Twenty to thirty years ago, almost every church held an annual men’s retreat. It was off to the wilderness, plenty of food, recreation, a speaker, and time of just getting away from the pressures of the routine. Those events were successful with many men returning refreshed, challenged, and saying, “can’t wait until next year.”
But in recent years, men’s retreats have become scarce. Those churches that still offer them have seen attendance dwindle. It’s often difficult to get the younger generation of men to attend.
David Murrow, author of Why Men Hate Going to Church suggests that it’s time to re-design the men’s retreat. If it’s just another church service, men won’t come. We need a format that is:
1. Honoring to God
2. Designed around the learning style of guys
3. Different from church
4. Masculine without being macho
5. Compelling to men under 30.
Along with format, methods of teaching/speaking may need some re-thinking. As one who speaks to men on a regular basis, the 45 minute message/ training session is an old model that in many respects has passed its day. Recently, I read about a leader of men who uses the 10-10 format. It caught my attention and I can see it working very successful for men’s retreats.
To utilize this format your will need to have your setting configured for small groups. The speaker shares for 10 minutes. Your men are given 10 minutes to answer questions in small groups. This keeps the guys engaged, helps them build friendships around the table, and lets them wrestle with the truth together. Nobody falls asleep.
The presentation is completely screen-driven. Use lots of visuals, because guys remember what they see. Also, use some humor and do some unexpected things (like throwing furniture and setting items on fire) to keep things interesting.
Give it a try!
Bill Terry is the National Director for Men’s Ministries and the Assistant Director for Discipleship Ministries. Bill resides in Oklahoma City with his lovely wife Rita, where they will celebrate 44 years of marriage in 2015. He is the proud head of an extended family that includes two sons Gregory and Rodney, daughters-in-law Holly and Brec, granddaughters Grace, Annie, Emily and Elena and grandson Adam Gregory.