Video: Northeast Mississippi Men Attend Annual ‘Gridiron’ Conference


BIRMINGHAM, ALA. (WCBI) – Thousands of men from Northeast Mississippi are back home after spending  the weekend listening to a presidential candidate, a NFL quarterback and some well known Christian leaders.  As WCBI’s Allie Martin reports from Birmingham, it is all part of an annual conference that encourages men to have a positive impact in their communities.

For the third year in a row, Walter Billingsley and his son Chip, spent part of Father’s Day weekend at Birgmingham’s Legacy Arena.

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Walter and Chip joined nearly 10,000 other men from 15 states at the annual “Gridiron” Conference.

“Our goal is we don’t want any man to leave here the same that he came, we want him to go home stronger, we want him to go home better in his relationship with the Lord, we want him to go home to make a difference in the lives of people,” said Dr. Phil Waldrep.

Gridiron is organized by Phil Waldrep Ministries.   Speakers challenged men to live out their Christian faith.  This year’s lineup included, Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson,  Dr. Fred Luter, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention,  New Orleans Quarterback Drew Brees , Dr. Waldrep and other high profile pastors.

Times of worship and praise were led by Christian recording artist Charles Billingsley.

“The Bible says in Psalm 133: 1 “Blessed are those who dwell together in unity” , and that’s exactly what they experience at a conference like this and they begin to see that man, I’m not alone out there, I’m not alone in my business, I’m not alone in my work, I’m not alone in my neighborhood , there’s a lot of guys, a lot, even in your own neighborhood, that love the Lord that want to worship the Lord. ”

Tupelo’s West Jackson Street Baptist Church brought 106 men, the largest group from a single church.  The church’s pastor and its members say Gridiron is much more than a Christian pep rally.

“The theme for this year is “In Motion”, making sure we’re leading and that as men we’re not just sitting in the background, but we’re stepping up to our roles that God gave us as spiritual leaders, to show Jesus, be Jesus and share Jesus,” said Keith Cochran, Pastor of West Jackson Street Baptist Church.

“Everyone has a particular gift from God and we all can influence someone or somebody, with that particular gift,” said Walter Billingsley, who brought his son , Chip.

“I feel more empowered to take up a better leadership role for God and be more proud to be a follower of Christ in such a secular world we have.” said Aaron Lyons, who came with his Dad, Bob.

Plans are in motion for next year’s Gridiron Conference, on Father’s Day weekend.

For more information about Gridiron, go to or