When it comes to Man Cave Ministry’s impact on his life, Caleb Noland doesn’t mince words.
“I hate to say it, but I would probably not be sitting here today if it wasn’t for the Man Cave,” he reflected. “The way my life was going, I was probably going to die. The Man Cave brought me to Christ — and Christ saved my life.”
As powerful as Noland’s candid testimony is, it’s not that unusual at Man Cave. He is among dozens of men who have experienced spiritual, emotional and personal transformation through the Asheville, North Carolina, men’s ministry.
“I’m a local boy. I was born and raised in this area,” the 32-year-old farmers market worker shared. While he “grew up pretty good,” Noland said he “ended up struggling with alcohol.”
“It started out as a fun thing, kind of something to do on the weekends, and turned into all-consuming over time,” he acknowledged.
While he was “always able to keep a job” and support his wife and three kids, “it was progressing to the point where I was getting ready to lose all those things,” he said. “I was miserable. I was living completely in sin and I was pretty hopeless.
“I had gotten to the point where I was just broken,” he said, when an acquaintance told him about Man Cave which ministers to men dealing with “hurts, habits or hang-ups.”
Mustering up courage
“I think the hardest part is mustering up the courage to do it,” he admitted. “The first two times that I came to the Man Cave, I didn’t make it past the parking lot. I wimped out and then took off.”
On his third attempt, Noland finally made it inside. “I came and heard a testimony that really changed my life,” he said.
He stuck around and ended up visiting with that evening’s speaker as well as Man Cave founder Steve Ward.
“I kind of told them where I was at and told them that I was struggling and they just started loving on me,” Noland said. “Man Cave was accepting of me, even at my lowest point.”
Ward, who founded Man Cave Ministry in 2013, describes it as “a place of rescue.” Working with Noland and others in recent years, Ward said, “For me, the win for this is seeing the difference in the lives of these men, watching the transformation.”
“There was no judgment when I came in the Man Cave,” Noland agreed. After a couple of months of “being able to be comfortable with them, I was able to open up and then ultimately accept Christ as my Savior. That was really the big turning point for me.”
Recounting his spiritual conversion, Noland said he was transformed from “sin and darkness and sadness” to “new life.”
“I just got so excited. I started digging into my Bible and I started sharing that with my family,” Noland said. Noting that his wife already was a Christian, he said, “Our home turned into a place for Christ and it’s changed my life.”
Before discovering Man Cave, “I was a hair’s breadth of losing my wife and kids,” he confessed. “I was so busy running away from my problems and trying to medicate myself that I wasn’t there as a father.”
All of that began to change after he came to faith in Christ. “My relationship with my wife has absolutely changed,” he emphasized. “We’re strong.”
But he also is candid about the real-life challenges, explaining that “we actually still go to some marriage counseling because you don’t fix 12 years of damage overnight.”
As for his kids, “all they wanted was their dad and they’ve got him now,” he said. “They’re the most important thing on earth to me and I was so close to losing them.
“Now I get the kids up every morning and we do a little Bible study,” he shared. “Whenever my 4-year-old runs up to me with her little kids’ Bible and says, ‘I want to hear a Jesus story,’ I’m the leader of that now and that’s so amazing.”
Voicing gratitude for Man Cave’s ongoing impact on his life and family, Noland concluded, “Because of the Man Cave and having the brotherhood that I have, it’s absolutely changed my life … Jesus lives in our house.”