Man Camp: I Think I Want to Go But…

We’ve talked about all sorts of big things that might stand between you and MAN CAMP, but I know there are all sorts of little “buts” that are probably bouncing around in your head as well…

My first instinct is to tell you to “Get your head out of your butt, man up and register!” But, this is a church camp – and Jesus, while being a real man, is about grace as well as truth. (Thankfully!)

So, if you’re sittin’ on the fence, or you’re mostly in but you still have a hand on the fence, consider these things…

I think I wanna go to MAN CAMP but…


I’M NOT A FAN OF ALL THAT MACHO STUFF.

The macho stuff is just hype. We’re not neanderthals. This isn’t a book club but trust us, you’ll love it. Really, it’s a bunch of dudes hanging out together for a weekend. Pretty simple. 


I DON’T KNOW ANYONE.

No problem. Some guys like it that way and simply want to hear from the Lord and gain some great wisdom. And that’s ok, for now. Other men are looking for more men in their life. If that’s you, get ready to meet a lot of growing men focused on being better. Men need the company of other men. You’ll find that at MAN CAMP.


I’M WORRIED ABOUT SLEEPING IN THE BUNKHOUSE.

No problem, drive home. If home is too far, bring your RV because we have spots. Not good enough, then we have a limited number of motel rooms on-site. If that still doesn’t work, then just relax, you’ll be fine. It won’t be your best sleep but no one is going to mess with you or give you a hard time. It’s not a frat house, it’s a room full of mature men realizing their world just got rocked by the Lord and they can’t sleep because they anticipate another day of great things.


I HAVE A DISABILITY.

We’ll figure it out with you. We’ve done it before and we have a team of men who’d love to help in any way they can. Just let us know when you register when it asks about special assistance.


I’M A WOMAN.

You’ll want to check out Real Woman Camp. MAN CAMP is for men only.


I CANNOT STAND CHURCH DUDES.

RIGHT?! Us either. You won’t find Ned Flanders at MAN CAMP.


I THINK I’M TOO OLD OR OUT OF SHAPE.

It’s called Man Camp, but we’re not camping. There’s a short walk up and down a hill to watch baptisms if you want to, but other than that, it’s like spending a day or two at Lowe’s. You move at whatever pace you want and participate, or don’t, in anything you want.


I DON’T KNOW WHERE I’M GONNA GET $85 TO PAY FOR THIS.

Well, figure it out. We do have limited financial aid and no complete freebies. If you can buy smokes or beers or cable or $150 for a cell phone, you can find the money to go. If you can’t, begin praying and asking who God wants you to ask for help. It may be another man in StoneWater. It may be your boss. It may be your dad. Just ask. 


I DON’T HAVE ANYONE TO WATCH MY KIDS.

How much trouble can they get into in one weekend? Seriously though, spending a weekend becoming a better dad is worth the effort.


I HAVE ALLERGIES.

If your allergies are bad enough that Man Camp is an issue, you shouldn’t be outside at all. Ever.


I NEED A CPAP MACHINE TO SLEEP.

Bring it. You won’t be the only one.


I NEED A REFRIGERATOR FOR MY MEDS.

Mobile refrigerators are called “coolers”.


I HAVE A RARE DISORDER THAT MAKES ME SUPER GASSY.

You’ll fit right in!


I’VE NEVER PRAYED OUT LOUD.

So what? You won’t be forced to. (And maybe you’ll find out you love that.)


MY WIFE WON’T LET ME.

She’s hurt, resentful, confused or been neglected by you for too long. This experience will make you the best version of you. Likely, the man she wants and needs. Have her read this.


I CAN’T GET TIME OFF WORK.

Yes you can. Figure it out.


CHURCH MUSIC MAKES MY BUTT HURT.

Ours too, at least when it’s all breathy and weak. There’s nothing weak about the all man version of the StoneWater Worship Band.


Come on! You can totally do this. You need this!

See you out there!

Return to MAN CAMP site!

Man Camp: Just Because

MAN CAMP is an experience that is best shared. If you’re thinking about going, or you already know you are, you’ve probably got a buddy you think should go with you. Well, if you run out of reasons why he should, just look below and tell him:

BECAUSE THE DAILY GRIND SUCKS.

Is the highlight of his week watching SportsCenter? Or just getting 10 freaking minutes alone in the crapper without someone asking some annoying question? Does he live in fear? That sucks. He can have a whole weekend to just be a guy. On his own terms. To stretch himself and to have some real, honest, manly FUN with no judgement.

BECAUSE MEN DIE WITHOUT CHALLENGE.

The most challenging thing most of us do all day is have a tough conversation with someone on Twitter. We were made for more. For some of us walking into MAN CAMP is a challenge. For others, sleeping in a bunk or telling the guy across the fire you can’t quit looking at porn is a challenge. Giving your buddy a chance to face a real challenge and overcome it. It will change his life.

BECAUSE WE FORGET HOW TO TAKE OFF THE MASK.

We’re all great at seeming to keep it all together. Looking great on social media or at the office or wherever we wear our fake mask. There are things your buddy wants to tell someone. Needs to tell someone. There are things he needs help with. Things that he just can’t face alone. Get in there and help that dude.

BECAUSE JESUS WAS A REAL MAN.

Jesus was one of the manliest dudes ever. All we get to see most of the time is the hippy petting a baby sheep that looks more like your Aunt Jean in the 80’s than the disruptive leader he was. This guy led a literal revolution. MEN DIED FOR HIM. Men left families, businesses–everything–to follow him. They didn’t do that because their mom told them to or they got guilted into going to church. They did it because he was the TRUTH. Your buddy needs the truth.

BECAUSE THE SPIRITUAL WORLD IS REAL.

If you’ve been to MAN CAMP and were brave enough to deal with the garbage in your life and receive freedom from spiritual oppression, you know what I’m talking about. I don’t care if your buddy hasn’t been to church in twenty years, the Holy Spirit is present to bring hope, deliverance and power in the name of Jesus.

BECAUSE, MAN GAMES.

When do we ever just get to be men? Arm wrastlin’ and rope pullin’. Sure they’re ridiculously over-the-top macho, and that’s OK! We need some macho in our cafe latte lives! We need to scream guttural sounds at each other and clap each other on the back in victory or defeat! We need to be fully, unashamedly men!

BECAUSE WE WERE MADE TO WORK…TOGETHER.

More and more of us get forced behind a computer screen every day. We work with our brains not our backs. We work alone, even when on a team. All of that is crap. Sure, it can be great for your bank account but I know some really rich, really miserable, guys. Getting the chance to dig in with other men, face to face, men God has prepared and brought before you is super special.

BECAUSE GOD SHOWS UP.

It may sound super weird, but the presence is thick and real. There is something almost tactile about the presence of God. He is with us in that place. Your buddy may not know he wants that but he wants that!

Whatever reason you think is best, hit him with that one. It doesn’t matter which one, just take the shot. Don’t say no for your friend. Even if you think he’d say no, at least you asked, right?

Look, I know life gets busy. I know there are other things to do that weekend and that, if you call StoneWater your family, we’re asking you to do something all the time. I don’t care about all of that. I care about you and your buddy. I’ve seen my life literally changed by the experience we are sharing at MAN CAMP. I have lived it, and it is real. If you want to talk about it, let’s chat.

Go, get him in the game!

Return to MAN CAMP site!

Man Camp: Why Should I Go Back?

BECAUSE YOU’RE READY FOR A BREAK.

The average American takes less vacation than a medieval peasant. We are TERRIBLE at relaxing. Hey, great job on your work ethic buddy, but seriously, take a frickin’ break. Your body needs it. Your soul needs it. Your family needs it. MAN CAMP is purposefully designed for you to take whatever time you need to do whatever you need to do. Use the time to rest, to exhale, to do something you don’t normally get to do. Take the time to get your head right. Treat yourself. 

Shoot, I need MAN CAMP just as much as the next guy. A weekend with no kids, man food, laughs with friends and connecting with God? Sign me up.

BECAUSE YOU NEED THAT FIRE IN YOUR GUT.

I hear from guys all the time that their first MAN CAMP experience was life-changing. I bet your story is similar. Something came alive in you. You heard from God in a new way. You met a crew of real friends. You walked away invigorated, ready to withstand the pummeling the world gives us. And now, months or years later, you’re worn down again. You wonder if that experience was just an accident. Let me tell you, it wasn’t an accident.

Come to MAN CAMP and get re-energized. Feel the power of a five hundred dudes shout-singing at the top of their lungs. Get encouraged around the campfire by a guy you just met. Go talk to one of those pastor guys, and let him connect you to Jesus. If you’re feeling like you’ve lost some of your fire, let MAN CAMP be the spark that gets it going again.

WHO KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN?

Every MAN CAMP is different. Sometimes it’s what happens on the outside, like when we gave Jeremy a dodge ball and he nailed a guy in the nuts on accident. Or the time Joey had a dance off with comedian Jason Earls (that’s really going to happen). It’s what happens on the inside, like the time that God wanted to remind us in powerful ways that He is our Father. Or the time God wanted the weekend to be all about freedom. I never know what will happen at MAN CAMP. But I do know that God wants to speak to you. Invest the time in a weekend to hear from him

I’m no doctor. But if I were, I’d recommend a dose of MAN CAMP at least once a year. It’s good for you. It’s good for your family. It’s like Viagra, but for your whole life.

 See you out there!

Return to MAN CAMP site!

Man Camp: 5 Reasons Why Your Buddy Needs to Go

5. HE’S EXHAUSTED

The world grinds us down and leaves us for dead. We feel pressure from all sides: our jobs, our girlfriends, our wives (hopefully one or the other), our kids…I’ll bet your buddy secretly feels like he’s bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders. And research shows that he’s less of a man than his dad. Is the highlight of his week watching SportsCenter? Or just getting 10 blessed minutes alone in the crapper without someone asking him some annoying question? Does he live in fear? That sucks. Give your pal a whole weekend to just be a guy. To finally take a freaking break. On his own terms. To have some real, honest, manly FUN with no judgment.


4. HE’S LONELY

This Boston Globe article nails it: The biggest threat facing middle-aged men isn’t smoking or obesity. It’s loneliness. We suck at making friends. I mean REAL friends. Friends that we can get together with for no reason. That we make time for. That make time for us. Your buddy needs a pal. Maybe that looks like you inviting him to MAN CAMP.


3. HE COULD USE A LAUGH AND A CAMPFIRE

 I don’t even know what more I have to say. If you don’t think your buddy needs laugh and a campfire…there’s a gap between us I can’t span.


2. HE HAS THE POTENTIAL TO CHANGE GENERATIONS

Men are made to lead. As we go, so goes our country. The more men we get involved in this movement of MAN CAMP, the more brothers, fathers, sons, uncles get involved. Those men will influence all of the people around them. Families will look different. Sons will have footsteps to follow. Daughters will have someone to look to as an example of what their future husband should be. That is IMPORTANT.

1. BECAUSE NOBODY ELSE IS HELPING HIM

Take a look at your news feed. Where’s the hope? The good news? A plan to escape all the BS of everyday life? IT’S NOT THERE. Life is a constant battle, and culture isn’t helping one bit. If you’ve found something valuable in MAN CAMP, you need to offer that same help to your friend. 

Don’t say no for your buddy. Take the bold step and invite him. Shoot, maybe even buy his ticket. Sounds like something a good dude like you would do for his pal. Take away any excuse for him not to go. Give him what he really needs.

 See you out there! 

Return to MAN CAMP site!

Man Camp: Why Do I Need Pals, Anyway?

Men today get told all the time in all sorts of ways that they have to be self-reliant heros who can do anything and have anything, just by being tougher, smarter and as it turns out, lonelier, than the other guy. We get bombarded by heroes that are solo operators (Jason BourneJames BondJack Reacher). They show us one guy, taking the world by the “you know what” and living the dream. Making his own way, by his own rules. 
Guess what? That’s hopeless.

Being a solo operator is terrible. I don’t care how tough, cool, or awesome you think you are. Whatever game you’re playing, you’re not reaching your fullest potential playing with yourself. We are made for the pack. How exhausting is it to be solo? Every problem you face, you have to solve. Every struggle, you own. Have you ever tried moving a couch by yourself? Of course not! It is obviously an exercise in futility. So is living your life as a solo operator. What about when your kid comes home and rips your guts out telling you he thinks you suck? You think you’ll be equipped to handle that on your own? No, you’ll need a pal (and probably Jesus to keep from choking him out). You’ll need a man who knows you, and your little turd son, well enough to speak truth into both of your lives. How about that day you get that big promotion at work? How fun will it be celebrating with a bunch of bros who are either secretly jealous or just don’t even care? Oh sure, you’ve got a sweet honey in your life but I’m telling you, that won’t cut it. The right wife or girlfriend can be a huge force multiplier in your life but she can’t, and shouldn’t, be your best friend. Actually, I believe that calling your wife your best friend undervalues what a wife is. She cannot replace having pals. You were meant for more than lonely self-reliance.

I’m a friendly guy. I’m fairly introverted but I still have had quite a few buddies. I’ve had golfing buddies, gym buddies, drinkin’ buddies, all sorts of buddies and ya know what, it sucked. I was surrounded by good dudes but not great men. Don’t get me wrong, there were some solid guys among those buddies but none of us were doing a very good job of being pals. That all changed when one of those buddies decided we should start a community group.

Community group is like a bible study only with more laughs and a rule that we never call it a bible study. Community group meets once a week, almost every week. It’s a foundational part of my life. This isn’t a bunch of guys grabbing beers and talking Cowboys. We get together and talk about Jesus and our families and work and struggles and victories and all sorts of things. Those men fill a space in my life that my wife couldn’t (and shouldn’t). They make me a better me. A better husband. A better leader. A better Christian. They give me a man’s perspective on things that I could never get on my own. We’ve helped each other heal from just about every sin imaginable. Helped each other through career decisions, family struggles and financial crisis. We change out water heaters while the other one is at work, we borrow tools, we forget to bring tools back, we high five each other, we compete against one another, we thump each other, and we laugh. 

These guys are pals.

It seems like we’ve forgotten what our fathers knew. Give me a bunch of scrappy losers looking for redemption fighting Nazis (pronounced Naht-zi). Or some guys bonded by the struggle of war going back into the fray to rescue their dudes. I just want to see a team. I want to know those dudes have each other’s backs. That they rely on each other, make each other better, that they’re all working together. That they’re not just buddies, they’re pals. Pals are friends that have full access. They know you secretly think your father in law is a dork. That your second kid is your favorite. They know you really aren’t doing enough to show your wife she is appreciated. They know you’re slacking at work. And they’ll call you out on all of it. (Maybe not the second kid part, because you’re right. That kid rocks!) They’ll push you, even pull you if needed. They’ll also show you the great things you just can’t see about yourself. They’ll tell you they respect the way you build into people. That they aspire to be more compassionate, like you. 

They’ll lie to you and tell you that your Mank-Top is super hip

That the way you raise your kids is an inspiration. They’ll also make fun of your haircut and the fact that you can’t talk without long pauses. They’ll do life with you. All of it. The sloppy stuff too. You need pals.

If you’re brave enough to be vulnerable. Strong enough to be real. And bold enough to take a step outside your comfort zone, get you some pals. Maybe you’ll find them at MAN CAMP. Regardless, your life will be better in ways you can’t imagine if you do. Jesus had pals. You should too.

-A Man Trying To Figure It Out-

See you there!

Return to MAN CAMP site!

Man Camp: Is It Going To Be Weird?

Look, I get it, church stuff can feel super weird – especially if it’s not what you grew up with. “Spend the weekend with a bunch of Jesus weirdos? No thanks.” I get it. I’ve been there too, and I hate that fake religious crap. Let me be upfront about some of the stuff you might see at MAN CAMP.

Here’s the simple truth: if you’re cool with exploring the possibility that there is a God and that He wants to know you, you’ll be good at Man Camp. We designed this thing so that dudes who are curious about God have a shot at having some questions answered. (More often than not, they tell us that’s exactly what happened). We also designed it as a rare opportunity for every man to be themselves. We want you there – not some fake, more religious version of you. 

Having said that, let’s talk about some things you’ll see at Man Camp that might be new to you. You can opt into or out of any or all of this stuff. No judgement or expectations.

Dudes getting baptized in the river. It’s worth getting this one out of the way…there is a chance it is totally outside of your comfort zone. Baptism might seem much safer or more normal to you with a sprinkle of water on a baby’s head while he wears some kind of white dress. So, why do we do it in the river? Other than it being awesome, the simplest reason is because dudes have been doing it for thousands of years as a way of committing to God. In fact, even Jesus did it. Is it magic? Nope. Is it really powerful for the right guy? Absolutely. We believe God runs after us when we take even one step in His direction. For a lot of guys, this is that step. But, we won’t be pressuring anyone into the river and you don’t even have to go to watch if you don’t want to.

LOUD singing. Look, back in the days of Braveheart and all the way back to caveman days, singing was a part of battle. It was the domain of men, warriors, conquerors. I mean, have you ever seen a HAKA? At Man Camp, we worship with aggression and it’s primal and pretty darn great. But here’s the deal: You don’t have to sing. You don’t even have to move your lips to pretend like you’re singing. You just have to be yourself. A couple hundred dudes all singing together is a rare sight nowadays, but generations ago it was totally a regular part of battle. It’s pretty unforgettable.

Prayer. Lots of it. Dudes pray at Man Camp. In fact, there’s a whole team of guys whose job it is to pray. You’ll probably hear someone around you pray and guys will pray from stage. But, you won’t be asked to pray out loud and you won’t be forced to have anybody pray with or for you. There will be some time for you to pray in private if you like. Prayer is just talking to Jesus and that’s pretty awesome. If you have a direct line to the creator of the universe, why wouldn’t you use it? Even if that’s new to you, we encourage everyone to try it. Lots of guys are surprised to find out they really dig it.

Real conversation. The other stuff on this list might look strange – this is the one that truly is strange in our society. When was the last time you had a real conversation with a group of dudes? No sports talk. No politics. No “how are the kids?” Instead, we talk hopes, fears, struggles, victories. We get real. It’s what we were built for. We get real because when we do, we find out that we’re surrounded by guys who are struggling with the same fears and doubts we are. You know that voice that sits in the back of your head and says you’re not good enough? It turns out that real conversation – where dudes can tell you the truth about who you are and that you’re wanted – punches that voice in the mouth, every time.

 That’s it. There’s no religious test you have to pass to get into this thing. If you’re bold enough to come as you are, and be real, you’re gonna love MAN CAMP.

See you out there!