Men's Barn Meeting Founder Jim Porter along with his sons Mark and Scott got the idea from a friend who regularly attended a similar event in Alabama. When the friend died of lung cancer at age 29, they started a Florida Men's Barn Meeting in his memory. "Jim Styles always wanted us to go to the Alabama meeting and, ironically, the night we finally attended was the night Jim died. Once we were there, we knew it was something we needed to do in our area," says Scott.
Ten years ago, 24 men came for the very first dinner and meeting on the Porters' secluded wooded property. Now churches bring buses, and men from the local homeless shelter often account for a third of the attendees. The first meetings were held out in the open. Then they grew to fill a small barn and now a bigger barn is filled to capacity. Only hurricanes have cancelled the monthly eventtwice.
The Porters even take the concept on the road. In 2008 Scott and Mark started "Trophies of Grace," a traveling display featuring some of the world's prize mounted deer. Porter says, "The Lord just allowed it all to work out through donations. It's always been a non-profit meeting with no charges thanks to very generous donations of partner churches. Even $50,000 in prize mounts was donated for Trophies of Grace.'"
Every year, hundreds of lost people find salvation and receive follow-up care from local churches. Taylor says, "It's my passion for men to know Christ and fall in love with him. It's an exciting time at the Men's Barn Meeting, while watching the fellowship, smelling the steaks, and feeling the warm fire. One of the greatest feelings is to watch all the men, no matter their status, fellowship as equals, calling out to God. I get closer with Him every time we go."