This past weekend we ended a series on purity with two retreats. We planned our series to discuss some major issues so that we the retreat started we weren’t at square one. I decided early on that I wanted to end this series with two retreats–one for the guys and one for the girls. From the beginning, I felt pretty strong that these retreats should look a lot different. I didn’t want to force our guys to attend a “typical” purity retreat filled with workshops and class time. Heck, I didn’t even want to attend something like that and I’m one of the ministers. So, Neil (the other student minister) and I set out to plan something totally different. We set our hearts on a “rite of passage” retreat. The number one thing we wanted to communicate was that they have what it takes to be a Godly man in a ungodly world. Our goal was to provide adventure, set up challenges, and engage them on a man to man level. Now that the retreats over, I can reflect a bit about what took place. Here are some major things that we set up for these guys.
1. We rented a cabin on a lake.
(We actually rented a cabin at the local Christian service camp which sits on a lake)
2. We took off our shirts and “came clean.”
Each person gave their testimony without a shirt on to symbolize transparency. We then gave them a shirt to write their struggles on. Everyone wore that shirt the whole weekend until we burned them.
3. We decided that we wanted to have a “renaming” ceremony at a campfire.
We spent a lot of time choosing a specific Hebrew name for each of our guys. Even our sponsors got the name treatment. Our first night at the campfire, we lined them up from oldest to youngest and had them stand in silence while we gave each person their new name. To make it cool, we wrote their new name on their face with paint. It rocked!
4. We recreated the walk of Jesus to the cross.
We woke the guys up at 4:30 AM to walk the walk. Neil and I found on the internet that they estimated that Jesus carried 120 pounds 670 yards. We bought tube bags of sand had each guy carry 60lbs for a mile on their shoulders. Before we left we had a devotion that talked about being a team and how Christ makes us strong. During the walk we encouraged the guys to recite Scripture to encourage those struggling. Everyone completed the walk. It was amazing! After the walk we came back and burned our “struggle shirts” on the fire.
5. We had a wicked airsoft fight!
This is a given for our guys…I lost my temper and unloaded a magazine on Neil. One made his face ooze. He’s a good sport!
6. We answered THE question.
These guys have what it takes. It’s that simple. They have what it takes to be a man. A man that can put God at the center of their lives. A man that can take control of dating relationships and set boundaries and lead spiritually. A man that isn’t controlled by their flesh. A man empowered by the work of the cross. Every guy needs that question answered. We did our best to answer it.
We had loads of fun. I encourage you to consider doing something out of the ordinary for your guys.