Bishop Tony Mitchell Sr. loves to restore hot rods. He especially likes Corvettes.
He said he enjoys taking something in poor shape and making it into something beautiful.
Cars are a hobby, but restoration is a full-time job.
Mitchell is pastor of Shekinah Glory Worship Center on Morningside Drive in Columbus, a church he founded after retiring from the U.S. Army as a first sergeant in 2001.
The nondenominational ministry began in a home with seven people in attendance. It is now in its third location, with 250-300 members.
The church calls itself, "A ministry that is restoring lives by the life-changing power of the word of God."
The word "restoration" is present in giant gold letters in the sanctuary.
Mitchell, 51, is a family man.
The native of Jacksonville, Fla., has been married for 33 years and has four children. A son and daughter attend Harris County High School.
Strengthening of family and community is the focus of a special conference his church is sponsoring. Called "Man Up and Fight," the men-only event is Jan. 17-18.
The goal is to bring men together from all backgrounds, churches and races to empower them to take their rightful position in their homes, community and churches.
The conference will be held in the ministry center of St. Luke United Methodist Church in Columbus.
"Something in man has to be fixed," he said.
Mitchell will teach, as will Bishop L.D. Skinner Sr. of Bread of Life Christian Center, the Rev. Marcus Gibson of Greater Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church and Pastor Robert Jones of One Way Deliverance Family Worship Ministries.
"As we look at the world and community we are struggling," Mitchell said. "Families are not what they should be. Too many kids are raising themselves."
"There are too many divorces," he said. "There are too many men, especially African American, in jail.
"The strength core of the family is the man," Mitchell said.
And, he said, not enough men are doing what is needed to keep the family strong.
This conference is part of a series with other conferences planned.
This one will address the spiritual restoration of men.
Others will be more practical, with men learning from professionals in the community how to do things around the home, such as plumbing and electrical work, to aid the family.
"You know, there are some men who can't even fix a tire," Mitchell said.
Mitchell, whose brother is also a pastor, said stronger men in a family will "strengthen the community and the kingdom."
He said even those families going to church are in trouble. "They hear sermons but don't learn," he said.
Mitchell said, "We have to win the battle within ourselves."
The cost for the conference is $40, though attendance only on Friday night is free. Those interested can call 706-563-3871 or register online at www.sgwcchurch.com.
"We'll start at 8 on Saturday morning and be through shortly after lunch. We want men to go back and be with their families on a Saturday."