Finally, I am in the wild. The wind blows, bringing the scent of fall in anticipation for the dormant winter. I start walking up a hill listening to all of the activity surrounding me. Young men are up on the mountain learning how to properly care and fire guns. A few shots ring out as they hit their metal target. Two hundred yards away, another group is melodically splitting wood in hopes of keeping our fire burning. I hear yelling from another group as they support their friend in a wrestling match. The wind breaks just right and I catch a whiff of brisket that has been smoking all night. Life is good, and Mantreat is in full swing.
This year, we had 110 students, over 50 adults, and 4 different churches for Mantreat. It took place at our beautiful property in Cleveland: The Retreat at Long Mountain. The theme this year, “freedom,” came from Galatians 5:1 which says:
”For Freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
Over the weekend, we discussed biblical “manliness” and how our identity is rooted in the character of God.
This retreat is special. Our young men and adult men look forward to it each year. Sure, it is a chance to be outdoors, wear no deodorant, and consume enormous amounts of protein, but there is something important that occurs: initiation. Skills, biblical and life lessons, and memories are passed down from wise men to young men. To quote George MacDonald:
“Who can give a man this, his own name? God alone. For no one but God sees what the man is.”
Mantreat provides the opportunity for young men to have older men and God speak into them. We are grateful for all of the courageous men who took time away from family to help cook, clean, corral and teach for a weekend. Mantreat wouldn’t happen without you. If you are a man young or old and this interests you, we would love to have you next year.