Men’s Fraternity: The Quest for Authentic Manhood is a class which is offered at First Baptist Church, 270 Country Club Drive in Ruidoso. Open to all men ages 19 and older, the group emphasizes support, growth and unity. So far more than 70 have signed up and it’s anticipated more than 100 will be the final count.
Stoddard arrived at First Baptist Church three years ago from Arlington. Wife Jeana and daughter Briana have joined him in the ministry of pastoring the church and supporting the community. Stoddard completed his Masters of Divinity at Southwest Theological Seminary, Texas and received a PhD from Gordon Cromwell Theological Seminary out of Boston. He defended his doctoral dissertation’s topic which related to small groups and their formation and development.
Offering this group is right up his alley.
“Mens’ Fraternity: Quest for Authentic Manhood” is a program which began at Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, Ark. with Dr. Robert Lewis. From FBC’s website: “Robert is passionate about helping men discover the biblical principles of authentic manhood. He founded and developed Men’s Fraternity in 1990, and today this significant area of ministry is reaching men worldwide in churches, on college campuses, in corporate boardrooms, and in prison cellblocks.”
When Stoddard decided to begin a Men’s Fraternity in Ruidoso, he wanted to show the unique unity he sees in the Christian community. The Fraternity will be facilitated by several area pastors who join Stoddard in support. Charles Clary of J Bar J Church, John Marshall of Calvary Chapel, John Duncan of Gateway Church of Christ and Rick Hutchison of Angus Church will co-lead the fraternity along with Stoddard.
“It’s a 12-week program and we’re hosting the fall semester at First Baptist. We hope to locate the spring semester somewhere else.” Begun last Sunday, the program is open to men ages 19 and above and will continue through Nov. 4, meeting from 6 - 7:30 p.m.
“We want to give men a place where they’re not pounded by our culture, but are encouraged to grow in their faith,” says Stoddard. Several of the areas covered will center on fathering skills, family life, making a break from damaging circumstances in past experiences, single men’s issues and many more topics of concern to men.
“We’re not pushing church or any specific doctrine. We’re not trying to get anyone who attends to come to any of our churches. This is all about giving men a place to grow where they feel safe.” Stoddard looks forward to the group support he feels will be a natural byproduct of beginning the fraternity. Originally started in November of 2011 as a local group, the men of First Baptist wanted to make the fraternity a community event.
Spring, 2013 will see the group continue with a curriculum geared for men and teen-aged boys. The classes will deal with practical issues men of all ages face. The community venue will be announced prior to registration
Men’s Fraternity is offered free of charge. The listening book (no reading involved) costs $10 and offers men an opportunity to reinforce what is learned at each lesson. Stoddard says it’s not too late to join and scholarships are offered to men who need assistance in purchasing the book.
Phone First Baptist Church at 575-257-2081 for more information.