(Photo: Wildfire Weekend)
A sellout crowd of more than 8,000 men are expected to attend a Christian-based event designed to appeal to their notions of fun, including listening to high-profile speakers such as NFL quarterback Tim Tebow and "Duck Dynasty" stars Willie and Jase Robertson, and participate in hobby-related workshops like "Paintball 101" and "Fly Fishing." However, most of all, Wildfire Weekend planned for this weekend at the Bi-Lo Center in Greensville, S.C., is meant for the men to learn how to share their faith, say organizers.
"We know that men love to hunt, to fish, to do outdoor things," said Michael Queen, director of events for Wildfire Weekend, in an interview with The Christian Post. "So that's kind of the goal: We wanted to meet men where they were, and then draw them closer to the heart of God."
In addition to workshops focused on family and faith issues, there are a number of hobby-related workshops that conference attendees can participate in, including "Baseball Fundamentals," "Leather Working," "Paintball 101," "Cleaning and Maintaining Your Firearm," "Fly Fishing" and more.
"Every workshop that we provide at the event integrates God into it," said Queen. "So you can go learn about engine building and how to talk to your son and your family or your buddy about God while you're doing it."
The conference is geared toward men, but some fathers bring their children and some women even attend.
"What we've seen is a great experience for a father and son to have together," said Queen. "We've created an atmosphere where a guy can bring his son or daughter with him and bond over things that they like to do together."
The theme verse for this year's event is Nehemiah 4:14, in which Nehemiah encourages the Jews to remember God, fight for their families and to not be afraid of their enemies.
In many ways, women have taken the lead in their households by ensuring their families go to church, by championing faith, and by becoming involved in their local congregations, Queen says. But men, who have several of cultural stereotypes working against them, need to assume "their rightful place" as leaders in both the home and the church in accordance with biblical principles, he said.
"You can watch pretty much any TV sitcom and see that men are portrayed almost as buffoonish or dumb, and that's not what God intended for the man at all," said Queen.
In addition to Tebow and the Robertson brothers, others who will be speaking at this weekend's event include former MLB pitcher Lee Guetterman, former Atlanta Braves first baseman Sid Bream, and former NewSong lead singer Michael O'Brien.
Wildfire Weekend is scheduled for today and Saturday.