Evangelistic event 'Men at the Cross' to be held July 11-12 in St. Louis

Saturday, June 14, 2008
KIT DOYLE ~ kdoyle@semissourian.com With a little help from above, Chris Edmonds and Marc Harris hope to expand the Men at the Cross ministry in the coming year. The kickoff event will be July 11 and 12 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The two hope to recruit around 2,000 men from Southeast Missouri to join them for the evangelistic event, where Kurt Warner will be one of the featured speakers.

Chris Edmonds and Marc Harris are looking for more than a few good men. They want to recruit at least 2,000 men from Southeast Missouri to join them in St. Louis for the kickoff of Men at the Cross.

The evangelistic event will take place July 11 and 12 at the Scottrade Center. Organizers anticipate between 10,000 and 12,000 men to be at the event. Following the St. Louis gathering, Men at the Cross has scheduled seven other worship and learning events for 2008, and continue to plan across the country through 2010.

Harris is the chief operating officer of the nationwide effort. His involvement began with Men's Fraternity and Promise Keepers, ministries that reach out to empower men to seek a more spiritual lifestyle. Men's Fraternity locally has linked with Men at the Cross to perpetuate what the men who attend will bring home with them.

In April 2007, Promise Keepers brought Kurt Warner, formerly with the St. Louis Rams football team, to the area as a guest speaker. Warner will be one of the featured speakers at Men at the Cross.

Harris said that his national involvement with the organization is almost a full-time position. He said his employer, Chap Arnold Insurance, has "shown great faith and trust in me to continue to do what I am doing and serve this calling and allowed me to explore this part of my life. It's been great."

Edmonds is the regional director for the event. Both have been visiting churches and getting their spiritual support and encouragement.

"My goal is to try to get as many guys in Southeast Missouri as possible to attend," Edmonds said.

Harris said the organization is working with sponsors to keep the event affordable and to ensure that ministers are admitted free. Organizers will also host a reception to honor pastors who attend Men at the Cross, he said.

Men at the Cross is not about raising money.

"It's a 100 percent blue-collar ministry," Harris said. "Our first and last thought is the men in the seats, making it affordable, power-packed so they can leave with something good to use in their lives."

The event is designed "to illuminate the church's men's ministry and make it stronger," Edmonds said. "Pastors we've been talking to are very receptive. Most of them are very excited; it gets men to really take some ownership in what men's ministry is in the church."

The goal of Men at the Cross is to take what began with Men's Fraternity and Promise Keepers and empower men to reach other men.

"M.A.T.C. is a revolution that seeks to turn the heart of our nation back to the God who created us and to whom our founders worshiped and gave credit for our inception and countless blessings," the Web site says.

At the heart of Men at the Cross is one of the speakers, Joe White, who began evangelizing in 1978 with inner-city children. The result of that effort is Kids Across America, which reaches 7,000 inner-city kids each summer and 900 urban leaders from 31 states and 571 cities across the country. That led to other ministries that ultimately brought White to working to empower men to become better husbands, fathers and church and community leaders.

For the cost of admission, men will hear speakers, worship with other men and be inspired by Christian music. After the event, Harris said, they will be given information about Men's Fraternity so they can continue learning and growing once they're home.

"Men's Fraternity is a major partner in this," Harris said. "Businessmen, regular guys get involved and get together and fellowship and hang out."

For more information about Men at the Cross, and to register to attend, go to www.menatthecross.org.

lredeffer@semissourian.com

335-6611 extension 160

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