Every month I am amazed at the stories and people that God sends my way. Writing for The Good News has given me the opportunity to meet some incredible people that have amazing stories and ministries honoring God. This month’s stories really opened my eyes to some of the ministries and organizations that cater specifically to men who are looking to serve God and their community. Between the Knights of Columbus (spoken about in a different article in this issue) and another amazing group that I will share with you here, I have learned how necessary these organizations are in our nation. I am excited to hear stories of men coming together as one, evangelizing, volunteering in the community and discipling other men.
The Gathering – A Life for men
One such organization is located here in our very own backyard. The Gathering, a Life of evangelism, discipling and mission opportunities for men, was created by Dr. John Tolson back in 1978. Dr. Tolson found the low attendance rate of men in church and the lack of spiritual direction provided by men to their families quite distressing. And so, he set out to create a nonthreatening way for Christian men to reach out to other men and lead them to Christ. Headquartered in Orlando, the Life eventually began to disperse to different places across the country, and eventually landed in Palm Beach, 21 years ago.
Bob Schuemann, City Director for The Gathering-Palm Beach, explained their mission, stating, “It’s to reach men to know Christ as their Savior, and also to assist and empower men and to help them grow in spiritual maturity. Outreach is the first part of this Life . We connect and grow men. We have come to realize that a lot of men are not connected, due to travel, work and just life alone.”
Schuemann continued, “We also do weekly events, including a year-round Tuesday lunch, and also a weekly ‘prime time,’ which is a men’s chapter-by-chapter Bible teaching, taught by area pastors. Our goal is to meet at a nonthreatening place, currently Shoemaker Automotive, which is key, especially when Christian men are inviting other men who currently do not know the Lord.”
Other local events put on by The Gathering Life, which are listed on their website, include Boot Camp for New Dads, Marriage Mentoring, and Life Coaching.
The Annual Outreach Breakfast
The Gathering is now gearing up for one of their biggest events, the Annual Outreach Breakfast. It will take place Sept. 23, and will feature Michael Franzese as the speaker. Last February’s Breakfast was a sold-out event, so The Gathering is excited to see the impact of Franzese’s powerful testimony on both Christian and non-Christian men. It details his life as one of the most powerful mob bosses with the Colombo crime family, and how God changed his life and saved him.
“This breakfast is the perfect opportunity for a man to invite a non-Christian man or someone who needs to be encouraged in his faith. It will take place in a hotel, a nonthreatening environment, which opens many doors for some men who do not feel comfortable going to a church, but will come to this type of event in a hotel,” explains Schuemann. “A guy can bring as many men as he wants. This is an event to hear a fascinating story from a guy in the mob, who without God’s intervention would (have) most likely wound up dead or in prison. We are so excited to have Michael speak. There is a different buzz surrounding him than when we have athletes or business leaders speak. It is important to have a speaker that makes it easy for people to invite, and that’s what our prayer is for this event.”
In addition to the 7-9 a.m. breakfast at the Cohen Pavilion in The Kravis Center, men will have a second opportunity to hear Franzese at a luncheon at Embassy Suites in Boca Raton, 11:30-1:30 p.m., also on Sept. 23.
“We are very excited about this breakfast/luncheon event, because it is essentially launching our presence in Northern Broward and Southern Palm Beach County, which is something we have wanted to do for a long time. We aren’t planning just a luncheon in Boca on the 23rd. Our plan is to follow that luncheon up with a six-week DVD series by Andy Stanley at the hotel, for those who are interested,” shares Schuemann. “I encourage all men to bring someone, especially those other men who don’t have a faith and would be blessed by coming to an event like this and hearing such a powerful speaker. No doubt, Franzese will have an impact on all who attend.”
Excited to celebrate the organization’s 21st anniversary in Palm Beach County, Schuemann is looking forward to creating a presence further south and reaching out to the men in those communities. “God has blessed us to be around for 21 years – I don’t take that lightly. We have grown so much, and we continue to see new guys take part in our Life every week, every month. I believe that God is now heading us down south, and that His hand is leading the way to minister to men in that area,” says Schuemann.
He concludes, “I invite all men to learn more about us and come celebrate with us at the annual breakfast. This is the perfect opportunity to bring along a non-Christian man and let (him) hear a powerful testimony. Franzese will offer an invitation during the morning, and we always have men who desire to make a first-time commitment to Christ at these events. We will follow up with the men afterwards and continue in connecting them and growing them. That’s what we are here for.”
For more information on The Gathering-Palm Beach and their Annual Breakfast, please visit www.Gatheringpb.com or call 561-622-4913. To get additional information on the upcoming breakfast speaker, Michael Franzese, please visit: www.MichaelFranzese.com.