No, we don’t fly around the sky fighting villains like the Marvel Comics superhero. Instead, Iron Men are your average everyday guys in the church gathering together in small and large groups for encouragement, study, and prayer.
Ironman started in 2006 as a cooperative effort of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of the North Hills (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) and Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church (Gibsonia, Pennsylvania). This ministry provides guidance for men to meet with one another regularly to engage in Bible Study, prayer, mutual encouragement, accountability, and fellowship. Some of the men have been meeting together for more than a decade. In the past few years, College Hill Reformed Presbyterian Church (Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania) has also joined.
It is effortless for men to gather and never really take up important topics of Christian living. We can occupy hours on sports, work, home projects, bacon, and other topics. While none of these things in themselves are inappropriate, men need to sharpen each other with the Word of God intentionally. Ironmen strengthen each other’s Christian journey, building godly, mutually beneficial relationships with other men of the church to equip them for faithful and fulfilling service in their churches, families, and workplaces.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”Proverbs 27:17
In addition to small groups, Ironmen gather annually at the Laurelville Retreat Center near Pittsburgh for a teaching and fellowship weekend. These retreats have a wonderful blend of prayer, conversation, singing, and thought-provoking teaching. Laurelville, the home of the Presbytery of the Alleghenies Family Camp, provides a beautiful backdrop for spending time with our brothers in faith as we seek to honor God in all areas of our lives.
The 2021 gathering was led by Rev. Keith Evans with the topic, “Holy Masculinity: Serving Christ with our Gender.” In addition to the practical teaching, a favorite activity is the sunrise psalm sing on Sunset Hill overlooking the Laurel Highlands grand vistas. A highlight of the weekend is breaking into small groups to pray very specifically for each other.
Mark Sampson is a Ruling Elder at Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gibsonia, PA. He has been a part of the Iron Man ministry since 2007.