Kathy Bertram and Mitch Hodge are members of "Team Intense", an evangelistic strength team that will be ministering every evening, Sunday through Wednesday, this week at Westmoreland Baptist Church. Their "intensity" is obvious as they perform feats of strength that will amaze every person in their audience, but the entire purpose of their work is to exalt Christ, and bring people to saving faith in Him.
Kathy is a U.S. Air Force veteran, who met her future husband while they were both in the service. She has lived in the U.S. and Japan. After a bad automobile accident she got into body building and eventually, six years ago, began in strength ministry. She is only the second woman ever to be involved in this type of ministry. Although she makes her home in Biloxi, MS at the present, Kathy and her husband will be moving back to her native Minnesota in the near future.
Mitch was born and raised in Idaho, where he owns a gym and a screen printing business. He has been involved in body building since his high school days and has won such competitions as "Mr. Idaho", "Mr. Northwest", and "Mr. Western America". He is also involved in world strong man competition. His soft spoken manner belies the tremendous physical strength he possesses. Mitch began his work in strength ministry with the world famous Power Team several years ago. He is an ordained minister and evangelist, and he and his wife, Shari, have a 16 year old son named Gabriel.
Mitch will be bringing the message this morning in our 10:45 AM worship service at Westmoreland Baptist Church
Team Intense will be appearing during the days Monday through Wednesday in assemblies in several elementary, middle and high schools. They will preform feats of strength and give the students a positive message about character, honor, and integrity. While encouraging them to be good students, Mitch and Kathy will also warn the kids about the dangers of alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, and bullying. Each child (and teacher) will be invited to the service that evening at Westmoreland Baptist Church. There Mitch and Kathy will perform even more amazing feats of strength, but will also share a powerful presentation of the Gospel to all in attendance.
As impressive as their public feats of strength are, Kathy and Mitch's love for Jesus and passion for sharing the Good News is equally striking. I had opportunity to get personally acquainted with Mitch and Kathy during the five hours we spent together, and I can tell you that these two folks love Jesus, and want others to come to know Him as well.
Some cynics may ask, "Why do we have to have this type of event at the church? Is this really necessary?" The answer to that is, because we haven't yet gotten the job done in reaching our community for Christ. We must do whatever it takes to get the Gospel to where the people are. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:22, "I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some". While this week's activities are not those of the typical Baptist church's "Revival Campaign", many will hear the Gospel, through the ministry of Team Intense.
There are numerous people in our community who would never attend a traditional church service, but would flock to this place to see such a performance. They will witness a man and a woman breaking baseball bats, tearing phone books in half, busting bricks and cinder blocks, ripping license plates, and bending steel rods into a pretzel. But more importantly, while there, they will hear the Gospel presented in power and clarity. Thousands of folks around the country have given their lives to Christ as a result of the ministry of Team Intense.
I hope that every member of Westmoreland Baptist Church will support this evangelistic effort, with their prayer and attendance. Invite all your friends, co-workers, fellow students, to come to the program with you. Don't expect deep theological exegesis of the scriptures. That is not what Mitch and Kathy do during these crusades. But they do share the greatest theological truth ever communicated - "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."