Pumped for Christ
By By Adam Prestridge
Members of John Jacobs' Next Generation Power Force wowed audiences Sunday during two performances at McCullough Christian Center.
The powerful performance left young and old alike on the edges of their seats as team members with the Power Force displayed feats of strength that they use as a ministry all across the world. From ripping the Yellow Pages in half and bending 3/4-inch pieces of rebar steel to breaking bricks with their heads and lifting power poles over their heads, the evangelists shared their ministry of how and why they now use their "God-given" strength as their ministry.
"God uses me now for something I used to have a weakness in, the ministry," team member George Milam, who has been with the Power Force, originally called the Power Team, since 1999. "I use my strength now as my ministry. I wish I would have had somebody like me to get me back on the right track. I wanted to share my story with everyone in hopes of helping them."
Milam's story is a rough one to say the least. He grew up in Prattville, just outside Montgomery, and became interested in body building after his father left behind some old weightlifting magazines when he abandoned his mother. By the time he was 16 years old, he was the biggest student in school, a star football player and already being recruited by colleges across the country.
Leading up to his high school fame, Milam's mother attempted to commit suicide and he didn't have a relationship with God. Following his sophomore year, he began drinking and doing drugs, which eventually took over his life.
Before long, drugs and alcohol consumed Milam's life and he eventually became addicted to Crystal Methamphetamine, a.k.a. Meth. In 1996, he overdosed on Meth and nearly died. The following day, he listened to the words of his sister, Melody Horton, who had been encouraging her brother to attend church and find Christ.
"At this point, my brain cells were fried and hadn't cried in a long time," Milam said during the performance.
During that service, Milam answered an altar call and "broke those chains" that had tied him down to drugs and alcohol. He also cried for the first time in a long time and knew then, he was going to devote his life to Christ.
McCullough Christian youth minister Steve Burton said the Power Force's performance was inspiring.
"It's went very well," he said Monday afternoon. "We had great assemblies today and it was well received by the students and faculty. We're excited that we're doing it, not just because we as McCullough Christian Center is doing it, but because people are receiving it well. That's really what it's all about, the community, not our church. We feel real good about it all the way around."
The Power Force performed for students at Bay Minette Middle School and in Monroe County on Monday. Tuesday, they had performances at Ernest Ward Middle School in Walnut Hill, Fla. and at J.U. Blacksher in Monroe County.
Today, students at Escambia Academy, Escambia County Middle School and Escambia County High School will witness the Power Force's feats of strength.
Burton said McCullough Christian wants to be sure to reach the future of Atmore and surrounding communities, which prompted them to host performances in local schools.
"That's where the teenagers are," Burton said. "If we're going to reach them, we have to go where they are. The schools are where they are as a group. That's the best way we can direct them. Schools are the best places and they need our help in the community. We hear that a lot from principals in the community."
As for Milam, he said opening night went superb.
"It was a great night," he said. "I like seeing souls come forward to be saved. I don't like the feats of strength that much any more, but it's a talent God gave me and I use it to get people to attend. As long as souls come forward, it's a good night."
Other team members performing include, Jack Little of Tampa, Fla.; Keith Mackey of Ashville, N.C. who performed for his first time Sunday and Ralph Henneman of Ohio.
"One of the biggest reasons we wanted the Power Force is because they are so well known, which made it really, really easy for us to mention them to the schools," Burton said. "Due to their reputation it made it very easy. Reputation carries you very far and it says a lot for them."
The Power Force will perform at Escambia Academy at 9 a.m. today. At 1 p.m., they will be at Escambia County High School followed by a performance at Escambia County Middle School at 2:15 p.m. They will perform tonight at MCC at 7 p.m.
In 1976, John Jacobs founded strength ministries, as we know it today, by utilizing feats of strength to communicate positive messages to audiences in churches, civic centers, stadiums, and coliseums all across the nation, as well as the world. They have been featured in "People Magazine", the "Saturday Evening Post", and on the popular TV show, Walker, Texas Ranger, watched by an estimated 16.5 million. They have also been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN. For over ten years they have had their own television show called The Power Connection, viewed by millions around the world.
John Jacobs' Next Generation Power Force has performed over 20,000 school assemblies over the past 25 years, and is ranked as one of the top school assemblies in the nation. Believing that inspiration and motivation equals academic and personal achievement, they tackle the tough issues of drugs, alcohol, violence, abstinence, peer pressure, and suicide.