GAYLORD – On Saturday, March 9, from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., the Evangelical Free Church (E-Free) will be hosting its thirteenth annual A Higher Call – Men’s Conference.

This special conference is open to all area Christian men and their sons (age 12 and up). The conference will feature four noted Christian speakers from various backgrounds who will be addressing various issues facing Christian men today.

Among the speakers appearing will be Matt Hammitt, former leader singer for Sanctus Real; vocational minister and author of “The Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart,” Stu Weber; Tom Joyce, the real pilot from the movie, “Top Gun,” and one of the people inside the Pentagon when it was hit on 9-11; Dan Seaborn, founder of the ministry, “Winning at Home.”

The theme for this year’s conference is “BaseCamp: the Journey Begins.”

“The idea behind that is when your base camp is in order, you can climb to the summit [of the mountain],” explains Pastor David Harstine of the E-Free Church, one of the organizers of the event. “The basecamp in all of our lives are those people who are closest to us – our spouse, our girlfriend, our children, parents, buddies we hang around with. We want to make sure to encourage and inspire the men who attend to lead well in their base camp. When they do, sky’s the limit.

“The idea is to encourage men to do well at home, so they can go out into the world and accomplish what God would have them do.”

Two new features have been added to the conference this year. Men attending the conference this year will be taking home a study guide with four chapters, each written by one of the speakers. It is Harstine’s hope the men will share these study guides with other men and form men’s groups in their areas.

The second feature is a video about preparing children to face the world. It is a rite of passage ceremony fathers can use to help children to grow into adulthood with a faith lifestyle.On the video, a father and two sons talk about their experience with such a ceremony and how it benefitted them.

Tickets for the event are available now at or by calling (877) 296-2955. Right now the price is $40, but the price will go up on Friday, March 1 to $45.

Gaylord E-Free Church is located at 1649 M-32 East, just east of Gaylord.

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Kurt J. Kolka grew up in the small community of Grayling, Mich., near the forested AuSable River. After majoring in English at college, he began a career in writing and newspapers spanning more than two decades. In his spare time he creates a Christian comic strip, The Cardinal, which has a 28-year history of publication. He has also authored a book, “Bullying is No Laughing Matter” (Front Edge Publications, Ann Arbor, Mich., 2014) and is working on his first novel. Kurt and his wife Diane have been married for more than 25 years and have one daughter, Rebekah, and an overprotective dog, Alli. Of life, Kurt says, “Life is never dull with God at the steering wheel, but, man, does He have a lead foot!” More about Kurt and his musings may be found at


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