, Muskogee, OK

March 29, 2014

Gathering challenges young men

By Travis Sloat
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Roscoe Beasley said the vision of the Boys to Men conference had nothing to do with the musical group of the same name.

“The vision is to challenge young men to be men, and to challenge adult men to be better men,” Beasley said. We want you to be better fathers, better husbands and better leaders. To walk in integrity.”

Approximately 50 men and young men attended the second annual event at Harvest Ministries Church on Saturday morning. Things kicked off with a continental breakfast provided by the church, and then the men gathered in the sanctuary to participate in praise and worship and hear encouraging words.

Officer Ron Mayes of the Muskogee Police Department spoke to the men first about the appropriate behavior that should be displayed during a traffic stop.

“First and foremost, we don’t want to cause harm, and we don’t want harm to come to us,” Mays said. “We want everyone to go home at the end of the day. Be honest with us. Don’t run from us. To the young men who are with someone else, if they run, you stay put.”

After the presentation from Mayes, the Righteous, Anointed and Whole (RAW) Mime Troupe took the stage and performed a piece set to music. Then, Eddie Taylor briefly introduced Harold Simmons, the keynote speaker.

“Those who need a long introduction don’t deserve one, and those who deserve one don’t need one,” Taylor said.

Simmons started his lesson by asking the men in attendance what their redemptive purpose was.

“Why did a holy God redeem you?” Simmons asked. “Why did he redeem me?”

Simmons used a chair as an illustration for his point.

“That chair was created by a person who had a purpose in mind,” he said. “Then that person named that chair. The chair didn’t have anything to say in the matter. Unless we know our Creator, how are we going to find our purpose?”

Beasley said he had noticed there was a problem in the community when it came to the young men in Muskogee.

“Our young men are falling by the wayside,” Beasley said. “Hopefully, something will be said here today to steer the young men in the right direction.”

Simmons said the problem comes from young men trying to find their identity in what they do instead of who they are.

“I ask people all the time who LeBron James is,” Simmons said. “They tell me he’s a basketball player, and I have to tell them they’re wrong. That’s what he does, but it’s not who he is. You get to choose how you want to live, but you don’t get to choose the consequences that result from your choices.”

Simmons closed by quoting Proverbs 22.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is older he won’t depart from it,” Simmons said. “We have to teach our children. That is the character of biblical men.”

Reach Travis Sloat at (918) 684-2908 or