A Men’s Retreat

by Craig Bender

Let me tell you about my first men’s retreat many years ago.  I remember it like it was yesterday. There I was, a 29-year-old guy with a wife and three little kids, and these church guys were inviting me to spend a weekend doing church-y things. Needless to say, I had plenty of other stuff on my plate and I didn’t think it was the best use of time to go away for a weekend…I was wrong! To be honest it was my wife who convinced me to go.  She knew the stress that I was dealing with at work and that a weekend full of men’s activities could be the change I needed. We rolled out of the church parking lot on Friday afternoon, and I was in a car with Frodo, Merry, and Pippin headed toward some church camp in the woods. I have to admit I was a little nervous but the conversation between my car-panions was surprisingly fun. They were all talking about work and life challenges that seemed to be just like mine. These men were regular guys who had learned to trust God, and they kept talking about His grace. We arrived at the camp and found our bunks. After stowing our gear, we all headed to the meeting lodge where we would spend the next few days hearing some inspiring talks and testimonies from men that were both blue and white collar, retired, single, married, young, and old. The only common bond was that we were all males and we needed God’s grace. I learned that God’s grace is not something we can acquire or earn – in fact, we don’t even deserve it.  I found myself opening up to these guys about my works-based faith. They assured me that Jesus had already paid it all on the cross. That was God’s grace, a love so deep that He gave his only Son to save me. I didn’t fully understand it, but I did trust that He loved me and wanted to use me for His glory. I also learned that Jesus works through ordinary men and that all it takes is a willingness to trust Him. I left the retreat with a bunch of new friends and a new understanding of my role as a man of God. These men showed me that they could trust and surrender to Jesus and still be manly, in fact they were better men for doing so.  I wanted to be a better man for my wife and kids. I wanted to be closer to God and trust Him for a new direction. I would love to tell you that it all happened overnight, but the truth is that I have to surrender every day and rely on the godly men in my life to help. My hope is that you will find some godly brothers to help you as well.


If you would like to sign up for our men’s retreat this weekend, you can do so at https://mercycharlotte.com/mensretreat.