allowing him to turn around and influence other men and families in the same way. Even when he moved to Tennessee for a time, he took Noble Warriors there with him and launched Authentic Manhoods’Men’s Fraternity and 33 The Series in his church there.
Rich is a key player in our current project to help men create and maintain connection during the isolation of the pandemic.
Serving Up Support
Rich Babbitt has been serving up support for decades. His professional background had him in the McDonald’s Corporation for 23 years. He even remembers them knocking the wall down at his first location to create their first drive-thru.
As a member of our conference team, Rich brought those skills as a ‘systems guy’ into his support for Noble Warriors.
If you’ve been to a Noble Man / ISI Conference and you like being caffeinated and well-fed, then you have Rich to thank for it.
It’s awe-inspiring to see the way he moves hundreds of guys in and out of the lunch line so efficiently.
When Rich first studied Men’s Fraternity, he was inspired by the Great Adventure to make a list of things he wanted to be, do, or experience – like writing a book, and he followed through on that list. Work ethic is part of the fabric of his character, so it only made sense that he would share his experience in his book, From Paperboy to Boomer. (Purchase a copy here.) One of the final chapters is titled “Leading by Example and Leading Others,” and Rich has lived that out by being a servant leader.
COVID threw us a curveball this year limiting in-person events, but Rich Babbitt never missed a beat. There were no conferences to organize and no sandwiches to serve…
But he jumped right into moving furniture, painting, and filling in wherever he saw an opportunity to help with our new venture, The Noble Man Podcast.
Like Rich, every Noble Warriors partner brings their skills, time, talents, and gifts to the table, and it is amazing to see how God brings it all together to build the ministry we get to steward today. Without every single contribution, we would not be as stable.
Part of Something Bigger
Why would a man like Rich Babbitt seek opportunities to give freely of his time and skills?
He leads a full life with work, family, and ministry, and yet he’s always at the ready to lend a hand or just be a blessing in any way. He’s a prime example of living a Kingdom-minded life beyond just paying the bills and taking care of himself.
“Every man has a desire to be involved in something bigger than himself. . . supporting Noble Warriors does that.”
Partners like Rich are part of the bigger mission, helping us impact men for the Kingdom. It’s why he’s pouring his energy into helping us create a versatile podcast studio. What started as a makeshift green screen room in the back corner of the warehouse is now becoming a more fit place to produce quality episodes. As we work, we pray for provision for equipment and production costs.
Men still need connection, and Rich sees The Noble Man Podcast reaching men in their homes and cars, creating opportunities to learn from experts on real issues and challenges they might be facing.
When he connected with Noble Warriors years ago, Rich studied the tenants of Authentic Manhood such as working for the Kingdom and expecting God’s greater reward, and they have stuck with him. Whether behind the scenes, growth-planning, or “gofering,” he works where needed and leads the way for others who want to be part of something bigger themselves.
In the isolation of the current crisis, men are not alone thanks to Rich and partners like you. You make it possible to find new and necessary ways to stay linked together and continue to help churches equip men to walk with Christ and Lead Well.
Rich Babbitt, Noble Warriors Board of Directors Member
Iron Sharpens Iron Conference in 2017
Rich’s Men’s Fraternity group in TN 2019
With his Granddaughter in 2018
PARTNERS CAST VISION
Family Witness for the Kingdom
“How can we ‘adorn the gospel’ when it is already perfect?”
It’s a question posed by Harry and Elaine Hanger years before we met, and they’ve spent their life living out the answer. Harry and Elaine Hanger were called to adorn the Gospel in their family life, as Elaine explains, in the same way we bring in a perfect evergreen tree from the forest to adorn with Christmas ornaments. It doesn’t make them more perfect; it only draws attention to and highlights the perfection that is in it. And the Hangers made it their mission to adorn the Gospel with the way they raised their three children and lived as a family committed to spotlight the Gospel in all they do.
For the Hangers, it just made sense that family training and family ministry are necessities. After all, we receive training for everything else – jobs, driving, etc. Yet when it comes to marriage and family, we’re often just launched on our own to figure it out and fend for ourselves. The Hangers poured their time, energy, and treasures into family ministry. One Bible study their own teens formed became legendary at their local public high school and even included a little swing dancing for fun – the kids could not get enough. Harry was behind the scenes all the while training his own children to teach the Word and become leaders in their circles. That study eventually reached 200 students!
That’s why Stacy and I clicked immediately with Harry and Elaine.
Elaine explains, “We always wanted to support anybody doing anything to teach people how to reflect the Gospel in the family, and that’s what Mike and Stacy were all about.”
When Harry attended a morning meeting with Noble Warriors where young guys were being taught principles of how to be godly men, he was very impressed with what was being taught.
“We’ve always been very thankful for Mike’s heart just to shepherd men.” So Harry and Elaine became faithful monthly partners.
Even when they received a devastating diagnosis, news that would alter the plans they shared for their future, Harry stood faithful in planning, preparing, and paving the way for the future of their family.
Encouragement in Suffering
“Even contracting a terrible disease like ALS can be used by my loving Heavenly Father.”
Harry was no stranger to suffering having lived in chronic pain since his twenties. He gave his life to Christ in college and dedicated his life to pursuing Him. For 35 years he led a Bible study with his “Tuesday Morning Guys”, a group of local businessmen. Harry wasn’t the type of man who pushed his way into leadership; he was more reluctant. But his biblical knowledge and passion for Christ were so obvious to anyone around him that they knew… this is a man who studies and knows the Word.
So, it was no surprise to those who knew Harry that he viewed his illness as an opportunity to develop his theology on how God uses suffering, and Harry purposed that he would use his suffering to encourage others. He wanted to allow God to communicate hope through him to other people.
“That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” Philippians 3:10
Harry was open about his suffering, but his Kingdom perspective continued to shine through.
“Elaine and I both know what the future holds (as far as my ALS), but we both conscientiously choose to focus on the blessings of the present and not the certain sorrow of the future.”
Even from his wheelchair, Harry stepped up to lead his family, and he continued leading his small group as well until he was no longer physically able. Even then, he wrote many letters for as long as his fingers were up to the task. Harry and Elaine often ended their day by saying, “We’ve had another good day,” and they would turn to the Lord in prayer.
Harry’s life and testimony are a consistent encouragement at Noble Warriors, and in this crazy year we aspire to continue passing that baton of hope to others. Harry’s perspective shows us all that even in times of suffering, disappointment, and loss, our task is to be faithful to the call of building the Kingdom.
We are thankful for Harry’s example of living for the Kingdom and investing in Kingdom men, and we are thankful to honor his legacy.
Leaving a Legacy – Harry’s Footprint
“Keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” Philippians 3:17
Each of us will leave a legacy, whether we plan for it or not, because our legacy is based on how we live our lives here and now.
One day, we will come to the end of our journey on earth, and all that will be left are the footprints we leave behind.
Harry Hanger went to be with Jesus in April of 2017, and he left a large footprint to fill. We may not have Harry with us here today physically, but we have him here with us through his wife and family, his spiritual children, and his legacy.
Elaine and a friend took some time to put together a composition of Harry’s letters which he faithfully wrote from the onset of his illness. His letters would keep his friends and family updated on his progress and also shine a light on God’s faithfulness in the midst of his suffering. The book, The Footprint of Harry Hanger, contains letters of his faith, wit, and wisdom written during his journey with A.L.S.
On one of Harry’s last trips to the beach with his family, he shared a cool story of their family worship time. As he was no longer able to lead, he took great pleasure “in seeing our children playing with their children as I had done with them (the torch has passed) . . . On Sunday the younger generation led us (as we had done with them) through reading of the Scriptures.”
Harry reminisced in another letter that someone once told him he was an extraordinary man, but all he could think was, “I am an ordinary man in the hands of an extraordinary God.”
I know I am challenged by Harry’s legacy to lead a life worthy of the calling of Christ. I want to live so that those who walk behind me will find me faithful in leading my family, faithful in discipling others, faithful in finishing strong, and faithful in leaving a legacy for the Kingdom. Harry exemplified spiritual strength even in the deterioration of his physical strength.
One legacy Harry left behind was his partnership with Noble Warriors, and Elaine carries on their intentions to support family ministries.
Even in Harry’s last wishes, he left an opportunity for others to partner with Noble Warriors through a Memorial Fund.
In Harry’s words, the torch has passed. Who will pick it up and carry on the work that needs to be done?
Who will stand firm?
Harry & Elaine Hanger
Harry’s Birthday in 2016
The Hangers’ Grandchildren with Harry’s Book
Harry’s Son Giving a Tribute to His Dad on His Last Earthly Birthday
STAND FIRM WITH US
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18
Covid has driven us apart. The Lord himself noted that it’s not good for men to be isolated.
Noble Warriors stepped into this void with two initiatives…
The Noble Man Podcast launched in April. Mike Young hosts our weekly episodes featuring various guests to discuss topics important to men in these times. It’s gaining traction across the state and beyond, encouraging men to walk with Christ and lead well.
September’s focus on Sexual Integrity was especially impactful. Season 2 launches in January with new features. Check it out at NobleWarriors.org/Podcast
Zooming is a great way to connect, but men are hungry to meet together with Jesus in the presence of other men. There’s just something about men coming together to worship the KING!
The Noble Man Tailgate creates an atmosphere where men are able to do just that during this Covid season. Brief, outdoors, local, energetic and powerful. The formula is simple. Eat a ‘tailgate’ meal with the men of your church, then worship and be challenged in the Word with men from other churches. We experimented with five tailgates this fall and hope to host 10 or so next Spring. Learn more at NobleWarriors.org/Events