By Morgan Smith, Faith Editor
OBU’s Men’s Ministry is always looking for ways to expand its discipleship, and this semester its members decided to combine the spiritual with the physical through SoulCon.
SoulCon is a six-week long program that combines bible study with a diet and workout routine.
OBU junior Chancellor Stillwell did the challenge last semester.
“I was kind of the guinea pig,” Stillwell said.
“I went through it the first semester of Fall just to see if it would work and if we’d be able to do it as ministry. I thought it was great and definitely saw how we could do this semester.”
The program lasted from February 13 to March 24.
Juniors Noah Nelson and Cade Chlouber are two of the co-leaders of Men’s Ministry.
Nelson said the group decided to do SoulCon to attract new members.
“We were kind of in position where we weren’t getting the numbers or attraction that we wanted, so we felt doing something different than just a normal Bible study would present a different avenue from the men on campus,” Nelson said.
Before the program started, Stillwell met with its creator, OBU graduate Cody Bobay.
“He already had a connection with this campus and was good friends with Dale Griffin, the Dean of Spiritual Life, so that was an opening that we already had there,” Chlouber said.
“He was gracious enough to come speak to us the first night and give us a little more information about what the program is.”
Soulcon participants met every Tuesday at 9:00 p.m.
The group consisted of students and faculty members, including Dean Griffin and David Gardiner, the coordinator of intramural sports.
“It was just a great time fellowship, for one, to kind of get together and share how the week had been going, but in addition to that there would be workouts every day except Saturday and Sunday,” Stillwell said.
Workouts alternated between weight training and body building, and the diet consisted of vegetables and lean meats, such as steak and chicken.
No soda or junk food was allowed.
“It wasn’t just you’re dieting and not getting to eat a lot, it’s just you’re eating the right things multiple times a day,” Stillwell said.
“We actually had five meals a day, honestly, and if you stick to the plan from the morning on you’re not going to be hungry.”
In addition, there was a 40 day devotional that members read from each day.
“We had a test in on the first week where we had a couple different physical challenges where we had to test in and see where we were at, and we also did a test out where we re-tested those same challenges,” Nelson said.
“We also had different food challenges where there’d be a day of fasting and days where we could have only a limited amount of carbs.”
Chlouber said that although the challenges were difficult, doing it together made them easier.
“It filled the hole that we felt like was present in men’s ministry,” Stillwell said. “It was something that we were doing every day, we stayed in contact with each other doing updates. It really helped foster that fellowship with one another.”
Both Nelson and Stillwell said that the self-denying nature of the challenge also helped them to grow spiritually.
“Not only did it allow us to draw closer to Christ through meetings, but also the whole aspect of denying yourself, denying your flesh,” Stillwell said “The whole program is really centered on this idea that if you can have the restraint to resist certain types of food you will have the discipline to resist other areas of sin.”
Nelson said that if he had to put two main points behind the program, it would be brotherhood and discipline.
“I took away how to relate spiritualness into the physical realm, the fitness realm,” Nelson said.
“This helped me see that I can lift and have a spiritual reason for why I lift, or I can eat healthy and I can have a reason for why I eat healthy.”
Members of Men’s Ministry have already talked to David Gardiner about doing it as an intramural, while also expanding it.
“We don’t want this to just be something for the students, but we want it to be transformative for the whole OBU community as well, not only students but also professors and other men on campus,” Stillwell said.