MAN CAMP:
What’s up with booze at a Church Camp?

by Judd Watkins

We get a ton of questions around the fact that there is alcohol at MAN CAMP. One of the primary reasons we have alcohol at MC is that we think we should live authentic and congruent lives. When I go camping, I drink beer. My Dude Group (a weekly bible study of sorts) could be called Bourbon and Bibles. We don’t think having a cold beer or some brown sauce disqualifies us from the Lord’s grace or redemption. We don’t believe it stands between us and God in any way. We completely understand that some folks do and that is totally fine. See, the thing about MAN CAMP is that we built it to be an authentic representation of what God had been doing in our lives, not to be pleasing to every flavor of religious piety. MAN CAMP is one way to connect with God, not the only way.

Once we get past the question itself, the most common objection we hear is that folks think drinking is a sin. Look, you’re entitled to your interpretation of the Bible (just like I am) and I’m not a bible scholar but it seems like there are plenty of places in the Bible that reference alcohol as a part of Godly celebrations and point to it being an indication of the blessing and rest God offers. This article makes some pretty cogent biblical points on this subject. It is pretty clear that Jesus, the only one of us never to sin, drank. I think the real problem comes with the abuse of alcohol. The enemy can’t create anything, so he twists the good things God has given us. Ambition turns to greed, sexuality to lust. Drunkenness is no different. The perversion, not the gift, is the sin. I’ll say this, MAN CAMP is not a kegger. We expect every man that attends to conduct himself with honor and self control. Of course, statistically speaking, there is bound to be some guy who acts like a boy and overindulges. We don’t make guys eat burgers without buns because there are a few that have a problem with gluten. We won’t be doing away with kegs because one guy can’t keep it together.

Speaking of keeping it together, the other big objection is the temptation alcohol might represent, especially to someone dealing with addiction or recovery. Again, let me be clear, MAN CAMP is not the only way to God and it isn’t for everyone. If you’re struggling with addiction or recovery keep up the good fight and don’t put yourself in a place that makes it harder on you. I am for you, man! If you’re in a good place, join us! You’ll love it. If you’re not right now, don’t, we’ll be here when you are.

For other men, the issue is temptation towards the sin of overindulgence, and this is the one that really chaps my ass. MAN CAMP is for men, not boys. Men don’t blame their trials on others. They don’t point their finger and say “But, he made me drink a beer!” If you think alcohol is the only way you’ll be tempted at MAN CAMP, you’ve got tunnel vision. There will be men who have better gear than you and you’ll be tempted to be jealous. Some guy might spill beer on your new boots and you'll be tempted to be angry. There will be men who struggle with something you thought you had dealt with and put behind you and you’ll be tempted with that. You’ll be tempted in however many ways the enemy can figure out how to tempt you. (Trust me, he knows how.) But what better place to be tempted than surrounded by a bunch of brothers running towards Jesus? Where else will you get such instant and total support? If you haven’t been to MAN CAMP you don’t understand the presence of the Holy Spirit that dwells there. If you have, you can never forget it. You may be tempted, but If you lean into Jesus the enemy cannot prevail. If that sounds too churchy for you, tough. It is, unequivocally, the truth.

We've being doing MAN CAMPs for years now and although it certainly hasn’t been the focus, all have had alcohol available. There have been thousands and thousands of men attend those camps and we've seen incredible growth, baptisms and healing. God has shown up in amazing ways. Lots of folks that struggle with addiction and many that are in recovery have been a part of that movement of God. We welcome them and understand that their recovery is super important and, ultimately, their responsibility. We have had many folks attend and choose to abstain from alcohol altogether. Whatever your stance on alcohol is, we respect it. We just ask that you bring your whole self to MAN CAMP and respect the stance of other men, even if you don’t agree with it.

See you out there,
Judd

Entrepreneurial Leader | Adventure Creator | a MAN CAMP Founding Father

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