The cause: Building the Kingdom. The call: Awaken the warrior within.
Approximately 50 men from 10 churches attended the first ever Battle Cry, hosted February 20 at Camp Hayes. This was an event unlike any other previously hosted in the South Carolina Conference.
The vision for Battle Cry came to Pastor Cory Jones after he noticed a disconnect between most men in the American church and the men portrayed in scripture. “The Bible is full of warriors and soldiers who fought valiantly for King Jesus, but in the American church most men sit on the sidelines instead of joining the fight,” he said. “But there are those who know that’s not reality, men who want to fight for the kingdom … those are the men we’re trying to reach.”
Jones, who pastors Emmanuel P.H. Church in Lake City, said he’d had a vision for this type of event for some time. Last fall, God told him it was time to make that vision a reality.
The goal was to host an event that got men out of the four walls of the church and into a setting where they could be real. He also wanted the event to be kingdom-minded instead of focusing on building a program or increasing church attendance. Immediately, Jones knew who he wanted as the guest speaker: Bishop Gary Burd of Mission:M25.
Gary Burd said the event was definitely different from other men’s events he’s been a part of in the past. “The focus was more on the raw side of being a man,” he said. “This was the first true men’s rally I’ve attended within the IPHC.”
Burd’s message focused on challenging men to Embrace their Manhood, Discover their Identity, and Define their Transcendent Cause. He wanted men to understand their God-given role as warriors for the kingdom and to catch the vision for a cause worth fighting and dying for.
Pastor Cory Jones said the biggest takeaway from Battle Cry was “A sense of urgency and responsibility for what is truly expected of one who bears his cross daily. It’s not just about what happens on Sunday when we’re in church, but about what we do in our daily lives. The kingdom needs more men who are willing to do the ministry OF the saints instead of TO the saints.”
Battle Cry isn’t just about attending a yearly event and getting “hyped up.” The real purpose is about creating lasting change by challenging men to step up in their homes, churches, and communities. “Men must find places to express their manhood through service,” said Burd. “If there is no opportunity to take this beyond serving inside the church, it becomes just another program.”
Men who attend a Battle Cry can keep that momentum going by signing up for Knight’s Training, an intensive discipleship seminar taught by Rev. Wes Alvarez of the Alpha Conference. Emmanuel P.H. Church hosted its first Knight’s Training March 11 & 12, with a knighting service on the 13th. In that service, 10 men from three conference churches were knighted in front of the congregation.
Those who want to go deeper can follow up Knight’s Training with a course entitled “The Warrior Soul.” The 26-week training was developed by Rev. Mark Richardson of the N.C. Conference and is based on the book of the same name by Lt. Gen (Ret) Jerry Boykin.
The men who attended the first ever Battle Cry probably didn’t realize they were making history. But Jones is certain that the South Carolina Conference, the IPHC in general, and communities across this nation will be changed because a small group of men found a cause worth fighting for. “Most men’s events are just an event,” said Jones. “This isn’t an event. It’s a movement, and we’re just getting started.”
Rev. Cory Jones greets men at the first ever Battle Cry.
If your church wants to learn more about Battle Cry, or if you are interested in hosting a Battle Cry or Knight’s Training, contact Bishop Gary Burd at (806) 670 -9669 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bishop Gary Burd challenges the men with a hard-hitting message.
Emmanuel P.H. hosts the conference’s first knighting ceremony on March 13.
Angel Alba kneels as Rev. Wes Alvarez pronounces him a knight.