Registration Opens Today

Please peruse the tabs above to learn more about the 2018 retreat.

Beginning today we are accepting reservations from churches that want to reserve slots. You can download all of the different documents you need on the Forms tab above. You can learn about the history of this event on the About tab above. You can get all the details about this years speakers, music, theme and more under the About MMR2018 tab above. You can also consider why we chose the name MMR under the Why Metamorphosis Men tab.

As always we are excited to offer this event in the hopes that it will strengthen the churches of the AZSBC by strengthening the men in those churches.

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Creating the Best Retreat Experience

Today let me give you some advice on how to help your guys have the best experience.

Setting the Best Goal for Your Experience

I believe the goal you should set for the retreat is team building, creating a solid, functioning group.

It is true that some of your men might make initial commitments for Christ. If this happens, hallelujah!, but it is not realistically possible to plan when another person will get saved. It is also true that individual men may grow personally. But don’t plan who will grow in what ways because each individual does best when taking responsibility for their own spiritual growth. (In fact, most men will shut down fast if they get the impression you have a design for their spiritual development.)

But what you can do, is create an environment to allow God to do His work in both of these areas and many others you would never have dreamed of.  For men this often means the trusted camaraderie of other men.  This is best created by unforced time together, especially if this time proves to be accomplishing something. (Building a bridge, reaching a destination, supporting a cause, learning a strategy, almost any kind of accomplishment will work.) This is team building, and where team building takes place individual men are also built up.

Having brought the men of my church to retreats like this one for over a decade now, I notice that many times they come believing the best part will be the food, the recreation, the time away, or the discipleship.  But after the event they always list the cabin time as the best part. Cabin time when well done is where the most team building takes place. Under the forms tab, there is a guideline for cabin time leaders you may want to look at.

Suggestions for Teambuilding

You know your group better than I do, so remember these are suggestions and not directives.  But here are six ways that the experience could be improved for most men.

  • Carpool and loosely caravan to and from the event

By carpooling you will make the trip more economical and will save some stress parking. The camp has limited spaces. But more importantly you will also begin the camaraderie in the car. To make this possible consider your drivers carefully. Pick men who are friendly, conversant, and also try to pick those with big roomy vehicles. Then don’t pack the cars full. Several hours shoulder to shoulder is not relaxing. A long drive, with the room to spread out and the attitude that it’s okay to have snacks, is much more relaxing and conducive to fellowship.

You are likely to have somebody who refuses to go, unless they can take their own car. Let them go in their own vehicle if they wish. Just be sure you communicate with them thoroughly as to the plan, where you plan to meet and when. If they have to arrive later, let them, but be sure to have the group welcome them when they do arrive.

On the way home, we eat lunch together, sometimes in Williams, other times in Seligman. This meal is often fast food instead of sit down. At this point we are still in carpools, but we loosen up on the caravan idea. Some of the men will be anxious to get home and less interested in stopping.

  • Schedule a relaxing afternoon around Williams

This time in the pines is how we intentionally get out of ‘valley mode’ and get into ‘mountain mode’. For our retreats we generally leave about 9:00 am. We stop at a truck stop in Kingman and stock up on coffee, donuts, and stretch. This means arriving in Williams right around noon. We frequently go to Pine Country Inn for lunch because they are famous for their wide variety of pies. Then we go to a local lake for several hours, generally picking the one most recently trout stocked. Only a few of the men will fish, the remaining ones will walk, talk, nap, and generally unwind.

Registration opens at 4:00 pm. We pick our bunks and put the luggage in the rooms before going back to Williams for dinner. Generally back to the same restaurant and everyone that skipped pie earlier gets a piece now. Then back to camp by 6:00 pm for the first session. Remember there is a snack at 10:00 that night, but if you want dinner you have to eat it before first session.

  • Intentionally sit together at meal times and in worship

We laugh about the way that Baptists eat, but the truth is that sharing meals together creates a bond, that is why potlucks are so valuable to a church. The same is true of worshiping together. If you bring a group to the retreat and they don’t do these two most basic unity building activities together, you are missing your greatest potential for team building moments. The fact that both are open seating means you will have to intentionally make it work out. Generally your best bet is if the group is already growing in unity and therefore walk to these events together.

  • Consider adding something just for your group

At every retreat we did something that was just us. With my guys, it is often food related like a Dairy Queen run on Saturday night. For other groups it might be a morning devotional under the pines, or a rock skipping contest on the lake. That time to do something with just your guys is valuable, it will allow the men to feel like your church had a customized experience.

  • Make ‘cabin time’ sacred

Cabin time is a planned part of the retreat when the men gather in small groups to digest and discuss what they are learning and experiencing. I notice some of the churches rush through cabin time, or skip it all together, perhaps because men can be very uncomfortable with communication. But when it is well done, it is the chance for the men to get honest, make decisions and grow.

Also depending on your group, you might want to cheat a little. If your group is not too large make it a time for all the guys for your church to be together. Perhaps that will mean gathering together your guys in one room although they filled two. Or it might mean stepping outside with a smaller group so that your conversation will be with just your men. If you have a larger group, divide up.  But plan who will lead each cabin in their cabin time carefully; and don’t let the individual groups be more than about twenty men.

  • Plan a reporting time after the event

My church has an evening service and is small enough that we can be very informal. Because of these factors we have a pattern that on Sunday night immediately after returning from camp, the men who are available, each take turns talking about their experiences. This helps solidify them as a group, helps them to digest the lessons learned, and it helps the entire church body be more excited about the camp experience. In fact it is a great tool to make more men want to go the next year. Doing this reporting as soon as possible makes it more effective because the excitement and memories are still strong. Generally we will download the camp video and show it to the church during that session.

 

Prime Time

We are now in what I call prime time. This means it is finally time  for recruiting men to attend the retreat.  Hopefully you have already reserved slots, and now it is time to recruit men to fill those slots.  In order to help you do this let me remind you that we have a number of tools to use under the forms tab up above.

The newest tool is the PowerPoint slide which is available in standard and widescreen. This file is editable, and unless your Men’s Ministry Leader is named John Doe, you will need to change the contact name.  But of course, you can change anything else you need to adjust for your group as well.  Notice this lists the deadline as the last Sunday in March.  You can edit this, but it is essential that your church have the final payment to us and all the T-shirt sizes to us by April 5 so that we can turn in the T-shirt order. The date listed there was to allow your church time to gather and mail the info, knowing that we are outlying enough that the postal service can often take another day to arrive.

The coolest tool is the videos. The strongest draw you are likely to get for the event will be when men watch one of these videos.  You might show them during your Men’s Bible Study or even play them during the announcements. One was done during the retreat last year and is a little rougher all around.  The other was prepared later by the camp photographer and is more polished.

The most common tools are the posters, brochures and registration forms. These are in PDF you can print either in house or at a local business supply.  Our local place only charged 34 cents for each copy of the large posters we wanted. Put them up wherever men are likely to see.  I even put them up in between urinals in the men’s room.

We also have a number of different clip art pieces you can use if you want to include the event in your newsletter or produce your own materials.

Lessons Learned from MMR2016

There were certain lessons learned in last year’s event that we are addressing for MMR2017.  Let me tell you about some of the changes.

  • Food: When selecting the food I choose from a list the camp provides. I went up and down the list and selected those items which most sounded like man-food to me.  Only after the event was done did someone point out that every single meal had pork as the meat.    That one is on me, and I will try to draw a finer line between man-food and variety.
  • Registration: I had made a request that group leaders come in to register their men, instead of each individual coming in separately. Some did and some didn’t. This works for small groups, but for larger groups it is not as easy to manage since they do not travel together. So for this year we will be prepared with a system to do either group registration or individual registration.  We would still appreciate every group that is able have their leaders bring in their list of attenders and let us register your group all at once to save time.
  • Free Time: I believe the free time is one of the best benefits of the event, but when the rains came last year that greatly limited the recreational possibilities. In addition to this we have a number of senior men who are not extremely likely to go down a zip line or up a climbing wall.  This year we will be adding a few breakout sessions for those who would like to learn about a specific area of men’s ministry, during that free time.
  • Sunday Morning: One of my goals last year was to keep a relaxed schedule. But by Sunday morning the attenders are already moving out of mountain mode and back into valley mode. This does not mean they want to skip worshipping their Lord, but if they have a large section of time doing nothing they face a temptation to skip out early.  So this year we will have a tighter schedule on Sunday Morning.
  • Cabin Time: I have heard from my own group every year that cabin time was the greatest part of the event. As expected I heard from some of the other groups the same thing. But we also heard one group call cabin time a waste and a joke.  We will continue to encourage good training on this part of the retreat so that it will be a team building time for your men.

Breakout Sessions

For the retreat this year we will have three optional sessions available for the men to attend during the Saturday afternoon free time if they are interested.

First Robert Comeaux will be leading a session on music as it relates to men’s ministry. The content of this session will be up to the leader but I could picture addressing how to recruit men into the music program, how to make worship music more man friendly, and how or when to incorporate music in a men’s meeting. Wouldn’t be surprised if there was a little singing involved.

Second Ralph Tone will be leading a session on Lifeway’s curriculum that is suitable for men’s ministry. One of the challenges to men’s ministry is finding the right Bible study. For senior men it can seem like everything is addressed to family leaders. For younger men it can feel like the messages are from their father’s generation. Come and learn what opportunities lifeway has for us to overcome these dilemmas.

Finally Charles Short will lead a round table discussion for men’s ministry leaders.  Tell us what works for you, what doesn’t work for you, and ask your questions. In addition, if a leader wants to step up and help plan next year’s event this is where you sign up.

Speakers and Worship Leaders for MMR 2017

Work has been progressing nicely on MMR2017.   Let me give you some details.

A group of cooperating churches are now working together to make decisions and pull together the retreat details.  In addition to this AZSBC personnel and resources are still supporting the event, as is River Valley Mission Network.  Other Associations are welcome to jump in as well.

The speakers and Worship Leaders are selected.

Dr. Jeff IorgDr. Jeff Iorg is the Primary Speaker. Dr. Iorg is the President of Gateway Seminary of the SBC.

noe-garcia-website-headshotNoe Garcia is our Guest Speaker.  Noe Garcia is the pastor of North Phoenix Baptist Church.

robert-comeaux-website-headshot

Robert Comeaux is the worship leader, he will be bringing with him a worship band put together from the worship ministry of North Phoenix Baptist Church.

 

The theme for this year has also been selected.

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You may have already noticed that the name of the retreat Metamorphosis Men’s Retreat has been shortened for most usage as simply MMR2017.

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We are going to be able to open registration very soon.  The first step I encourage a church to take when registration opens is to reserve slots.  Estimate a number that you are confident you can fill and send in a Participating Church Agreement with a deposit to hold those slots.  Until the camp completely fills, we will be able to continue to add additional slots if you need them.

 

First Retreat Video

First let me apologize for the broken promise.  I had said on the last day of the retreat this video would be up by Sunday night.  I might have made it but a high speed chase, Shots fired event on Interstate 40 changed my plans.  No I wasn’t close enough to get any excitement, but my group was stranded on the interstate for about an hour, and then our lunch stop in Seligman was also highly backed up as well.

But on the other side of the coin, since I wasn’t able to put it up last night, I worked on it some this morning and am actually happier with the resulting video.  The original had been edited together on Saturday night of the retreat, but I was able to be a little more careful in the production of this one.

It is uploaded to Vimeo and you should be able to show it from the internet or download it to show it to your church or group.  If it doesn’t work the minute I post, be patient I will be working out the bugs, and remembering how this stuff works.