Men of Fire meet at local business

Published 5:15 pm Wednesday, June 26, 2019

WEST POINT — The back room at Johnny’s Pizza was packed Monday evening as more than 30 local men were present for the latest meeting of Men of Fire, an interdenominational prayer group organized two years ago by Randall Maddux.

“We had around 15 members when we first met in September 2017,” Maddux said. “We’ve grown a good bit since then.”

A cross section of local churches are represented.

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“We meet twice at month,” Maddux said. “We meet on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. Anyone is welcome who wants to put God first in their heart. We have men who attend Baptist, Methodist, Nazarene and Pentecostal churches. We’re not trying to steal anyone away from their church. We just want for them to be better men, so they can go back and help their church grow.”

Men on Fire has a theme of breaking down walls.

“Men tend to compartmentalize too much,” Maddux said. “We need to break down those walls to be in one accord with him and to do his will.”

In speaking to the group at the start of Tuesday’s session, Maddux said that every man has a story to tell.

“All of us have them,” he said. “They are different chapters in our lives. You learn from some of them and move on.”

A young man named Michael talked about a chapter in his life on Tuesday.

He said that he’d gone through periods of not being the kind of husband and father he should have been.

He had gone from being frail in his youth to being muscular and athletic as an adult, largely due to working out with weights.

A sudden health issue then brought him down. He told the men’s group that he’d gone through a period of paralysis and had lost a great deal of weight in a short period of time.

He’d become very depressed and had spent some time in a psych ward, encountering all kinds of people with mental conditions nothing like his.

It took him several months to get back to walking normal. He credits his wife on having been a rock of support for him.

“She makes sure I have patience,” he said. “It takes that for me to be the man I need to be.”

Michael told the group that he didn’t have the best home life growing up and that he’d made his share of bad choices.

“I became good at being sneaky,” he said. “When something went wrong, it was always someone else’s fault. I craved attention, and I got hooked on drugs. I realize now that my life is so much better than it was back then.”

At some point, he realized that not all choices are bad ones.

“There comes a point when you realize it’s time to do what it takes to be the man I should be,” he said. “You want to do everything in your power to do the right thing. I don’t have to make choices alone now. I have this group of men to help me.”

Following Michael’s testimony, the big group was broken down into smaller groups of five of six men, who were seated around smaller tables. They were given slips of paper with such questions as “Are you living in the past and can it help you to look back?” “Was there ever a point where you felt you’d hit rock bottom?” “What does your wife bring to your marriage and do we show enough gratitude?”

The questions start a roundtable discussion where each man opens up and talks about those questions.

“I love coming to these meetings,” said Men of Fire member Brian Yarbrough. “Most men won’t open up on their own, but they do when they come here. I have been coming to these meetings about a year now, and I love it.”

“Relaxing, opening up and speaking honestly to each other, that’s what makes this group what it is,” said Mitchell Hamilton, who has been with Men of Fire since the start. Everyone brings something unique to it. We all have our own stories.”

Gerald Brumbeloe credits Maddux on having been a good facilitator.

“He encourages us to open up and speak our minds,” he said.

“When you speak about your concerns, you have ownership of it,” Hamilton said. “You are part of it when you open up.”

Yarbrough sees a real sense of brotherhood in what’s taking place at the meetings.

“Any man here knows any other man will help them if they can,” he said. “They will help them with any problem they may have. This helps you have a better home life. Being around good Christian men will do that for you.”