No Man Left Behind
A U.S. Army veteran who served during the Vietnam War, Pastor Mike Modica believes no one should have to face life's battles alone.
The motto for his church's men's group is: "No man left behind." Guys who attend the weekly men's services receive a military-style dog tag with the inscription.
"I would take these guys to any firefight in the world," says Modica, senior pastor and men's ministries director at First Assembly of God in DeLand, Florida. "We're all brothers."
Modica says this army of men is the backbone of his church.
"When you get a dad in church and serving the Lord, there is a 75 percent chance of reaching his entire family," Modica says. "We want to hold men accountable to their calling: to love God, love their wives, and love their children."
The group meets every Thursday, with attendance ranging from 50 to 160. When the Florida weather is mild, the guys gather around an outdoor fire pit with cups of gourmet coffee. Each man introduces himself and then either offers a simple prayer or shares a need, struggle, temptation, or prayer request.
Modica says this routine creates an atmosphere of bonding, brotherhood, and open communication.
"Building a fire and being outdoors with a beautiful view adds something," Modica says. "It's a great place for men to be accountable, share their needs, and bring their friends. If someone is struggling, we're able to take the time to pray and help that person. Sometimes we have salvations from guys just visiting."
Though he juggles a multitude of responsibilities as senior pastor of a large congregation, Modica makes himself readily available to men in the group. He passes out his cellphone number and invites guys to call him any time. He prepares a daily devotion called Morning Munitions and delivers it, via text, to the men and others in the church and community. And he leads the weekly men's meeting.
"They have access to me 24/7, and I wouldn't have it any other way," Modica says. "How can I send my men out to battle without me being with them?"
The military motif is more than just a metaphor. The men's group represents an army of volunteers. Specially trained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Convoy of Hope, the group mobilizes and springs into action following hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and other natural disasters in the region.
"Men want to have a mission and be able to serve their community," Modica says. "We bring them in and give them a place. Then we give them a purpose."