MAN CAMP attracts men from all over. It's not bound by church walls nor is it limited to men who identify Crossroads as their home church. Lots of guys from outside of Crossroads struggle with the idea that, somehow, attending MAN CAMP is an act of betrayal or infidelity to their home church.
Look, I get it. In our world if you're a Bengals fan, you can't wear a Steelers jersey. If you live in Ohio you make jokes about Kentucky people. If you drive a Ford you think Chevy sucks (OK, that one may be valid). We live in a culture defined by “us vs. them” in virtually every realm—politics, hobbies, sports, business, and so on. It’s easy to think that applies to everything, even church. Well, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t.
Our MASH guys (the pastors of MAN CAMP) usually start with a simple question whenever they talk to someone new: “How’s your relationship with Jesus?”. The common answer is “Well, I've been going to [insert church name] for [x] number of years.” The MASH response is powerful, direct, and awesome. It's “I asked about you and Jesus, not your church, how's that going?” That exchange points to one of the primary reasons that you might feel like going to MAN CAMP is cheating on your church. Lots of men mistakenly believe attending church constitutes a relationship with Jesus. It's certainly a great discipline. It's definitely a part of a healthy relationship. It's a great place to build community. But taking your wife to dinner once in a while isn't the entirety of your relationship (it sure shouldn't be). Your church is great, but it's not Jesus.
MAN CAMP is about you and God. Sure, you're gonna meet some great guys. You might even end up with a whole bunch of new dudes in your life. Good ones. Ones that will help you be a better you. But, ultimately, the big win is space for you to drop out of the chaos of the every day. To take off your “Dad” hat, or your “Husband” hat, or to just take a break from being whatever you think the world tells you that you need to be. You'll be amazed at how powerful spending some time with God is. Tell you what, take 6 minutes (like for real, set a timer) and just be still and quiet and ask God to let you know if he wants you to go to MAN CAMP. If he's against it, you probably shouldn't go. If he's for it, I’d say you should check it out.
See, it turns out God is way bigger than our parochialism. Rest assured, God doesn't care where you worship him. He cares that you worship him. (See Matthew 18:20). He isn't overly interested in quaint plaster sanctuaries or giant rock n roll auditoriums. He's interested in our hearts. He literally created us to love him. You can do that in a room or in a forest but you should do it truly, in your heart.
MAN CAMP is absolutely a part of Crossroads. It's powered by Crossroads. It's the distillation of a major part of what makes Crossroads unique. But it is not, not even a little bit, about Crossroads. No one is gonna ask you to leave your church and start coming to Crossroads. No one is going to treat you like an outsider if you call a different church - or even no church - home. MAN CAMP is a movement of God and that is bigger than any church (even a mega church).
One more thing—if after all this you still feel like spending time with great dudes while getting closer to Jesus (and maybe having some cold beers) feels like cheating on your church, you may be going to the wrong church.
See you out there,
Entrepreneurial Leader | Adventure Creator | a MAN CAMP Founding Father
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