Are you thinking about going to the men’s retreat but not sure you can get away? Or maybe you’re new to Church of the Redeemer and aren’t sure what to expect.  In this post to Redeemer Journal, five men from our congregation share their experiences and an invitation to join in. 

Ed Pickens: Why is the men’s retreat a highlight of my year?  Although the facility is tremendous and the North Shore has a beauty all its own, quite frankly I’d go anywhere to spend a weekend with these guys.  What makes the retreat special is the quiet moments of fellowship as you walk in the woods or play a board game or sit around a fire sharing about life.  Sure the talks are insightful and the worship heartfelt, but what’s unique about the retreat vs. regular Sunday worship or even a community group is the amount of time you have to interact without the distractions of a long “to do” list. God is always faithful to meet you when you set time aside to be with him, and I can say that God has been more than faithful every time I’ve invested in going to the retreat.

Mark Nicholson: I’m always amazed with everyone coming together for fellowship, fun games, good food, and a wide array of activities. Some of the best cross-country classic and skate ski runs are only a short drive away from the retreat site, all with majestic views of the lake.  I vividly recall waking to the orange glow rising over the lake and stepping out to listen to the glasslike layers of ice rolling in over the shore.  There are options for everyone, and I always come away with deeper relationships.

Andrew Garnett: The retreat continues to live up to the hype year after year. The first time I attended, I knew only a few men from the church well, but the fellowship is something unique as I forged a number of new friendships. Nowhere else — in my experience — can you sit down next to someone you don’t know, start up a truly interesting conversation and talk candidly about spiritual matters as easily as last week’s ball game.

Todd Willmarth: Last year I was tapped to help with the meals.  So before the retreat even started, there was plenty of fellowship with Ed Pickens as we planned menus and filled up a Costco pallet with dozens of eggs, piles of sausage, English muffins and brownie mixes. As for the retreat itself, there’s something about the fresh air, exercise, and a different surrounding that invigorates the soul and makes any food taste good.  Over the weekend we feasted on chili, sandwiches, fruit, scrambled eggs, toast, barbecue ribs, beans and corn bread. (OK, so maybe two meals of beans wasn’t the best planning.)  There’s lots of laughter and games — and time to connect with other men on a different level, without the distractions of little ones tugging at one’s leg.  I highly recommend taking the time to go.

Ryan Mahoney: I have been to two men’s retreats and reluctantly missed last year’s. It is truly the highlight of my year at church. Deep conversations are hard to come by, and the retreat creates the time and space for these to happen. Even more important, there is time for skiing, hiking, games, movies, swimming, cooking, etc. Time doing life together provides the space for men to be real with each other. When the time pressures of family are removed we all seem to regress to boyhood and start to play again.On my first men’s retreat I drove up with Drew Kniffin and had an amazing time of fellowship. We found lots of things in common and kept up a friendship. I can’t say enough about the great guys at Church of the Cross and Church of the Redeemer who will encourage and challenge you as you get to know them better.

The retreat will be held February 6-8 at Cove Point Lodge.  Click here for more information.