By ANGYE MORRISON
Alex Grovenstein says he had a vision for a men’s breakfast about 15 years ago, but for whatever reason, he tucked the idea away on the shelf.
“I kind of ignored God’s call to do it. I don’t know why I shelved it, but it’s come back to me, as I’ve grown and come to a different point in my life,” he said.
So Grovenstein went to three friends and shared his idea with them.
“I went to three other guys to help me, and shared with them this idea of having a simple breakfast targeting men and the issues that men face. Those three other guys had been thinking about the same thing — it had been on their hearts as well,” he said. “We all found each other for a reason.”
Those three men are Matt Wise, Steve Brooks and Jonathan Smith. The foursome has partnered to create the Statesboro Men’s Breakfast, with the first one being held last month. Sixty-four men attended that day to hear guest speaker Jay Hanson from Brunswick, Georgia.
Grovenstein says the recipe is simple: good food and fellowship, a great speaker, and all done in plenty of time to allow attendees to get to work. The whole idea behind the breakfast is to help men deal with the issues they face from day to day. The breakfast is 100 percent Christian-based, Grovenstein says, but it’s not tied to any specific church.
“People can get weird about that kind of stuff,” he said. “We want everybody to come from all of them. It’s simple. It’s breakfast and a speaker. It’s not a civic club, not business networking. Zero pressure. It’s a place where white collar guys and blue collar guys can come together.”
Because the breakfast is church-neutral, Grovenstein, Wise, Brooks and Smith decided that neutral ground would be the best place to meet. So the breakfast will be held at Shug’s on Main on the second Wednesday of each month. The breakfast begins at 6:45 a.m., but the food lines will open at 6:30. Grovenstein says everything will wrap up by 7:45.
“Speakers will not go over. We want to get everyone out to work on time,” he said. “It’s very informal. We just want you there to listen and participate.”
The issues that will be covered are varied, but come straight from the men themselves. Initially, Grovenstein, Wise, Brooks and Smith sent out surveys in their own circles, asking three questions: What do you think is the biggest issue facing men today? What is the biggest issue facing you today? How old are you?
The data from the initial survey was compiled into a list of the most popular responses, and those are the issues that will be discussed at the breakfasts. Surveys will be offered at each breakfast, along with one on the breakfast Facebook page. That data will be melded into the original, and the topics will always come from that feedback, Grovenstein said.
Topics gleaned from surveys thus far include family leadership, financial stability, men’s health, loneliness and fellowship, time management and male identity.
Grovenstein says they are looking mostly out of market for speakers, because they don’t want to fall into just asking all the local pastors to speak. But they’re not opposed to a good local speaker.
“The speaker will be an expert on the topic, professional or personal. The topic will always come from the feedback,” he said.
He says the ultimate goal of the breakfast is to not only serve the men of the community, but to equip them to serve others as well.
“We’re never going to be anything more than breakfast. We’re not going to turn into a church. We’re not going to turn into a Sunday school class. We’re not going to do it. Our ultimate goal is that the men who attend would take the things that they learn from there back into their churches and their families and their businesses and their civic clubs and their business networking groups, and take the things that they learn and spread it to other men, to put those lessons into practice themselves and to help other men as well, and to help their families, and employees and everybody in our community,” Grovenstein said.
They are also hoping that fellowship groups will develop among those who attend the breakfasts. And all four of the event organizers will also be available if anyone should need them.
“Are we turning into a counseling service? No. That’s not what we’re going to be. But if somebody is having a hard time and they feel like they don’t have anybody else to talk to, we’ll talk to them. We’ll help them,” he said.
Grovenstein says he wants everyone to know that there is common ground, no matter where you come from or what your job is.
“The bank executive may be dealing with the same exact issue that the welder is,” he said. “I think that’s going to be the magic of this thing, is when those guys realize that.”
Cost for the breakfast is $15, to cover the costs of the facility and food. Men who wish to attend can purchase a ticket ahead of time by going to the Facebook page, @statesboromensbreakfast. It’s important to purchase the ticket ahead of time so that organizers know how much food will be needed, but if you wish to pay at the door, Grovenstein said he just needs to know you’re coming.
All four men are excited about what the breakfast can accomplish, within the fellowship groups that form there, and out in the community.
“It’s for everybody; regardless of where you work, regardless of your race, regardless of where you go to church. It’s for everybody,” he said.
The next breakfast is set for March 11 at 6:45 a.m.