Strongmen show power, passion for Lord

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, August 19, 2008

After filling the Macedonia Baptist Church Family Life Centerwith more than 400 people Friday night and delivering the messageSunday morning, two man-giants from Team Impact – a Christianministry composed of about 20 athletes who travel the countrywitnessing, primarily to young people, by performing acts ofstrength like smashing bricks and bending metal – performed onemore time Sunday.

Team Impact’s Marc Minter, who earlier Friday night placed ametal rod between his teeth and practically bent it into a knot,said the Texas-based ministry does some of its best work whentestifying at small, rural churches like Macedonia.

“With smaller churches in smaller areas there’s usually nothingelse really going on, and the people aren’t desensitized to 100shows per year and we get a great response,” he said. “We had fiveor six come forward (to accept Christ) tonight from a majorityChristian audience, and that’s a great response.”

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Minter said Team Impact has helped lead about 50,000 people toGod through 200 events within the last two years – a total thatwould equal the Christianizing of almost all of Lincoln Countytwice. He said he could not explain exactly why the organizationhas enjoyed so much success in saving souls, but it’s the reasonthe team members spend half of every month away from theirfamilies, traveling the country.

“It really is a mystery to me that people still want to watchsome crazy idiot break bricks with his face. But after all theseyears people still like to see athletes push themselves to thephysical limits,” Minter said. “It’s a fascinating ordeal, and weuse that effective tool to draw people to the gospel.”

Macedonia Minister of Students Joey Bland said Team Impact’sperformances delivered exactly the kind of message he was seekingwhen he first contacted the organization and invited its members tovisit Lincoln County. He said he chose the heavy hitter over otherministries like praise bands or speakers because of their abilityto draw in a non-traditional crowd – people who normally neverattend church on Sundays.

Bland believes Team Impact puts the proper face – and perception- on Christianity.

“When we look at Christians, we want to label them as weak,non-confrontational folks – but it’s just the opposite,” he said.”The Lord calls us to be confident in our faith and bold in who weare – that’s why these guys are so successful.”

“Bland was particularly pleased at the outcome of two in-schoolvisits Team Impact made Friday – a Christian-themed visit toBrookhaven Academy and a motivational, anti-drug speech at LoydStar Attendance Center – that brought unfamiliar young faces toMacedonia.

“It’s exactly what I was looking for – we had some kids heretonight I’ve never seen before,” he said.