I’m amazed at 47 years of age, I’m known to some of my friends & acquaintances, as an avid reader.
- Middle school Jeff would have never believed that could be a possibility.
- High school Jeff … Ditto.
- College Jeff … No chance (Although I was a master of Cliff Notes. May need to google.)
- Late 20s/early 30s Jeff … Nada.
Then something changed…
Looking forward to a great turnout in Springfield!
Please check your calendar and join us Friday May 19th at Ride 1 Powersports.
RSVP by calling Bruce Willmann at 937-206-6513, or email email@example.com.
We have hit a few challenges for our Gathering Lunch this
Friday May 12 at Country Club of the North.
We are working to develop and grow in excellence, as well as working to build our connections in the Miami Valley.
We have decided that to best serve CCN, our speaker Rex Brooking, and the larger Gathering Miami Valley community, we are holding off on this Friday’s Lunch.
We encourage everyone to plan to attend NEXT Friday’s Lunch with speaker Rex Brooking at Ride 1 Motorsports in Springfield:
The Gathering of the Miami Valley would like to invite you to our Spring Lunch series. Our theme is “Full.” We will be exploring how Jesus’ words from John 10:10 can become a more consistent reality for us.
Our Speaker is Rex Brooking, Owner/Operator for Chick-fil-A restaurants. He has owned the Beavercreek restaurant since August 2013. Rex holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, and a Master’s degree from Northern Kentucky University in Education Administration. He worked many years as a math teacher, head basketball coach and high school principal. Married for 20 years to wife Sandra, they have two children, Grant (14) and Alexis (10). Rex recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the first date with his wife!
Please check your calendar and join us Friday May 19th at Ride 1 Powersports.
RSVP by calling Bruce Willmann at 937-206-6513, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring Breakfast March ’17
SEAL for Christ enters the Battle in Springfield
By Kermit Rowe
Gathering Communications Committee
Williams, who was called into the ministry while in training to become a Navy SEAL, had no problem picking up The Gathering’s 2017 theme, “Help many, train a few,” and charging into the spiritual battle he was assigned.
He spoke about how he decided to become a Navy SEAL while sitting in his high school’s parking lot with senior finals looming.
“I was ditching classes, partying, hanging out with my friends and it hits me, ‘I am going to be a loser,’ ” he recalled.
So Williams scrapped his plans to become an Alaskan crab fisherman. Despite failed attempts by his father to dissuade him, Williams became one of 13 in his class of 173 to become a Navy SEAL.
He survived running 200 miles a week – carrying his personal boat – the grueling pre-graduation test called Breakout, which included surf torture, sleep deprivation and hallucination, among other challenges.
And Wednesday, he was challenging the capacity crowd at Hollenbeck Bayley.
He shared how a famous quote from evangelistic apologist Ravi Zacharias helped him focus on his divine mission: “The loneliest moment in life is when you have just experienced that which you thought would deliver the ultimate, and it has just let you down.”
“The satisfaction doesn’t last as long as you thought it would,” said Williams. “So you raise the bar. Then when you reach it, it again doesn’t satisfy. And the endless cycle starts over again.
“What happens when you arrived to the top of the totem pole,” he continued, “when you get to the top of the mountain and there is nothing there?”
Segue to the Bible, and the story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5. Naaman had leprosy, which in that day was a death sentence. Williams called Naaman a “dead man walking.” Naaman was instructed by a word from God to dip himself in the Jordan River seven times and he’d be healed.
But as often happens in our walk with Christ, it was not the message Naaman was expecting.
“He was expecting some big show,” said Williams. “He leaves in this rage. His true obstacle is himself. That pride, that ego.”
Luckily, God had surrounded Naman with people who loved him and talked him into doing it. It was a most difficult thing to do, but it worked and Naaman was healed.
“How many men and women in this room today are like Naaman, looking like they are in control on the outside, but dying on the inside?” Williams asked. “Just as God provided a way out for Naaman, He has provided a way out for you.
“Do you have something else going on inside you?” he added.
We do. It is the disease of sin.
“Now that you understand the problem, here is the solution: God sent his Son on a rescue mission,” Williams told the captivated crowd. “He lived that perfect holy life you and I can’t live.
“Like leprosy, sin is a fatal disease you cannot recover from on your own,” he continued. “Jesus trades skin with you and I. Not only does He step in for us as a hero, He has power over the grave. That same power that rose him from the dead is in you and I. Just as that leprosy was blotted out, your sin is blotted out.”
And that’s ultimately why The Gathering of Miami Valley exists. It should be each man’s main reason for being a part of this gift of an organization that God has given Clark County and its bordering counties.
Sure, the fellowship is enriching. And the teaching and sharing are edifying and uplifting. Help many, train a few. But shining His light in a dark world is our main mission as men of God.
That light was seen this particular Wednesday morning as more than one raised their hand when Williams asked is anyone wanted to meet his Hero Savior.
“That’s what it is about for this few who do for the many,” Williams said. “Your life is not about you. Whatever you do in life … Do it all in the name of Jesus.”
He then fast-forwarded to his current life.
“Now I am a Seal for Christ,” said Williams. “Freedom isn’t free; it is paid for by the blood on the battlefield. As we realize what others have done for us on that battlefield, realize what the Savior has done for you on the cross. It’s the Naaman thing to do. Humble yourself.
“Which will it be: Thou will shall be done, or your will shall be done?” he continued. “It’s our whole purpose of life: Know your creator, and go make him known.”
Thank you to Spring Breakfast Chairs Randy Ark, Jeremy Hudson and Rick Smith. If you’d like to know more about The Gathering of Miami Valley, or about how to become a Christian, contact Bruce Willmann, Associate Director at 937-206-6513 or email email@example.com.
Three ways to sponsor a table!
- See Jeff or Bruce.
- Call Bruce at 937-206-6513.
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
January Lunch Recap- by Kermit Rowe
In case you haven’t heard yet, The Gathering of Miami Valley’s theme for 2017 comes from Chip Ingram’s book, “From Good To Great In God‘s Eyes”: Help many, train a few.
Jeremy Hudson, the pastor at Fellowship Spring Hill and main speaker at the Jan. 20 Gathering Winter Luncheon, says one of the keys to living out this theme is examining how we define success.
“The world’s markers (of success) are good for awhile, then it switches to challenges and worries,” said Hudson. “We have this desire to have success that lasts longer.”
Hudson shared about a time in his life when he was “feeling like the goalposts were always moving.” That was until he realized that success is truly measured in lives changed and dreams inspired.
“The church is not void of feelings of fleeting success,” said Hudson. “The dirty little secret in the church world is we like to look at those numbers the world uses to measure success.”
Hudson admitted he didn’t know at first what success meant for his ministry at Spring Hill. Was it found in attendance or size of the offering?
Hudson credited the word of God and two books for getting him back on the right track: “Turn The Ship Around!” by David Marquet and “Deep and Wide” by Andy Stanley.
These books helped him define what wildly successful looked like in a spiritual sense, and there were no numbers involved, just stories.
“What would happen if we start thinking about how to define success?” he asked rhetorically.
Hudson said he found his dreams for Fellowship Spring Hill were too small!
“We probably wouldn’t still be around if we had been shooting for my dreams,” he said.
So he and his team wrote some benchmarks of success that can be seen happening. They asked themselves, “Who around me is a dreamer?” Then they tapped into their dreams.
They challenged themselves to write cards of encouragement to each other, then save the cards in a box. Success followed for Hudson’s church.
“When you are able to run after that kind of success, the effect is exponential,” he said. “Dreams grow exponentially. Stories grow exponentially.”
And when we hit the inevitable bumps in the road that pop up in our lives, we have dreams to keep us going
“When you have days when Satan tries to cut us off at the knees, we will have dreams to go back to so we can get through this,” he said.
State of the Gathering
Gathering Assistant Director Bruce Willmann shared a “State Of The Gathering” message to kick off the luncheon. He thanked everyone involved in helping the Gathering of Miami Valley become a standalone non-profit, especially Matt Shroyer and Ron Brown.
Willman also challenged the men in attendance to go on a “negativity fast” in 2017.
“It’s not denying that negativity exists or stuffing the things that are wrong, and it is not being irresponsible in getting things done that need to be done,” he said. “It is a focus on God, it’s creating streets of hope. It is solution-focused. It’s refraining from criticism.”
Willman offered a rule of thumb in our interactions: “If people are talking to you about people, they are usually talk to others about you.”
Willman even extended the no-negativity challenge to include eliminating self-criticism.
“It’s speaking to people the right way,” he said. “We need to replace negative words and thoughts with positive thoughts based on the words of God.”
– Feb. 3: Gathering luncheon at Country Club of the North, $15, pasta buffet, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.
– Mar. 22: Gathering Spring Breakfast with Navy SEAL Chad Williams, at Hollenbeck-Bayley at 7:15a.m.
– Todd Gongwer, author of “LEAD … For God’s Sake,” a book many of our locker rooms have read and discussed, is coming for The Gathering’s Fall Breakfast. Sept. 20 is the tentative date.
Men (and women) of the Miami Valley,
We are excited to share something old and something new with you on Friday, February 3rd, at 11:45 at the scenic Country Club of the North. (Directions)
The Gathering of the Miami Valley has been in existence for over 9 years, but we have started a new chapter in our history book this month. Women, if you know a man who will benefit from connecting with other men, send him our way!
We are ramping up our season of Helping Many and Training a Few, as we introduce the Gathering to some Miami Valley men through champions like Mike Pierce, Tim Hoeweler, and Dave Carlson. Enjoy connecting with local business, non-profit, community leaders, as we share in a pasta buffet and end the week right.
We hope you can join us as we push forward toward our mission- Engaging Men to be Fully Alive. Come see where this fits for you and those in your sphere of influence.Please RSVP by calling Bruce Willmann at 937-206-6513 or by email at email@example.com. Lunch is $15- a wonderful Pasta Buffet, Served up by Michael Pierce and the great staff at Country Club of the North!
Help us spread the word- PLEASE SHARE with a friend!
Hope to see you for lunch Friday February 3rd, 11:45 am at County Club of the North!
Join us for our first Lunch of the year on Friday, January 20th at 11:45am. We’ll be meeting at Ride 1 Powersports on Leffel Lane in Springfield.
Bruce Willmann will be sharing a State of the Gathering message. We will be rolling out our theme for the year, “Help Many, Train a Few”. This theme is based on a phrase in the book Good To Great In God’s Eyes by Chip Ingram.
Jeremy Hudson serves as Pastor of Fellowship- Spring Hill & Link Development. The son of veteran missionaries, Jeremy loves to travel. He received his B.A from Cedarville University, and has a heart for people and communicating. He will be our first speaker on this theme.
Join us as we push forward on engaging men to be fully alive.
Update your CALENDAR now, and RSVP by calling Bruce Willmann at 937-206-6513 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lunch is $10 and provided thanks to Subway- help us make sure we bring enough for you!
Invite a friend please!
Stay warm, stay connected and hope to see you for lunch Friday January 20th at Ride 1 Powersports!
Fall Breakfast Recap
“Your Christian faith will cost you something.” This was the opening salvo of Gathering Fall Breakfast speaker Mike Holley’s message. Holley, First Assistant District Attorney of Montgomery County (Texas), was speaking about how our faith and work intersect. He drew from his career as a member of the Military Police, and as an attorney for the Judge Advocate General, in private practice and as a prosecuting attorney. The Gathering of the Miami Valley, whose mission is to connect men to men and men to God, holds two breakfasts a year. The Fall breakfast was held on Wednesday, September 21st. The chairs for the breakfast were Clark County Commissioner David Herier, attorney John Hart who serves as Chief Counsel at Cedarville University, and attorney Marc Fleischauer from the firm Coolidge Wall. Hart shared about a recent trip to the beach and watching a storm come in really quickly. He and his family had to take shelter. He correlated this to the truth that each of us is either in a storm, coming out of a storm or about to enter into one. None of us immune to the storms of life and we all need to anchor ourselves in Jesus. Bruce Willmann, Associate Director of the Gathering, shared that each of us tries to portray ourselves in a certain way. We have an image that we want the world to see. The problem is that this is exhausting to keep up. He encouraged the audience of 320 to be real with themselves and others, and the men in attendance to become a part of a locker room, a group of men that are walking through life with you. Next, Holley shared his experiences as an attorney and how his faith had influenced his career. He spent 13 years in the Army, first as an MP. Then the Army sent him to law school. He served in Korea, Japan and Thailand. In 2004, he was sent to Iraq as the chief prosecutor in the Abu Ghraib case. This case had international notoriety. Following this case, Holley left the military to devote more time to his family. At this time, he joined one of the most prestigious law firms in the nation, Lanier Law. He shared how this new challenge stretched his faith in other ways. He went from tents in the desert of Iraq to $1000 a night hotel rooms. After six years, he left private practice to return prosecuting cases. Each step of the way his faith carried him through difficult times. He shared these truths with the audience about how God helps us when it seems that our faith will cost us something… God gives us strength when we need it God satisfies us in a way that nothing else can God brings us solace so that we won’t be crushed in difficulty Jesus himself is our promise. He desires to have a relationship with us The Gathering Spring breakfast will be March 22, 2017. The speaker is former Navy Seal Chad Williams.
Fall Lunch Series Recap
Week 3 – September 23, 2016
A former CEO from Big Sky Country had a simple message for those in attendance for the final event in The Gathering of Miami Valley’s 2016 Fall Lunch Series Friday: “Just do the right thing.”
Seeking a place to get away from it all, self-proclaimed country boy Creech and his wife Kay settled on 12,000 acres in Stevensville, Montana. There were no plans for a ministry at the beginning, but God changed those. “We were just looking for a place in the mountains,” he said. “We had no grand plan. We went there to hide. But we found out that when you live in Montana, people like to visit you.”
Now, the Creeches minister to hundreds of couples and men’s and women’s groups every year. “It is a place of rest,” he said. “Lives are saved on this ranch, but Randy and Kay don’t save any lives. We just love on people.”
Creech, 64, had prostate cancer 10 years ago … just another life lesson. “Life changes with a phone call, with a doctor’s visit,” he said. “I read it in my kids faces, ‘That happens to someone else.’ So what are you putting off in life?”
He hopes we aren’t putting off sharing. “Life is simple if you let it be,” said Creech. “It’s not rocket science unless you are building rockets. If you are not being vulnerable to someone, you need to be. “I hope you are sharing with each other what’s going on in your life,” he added. “I hope you are enjoying what you are doing in your life.”
- “When you own a ranch in Montana, there are not a lot of ways to make money, but a lot of ways to lose it. But you can’t take it with you. And what you leave your kids are going to fight over anyway.”
- “One of things I believe is when we as believers see life as full time service to God, there is no difference in a secular or sacred calling.”
- “When you think you have done something good, you’ve wasted it.”
- “If you’re sure you can handle things yourself, you are wrong.”
- “I’ve been married three times. After two, I asked what is the common denominator. It was me.”
- “We could build more barns to save our stuff, but we know how it worked out for the guy (in the Bible).”
Next up on The Gathering’s event schedule is a series of three retreats:
Oct. 18: A one-day retreat at Country Club of the North. $30 with book, $20 without.
Oct. 20-23: Retreat to the Springs in Indiana.$99 for three nights.
Jan. 27-29, 2017: Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky. Free (plan to leave a donation). More info at monks.org.
Week 2 Recap – September 16, 2016
“The truth is all of that is really exhausting,” he continued. “Many of us are … trying to be something we aren’t.”
Willmann also cited an example the Bible, in I Sam. 16. The prophet Samuel is sent to the house of Jesse to anoint a king. When he saw Eliab, Daniel’s oldest brother, he assumed he was God‘s choice. “Why? Because we’re all about the image,” he said. “Presentation seems to be the critical thing in this world, and Eliab fits the part perfectly.”
But the Lord’s response in v. 7 provided a learning moment. “The problem is, we tend to view ourselves the way others view us,” Willmann said. “But our real identity is how God sees us. Our soul is what really matters.”
“We will see Jesus in them and they’ll see Jesus in us,” he said. “It’s not easy, but that’s where real life happens.
The Gathering of the Miami Valley would like to welcome Bruce Willmann to the new position of Associate Director. Read more here!
Click here for: What is The Gathering?
Do you have a friend whom you could call at 2 am if you needed him?
Unfortunately, few men do…
Today, 27% of children grow up in fatherless homes, while 18-to-34-year-old men spend more time playing video games a day than 12-to-17-year-old boys. 1 in 10 men have a friend they could call if they needed help. The Gathering of the Miami Valley exists to change all of this by connecting men to men and men to God – because we believe that transformed men lead to a transformed community.
- I want to be a better follower of Christ.
- I want to be a better father.
- I want to be a better husband.
- I want to be a better leader.