(Photo: Wildfire Conference/Tim Gosnell)
NFL player Tim Tebow and reality television star Willie Robertson were just two of the well-known names to headline the Wildfire Conference for Men, held at Liberty University's Vines Center in Lynchburg, Va., this past weekend.
The conference, which took place March 8 and 9, sold out to a 10,000-male audience and featured the headliners Tim Tebow, who is a quarterback for the New York Jets, Willie Robertson, star of A&E's reality show "Duck Dynasty," as well as former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz.
"Men from all walks of life – grandfathers, fathers, sons, brothers, hunting buddies, and more –came together to worship God and learn more about the life of true adventure that God intends for every man," Michael Queen, director of marketing at the American Association of Christian Counselors, which sponsored the Wildfire conference, told The Christian Post via email.
"In a culture of broken relationships, Wildfire brought together multiple generations of men to start a new journey-with God, their families, and each other," Queen added.
The conference included over 50 workshops connecting the importance of God to such outdoor activities as fishing, hunting, motorcycles, racing, athletics, and extreme sports.
The weekend's festivities also included a series of talks from motivational speakers such as Rick Rigsby, as well as music provided by Christian artist Michael O'Brien and the Wildfire Worship Band.
According to Queen, Tebow's talk proved to be the highlight of the conference for many, as the well-known professional athlete challenged men to serve as bold followers of Christ by making a meaningful impact in their society.
"It was like I was sitting across the table from Tebow, and he was pouring God's truth into my life. In that moment, he wasn't just a football star, he was my brother in Christ," one conference attendee reportedly said, according to Queen.
Willie Robertson, one of the stars on the family-friendly, wholesome reality television show "Duck Dynasty," reportedly focused his speech on the importance of maintaining one's Christian values through all phases of life, and the avid duck hunter recalled how he stayed true to biblical principles while transforming his family business of making duck calls into a multi-million dollar sporting empire.
Tim Clinton, founder of the Wildfire conference, concluded the eventful weekend by challenging men to be real and godly.
"The church could radically change if each of you – the 10,000 men packed in this arena – go home and purpose to live this out. To be a real man, a godly man. A man with staying power and passion about your convictions. A man with a single quest to become who God has created us to be-honorable husbands, strong fathers, and faithful friends," Clinton told the audience, according to Queen.
Wildfire is a traveling conference which seeks to help men connect to God using their passion for outdoor activities and sports.
The tour will also stop at Bishop T.D. Jakes' The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, and Greenville, S.C., this year, and is slated to hit 10 cities nationwide come 2014.