Daily Times: Feed Your Faith gives large donation to Family Promise

(Originally Published in The Daily Times July 30, 2009 by reporter Joel Davis) — MARYVILLE, Tenn. — Local Christian charity Feed Your Faith has donated $14,277 to the new Family Promise of Blount County program. The money was raised at the Feed Your Faith Marriage Conference featuring actor Kirk Cameron at Sevier Heights Baptist Church on July 18.

Kirk Cameron speaks at the Feed Your Faith Marriage Conference

“Feed Your Faith was started to bring thought-provoking Christian speakers, authors and musicians to East Tennessee so we could raise money for those in need,” said founder Mike Williams. “Family Promise embodies everything we wanted to support with our ministry, and we’re pleased to know this event will continue to touch people’s lives through the marriage conference and the great things Family Promise of Blount County does right here in our community.”

The new Family Promise of Blount County program allows local churches to provide overnight accommodations and meals for homeless families on a rotating basis.

“We at Family Promise of Blount County are so grateful to Feed Your Faith and the ministry they are providing in East Tennessee,” Executive Director Mandy Stinnett Adkins said. “The generous donation will serve families in need in Blount County.”

Feed Your Faith is currently finalizing plans for a number of upcoming events including a major men’s conference and another concert event. All proceeds from Feed Your Faith events go to local charities. During the past three-and-a-half years, Feed Your Faith has raised tens of thousands of dollars for local charities including Compassion Coalition, Family Promise, School of Hope and Knox Area Rescue Ministries.

Cross-denominational mission

The local churches that have agreed to participate in the Family Promise network so far are Beech Grove Baptist Church, Carpenter’s Campground United Methodist Church, Fairview United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church-Maryville, First United Methodist Church of Maryville, Forest Hill Baptist Church, Friendsville First Baptist Church, Monte Vista Baptist Church, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, St. Paul Lutheran Church and Sycamore Tree United Methodist Church.

(L to R) Feed Your Faith co-director Rick Laney, Kirk Cameron and Feed Your Faith founder Mike Williams

There are several support churches, whose members have agreed to provide volunteers and other support to the program, as well: Alcoa First United Methodist Church, Bethel Baptist Church, Broadway United Methodist Church, Embassy Christian Center, Friendsville United Methodist Church, Highland Presbyterian Church, New Providence Presbyterian Church, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Peck’s Memorial United Methodist Church and St. John’s United Methodist Church.

Green Meadow United Methodist Church serves as the day center for the program, giving families a place to stay during the day while they look for housing and work. The day center provides a stable telephone number, mailing address and a base of operations for participants.

If 13 churches participated, each church would host from three to five families for a week each quarter. Budgets for each church would be between $200 and $250 each week.

The average stay for families in Family Promise programs nationwide is 52 days. Ideally, the families are in the program for no more than three months. The families are required to seek employment and housing. Failure to work toward independence means termination from the program. Families are referred to Family Promise through the school systems, social services and various nonprofit organizations.

To make a referral to Family Promise, community members can contact Family Promise at (865) 233-4737.

Copyright 2009 The Daily Times

WVLT-TV Covers the Feed Your Faith Marriage Conference with Kirk Cameron and Warren Barfield

Sara Shookman (WVLT)

(Originally aired on CBS Television on July 18, 2009 by reporter Sara Shookman) KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — More than half of marriages in this country end in divorce.

But a big event here hopes to keep it from happening in Knoxville by “feeding your faith.”

After being inspired by the movie Fireproof, David and Rose Rutledge, and more than 3,500 others turned out to hear movie star turned evangelist Kirk Cameron offer a few words of advice.

The Rutledges are new to marriage.

But like the rest of the crowd at Sevier Heights Baptist Church, they came to find out how to keep their relationship alive.

“It’s been awesome so far and we want to make sure it stays awesome, so we’ve been going to different marriage conventions and reading books together,” says David Rutledge.

Organizer Rick Laney says, “There is a built in audience in East Tennessee for that type of message, needless to say. Anytime you have a 50 percent of marriages failing, there’s some level of need for the message of building stronger marriages.”

North Carolina-born songwriter Warren Barfield contributed.

“Even here in the bible belt, i still think people take marriage very lightly. A lot of people view it as the next step,” says Barfield.

But the message was good marriages take work and a lot of time.

Cameron says spending more time together is essential — down to the minute.

“It’s a daily loving and treasuring and honoring kind of a thing. Those are hard things to hear, hard things to admit that you’re not doing. And even harder things to change.”

Cameron suggests 15 minutes a day, one evening a week, one day a month and a weekend a year.

Amy and Chris Mathews of Knoxville say that could be a challenge.

“I don’t know that we can do that, but I think if you just make a conscious effort to change and spend that time. No other distractions, just each other, it would be nice,” says Amy.

The Rutledges have their own goals as they prepare for family life to begin.

“Do more for her. Make an active effort to go out of my way,” says David.

“Try to be more understanding. A little more patient and less emotional. Just taking it one day at a time,” says Rose.

Feed your Faith aims to bring Christian leaders to East Tennessee to raise money for local charities.

All proceeds from the event will benefit Family Promise of Blount County.

Watch the entire WVLT report here.

Copyright 2009 WVLT-TV Knoxville

Knoxville News Sentinel: Feed Your Faith event raises funds to help the hurting

(From the Knoxville News Sentinel, July 25, 2009 by Nancy Twigg) — “I’m just a regular guy with a wife and six kids trying to honor God in the trenches of life,” actor Kirk Cameron told the audience at the Feed Your Faith Marriage Conference Saturday, July 18, at Sevier Heights Baptist Church in Southwest Knoxville.

Following the Feed Your Faith Marriage Conference at Sevier Heights Baptist Church, Kirk Cameron signs copies of his book “Still Growing” for Keli Hodges, center, and Melissa Watson.

Cameron may seem as ordinary as the guy next door, but as the star of the 1980s sitcom, “Growing Pains,” the “Left Behind” film series and last year’s “Fireproof,” he is anything but average. Besides having an impressive acting career, he is also an outspoken Christian. Cameron led both an afternoon and evening conference last Saturday which drew a combined crowd of almost 4,000.

Attendees listened as Cameron used examples from “Fireproof” and his own 18-year marriage to actress Chelsea Noble to explain biblical principles for building a strong marriage. Repeatedly Cameron stressed the importance of first submitting to God before trying to fix what is broken in the marriage.

“Only God can transform the human heart,” explains Cameron. “It’s not about getting a new spouse. It’s about asking God to use you to be a vessel of change in your home.”

The highlight of each conference came when Cameron extended an invitation for couples wishing to pray for their marriages to come forward. As Cameron prayed, more couples kneeled and huddled together at the front of the sanctuary than remained in their seats.

That kind of response was exactly what Feed Your Faith founder Mike Williams had hoped for. When he started the nonprofit group in 2006, he had two objectives in mind: help Christians grow in their faith and help those in need.

“My family moved here from Seattle in 2001. I had been exposed to seeing Christian speakers and concerts quite regularly there,” explains Williams, a nuclear reactor operator at Oak Ridge National Laboratories. “I found there weren’t many Christian speakers coming to Knoxville. I decided I wanted to have speakers come and then donate the proceeds to good causes, especially those that help the homeless.”

Later that year, Williams joined forces with Rick Laney, an account executive for Ackermann Public Relations in Knoxville. As a two-man volunteer operation, they keep expenses low in order to donate as much as possible to the charities Feed Your Faith supports.

“We joke that Feed Your Faith offices are in my bedroom and Mike’s basement,” says Laney. “After each event, we cover all expenses and then we zero out the checkbook. All proceeds go to the charities.”

The benefactor of the Cameron marriage conference will be Family Promise of Blount County. Family Promise is a national organization that works with local churches to help homeless families get back on their feet. After all conference expenses are paid, Feed Your Faith expects to donate more than $10,000 to Family Promise.

In three years of operation, Feed Your Faith has hosted nine different events and raised tens of thousands of dollars for area ministries including Knox Area Rescue Ministries and Second Harvest Food Bank. Williams and Laney put in many hours to make these events happen. Why do they work so hard?

“When Mike was out in Seattle struggling with a young family and was approached by homeless people, he’d always give something – snack foods, energy bars, money if he had it,” explains Laney. “Mike is truly one of those people who has a heart for those in need.”

“Homelessness hits me the hardest because I have kids,” adds Williams. “I can’t imagine how hard it would be to have my kids out on the streets.”

The News Sentinel is profiling East Tennessee ministries in 2009. Please send suggestions to features@knoxnews.com. Nancy Twigg is a freelance contributor to the News Sentinel.

Copyright 2009 Knoxville News Sentinel

Second Feed Your Faith FIREPROOF Your Marriage Conference Added

A sold-out crowd for the first Feed Your Faith FIREPROOF event in Knoxville, Tennessee

(Originally posted July 13, 2009) – KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Feed Your Faith announces the addition of a second Feed Your Faith Marriage Conference at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 18, 2009 at Sevier Heights Baptist Church.  The first Feed Your Faith Marriage Conference, which takes place that evening at 7 p.m., sold out completely in March just weeks after tickets went on sale.

Feed Your Faith is bringing actor, author and evangelist Kirk Cameron to Knoxville for this important conference. Following the success of his 1980s hit television show, Growing Pains, Kirk Cameron married actress Chelsea Noble and started a family. Today the father of six is an outspoken believer and has starred in the Left Behind movie series as well as the widely acclaimed movie Fireproof that was released in theaters nationwide last year. The East Tennessee market was one of the most successful markets in the nation for the Fireproof movie.

Kirk Cameron

For the past three years, Feed Your Faith has been bringing the best and brightest Christian speakers, authors and performing artists to East Tennessee to feed the faithful while raising tens of thousands of dollars for groups including Family Promise, Knox Area Rescue Ministries, Second Harvest Food Bank and the School of Hope (a Blount County-based school for single mothers).  Proceeds from this event will benefit the brand new Family Promise of Blount County.

A few years ago, Mike Williams – a Blount County resident with a heart for people who are struggling – started Feed Your Faith. Rick Laney joined him as Feed Your Faith’s marketing and promotions director three years ago.  The Feed Your Faith concept was simple; bring in Christian speakers, authors, singers and music groups to help Christians grow in their faith and, at the same time, raise money for those who are less fortunate. Unlike some nonprofit and charity groups, Feed Your Faith has virtually no overhead expenses – so once the cost of bringing the event to town is covered, proceeds go directly to local charities.

Warren Barfield

To date, Feed Your Faith has brought nationally known writers and music groups including Lee Strobel (former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune and author of The Case for Christ), author Mark Middleberg, DecembeRadio, Decyfer Down and Sanctus Real (Dove Award winning Christian Rock and Alternative band) to East Tennessee.

North Carolina-born singer/songwriter Warren Barfield, whose hit song Love Is Not A Fight was featured in the Fireproof movie, will appear with Cameron at both of the Feed Your Faith Marriage Conferences in Knoxville.  The Feed Your Faith Marriage Conference is generously sponsored by Cedar Springs Christian Stores, Sevier Heights Baptist Church, Love 89.1FM, Life 88.3FM, and Joy620AM.

The Feed Your Faith Marriage Conference featuring Kirk Cameron will be at Sevier Heights Baptist Church at 3232 Alcoa Highway in Knoxville at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 18.  For tickets or more information, visit www.FeedYourFaith.org.

Feed Your Faith Adds Second FIREPROOF Your Marriage Conference because of overwhelming demand

(Originally posted July 07, 2009) – – KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Feed Your Faith, a Knoxville-based charity that brings Christian speakers, authors and performing artists to East Tennessee while raising money for those in need, has announced it is adding an afternoon session to the Feed Your Faith Marriage Conference featuring actor, writer and evangelist Kirk Cameron AND singer/songwriter Warren Barfield LIVE for a special afternoon and evening.

Due to your demand, we are pleased to announce that there is a new, additional Feed Your Faith Marriage Conference featuring actor, writer and evangelist Kirk Cameron at Sevier Heights Baptist Church on Saturday afternoon July 18.  Although the 7 p.m. conference has been Sold Out for months, tickets are now available for an afternoon conference starting at 1 p.m. featuring the star of the hit movie FIREPROOF, Kirk Cameron.

Kirk Cameron

The Feed Your Faith Marriage Conference will be at Sevier Heights Baptist Church on Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 1 p.m. (doors open at noon).  Tickets are available now at www.FeedYourFaith.org.

All proceeds from the Fireproof Your Marriage Conference will go to the brand new Family Promise of Blount County.  Learn more about Family Promise at www.FamilyPromise.org.

Cameron and his wife, actress Chelsea Noble, have six children and have been married since 1991.  The couple starred together in the Left Behind series of movies based on the New York Times best-selling books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.

Since its start in 2006, Feed Your Faith has raised tens of thousands of dollars for East Tennessee charities.

Warren Barfield

For more information about the Feed Your Faith Marriage Conference featuring Kirk Cameron at Sevier Heights Baptist Church in Knoxville, or to order tickets to the event, visit Feed Your Faith’s web site at www.FeedYourFaith.org .

Sevier Heights Baptist Church, Cedar Springs Christian Bookstores, Love89.1FM radio, Life 88 radio and Joy 620 radio are proud sponsors of Feed Your Faith.

Feed Your Faith is a Knoxville-based charity that brings the best and brightest Christian speakers, authors and performing artists to East Tennessee while raising money for those in need.