“Men’s Retreat,” “Men’s Advance” or Something Else?
Ten years ago, the name of the Men’s Retreat was changed to “Men’s Advance”. From what I’ve been told (I wasn’t at EBC then), the thinking behind this change was that men are not attending in order to retreat in the spiritual battle daily being waged. Rather, they are going in order to advance against the enemy and make marked progress in the struggle to be “Men for Jesus”. A couple of years later the name was changed back as it seemed to confuse rather than bring clarity.
When I was twenty, I attended a “Men’s Advance” in the Colorado Rockies. I remember thinking about the clever name change and wondering why other churches still called their men’s getaways “Retreats”. Over the years, I’ve thought more about this and the purpose and value of men getting away for a weekend together. I’ve come to the conclusion that war vernacular, such as “retreat” and “advance”, is especially fitting. Scripture makes it clear that we are at war against the enemies of the flesh (“abstain from the desires of the flesh, which war against your soul”), and Satan (“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil”). It’s easy to forget that every day we are in a fight for our lives and the lives of those that God has entrusted us with. It’s equally easy to forget that rest and recuperation are essential to wartime soldiers.
In fact, the Army has a long established “Rest and Recuperation” Program. According to an Army website, “Service members have enjoyed some variety of R&R in every major conflict in our Nation’s history.” Today, when a service member is deployed in the combat theater for one year, they earn 15 days of “R&R”. The leave provides respite from the stresses associated with the combat mission. This is seen as an investment in the well-being of our forces that will improve mission performance.
This is how I see the Men’s Retreat. It is an investment into the spiritual well-being of our men that will improve mission performance. We are not retreating from the battle, rather we are taking a short leave in order to rest and recuperate and be challenged and equipped with our brothers in arms in the presence of the Commander-AND-Chief (Jesus). And since “Men’s Rest, Recuperate, Challenge, and Equip…” is too long of a title, you’ll understand if we keep calling it the Men’s Retreat.
The numbers for this year’s retreat (May 3-5) are alarmingly low. I invite you to start praying with me that God will bring 15 more guys out to Trout Lake. It’s only $80 and we have scholarship money available. Please go to our website below for more information or to sign yourself up. Feel free to sign somebody else up too; just be sure to tell them!