Evaluations Welcome

 

 

MMR 2017 is in the books.

If you were present this year I would like to invite you to give a word or two of evaluation.  You can do so by sending me an email (fbcftmojaveaz@ctaz.com) or by leaving a comment down below.

When you so do you can comment on the normal evaluation type questions such as

Rate the event on a scale of 1 to 10.

What was your favorite part of the event?

What was your least favorite part of the event?

Or you can approach some specific questions I have on my mind.

Did your group participate in the Emmaus Walk and did they find it useful?

Would you be okay with a shorter Sunday Schedule aimed at getting you out quicker, or do you prefer to stay for as long as possible?

Would you rather I skip the offering for Speaker/Music and just budget these parts or keep the offering and supplement from budget as possible?

Or if you felt the event changed your life in some way, such as you made an eternal decision or change, you could leave a brief testimony.

What NOT to do at MMR2017

We are just a couple of days away from the start of the retreat.  I promised that I would give you some suggestions on what not to do.

So here goes.

Don’t set your expectations so high that nothing will make you happy once you arrive.  On a similar note don’t expect to be busy every minute but instead look for quiet moments to stop smell the pine trees.

Don’t forget that northbound traffic on I-17 can take a little extra time on Fridays.  Or if you are coming from another direction what traffic will be like in your world.

Don’t lift the gate by hand to get in.  They will open registration at 4:00 pm and later they will give us all a code that will open the gate.  But lifting it by hand results in expensive repairs.

Don’t smoke outside of the smoking area.  Pine forests are highly flammable and you don’t want to be remembered as that guy who burnt the camp to the ground.

Don’t overeat.  Even though the food is good and has an all you can eat style, you can eat yourself miserable if you are not careful. But don’t undereat either since the increase in elevation requires a little more out of you than normal.

Don’t neglect drinking lots of water.  Elevation sickness can often be avoided by drinking lots of water.  If you feel a headache coming on, consider it a signal that you are not drinking enough water yet.

Don’t write your name anywhere thinking it will be a hoot to come back and see your name next year.  They will expect a large payment for each individual act of vandalism caused by the group.

Don’t convince yourself that the nametag is stupid and refuse to wear it.  It will help others to be friendlier with you.  And it will help the feeding crew know that you are supposed to get fed.

Don’t overshare or undershare during cabin time.  Let yourself and everyone else think about what they would like to say and be comfortable with a reasonable amount of silence.

Don’t Forget Your Earplugs!

Yesterday I scanned through my post from a few days ago listing what you should bring with you to the retreat.  I noticed that I had somehow forgotten one of the most important items.  Bring Earplugs.

Even though it seems as if you would never be able to fall asleep with these in, you will adjust to them really fast.  But if you are in a room with 14 other men, someone is going to be snoring.  Probably more than half.  I bet you can’t fall asleep without them.  So . . . don’t forget the earplugs.

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.

 

Final Payments

First let me mention that if you have any additional payments that need to be made, consider today April 28, to be the last day to mail in payments.  If you are unable to get a payment in the mail today then please bring it with you instead in order to avoid risk of it not having arrived before the event.

Regarding making final payments let me explain in as much detail as I can to avoid complications. (And let me apologize in advance for the tedious level of detail.)

You are allowed to make substitutions without penalty, other than registration will be slowed down slightly.  So if you have one man cancel and another man add, and if the first man was already paid for, you owe us nothing.  Please don’t make somebody pretend to be someone else, it’s not necessary.

If you have a last minute addition, without any cancellations you will owe for the additional man.  Bring either a check made out to First Baptist Church or cash and pay for that person when they arrive.  The amount you pay will be either $100 if you have deposits you have paid that are not yet used up.  Or $125 if all of your deposits are used.

As for refunding unused deposits and unused registration fees.  We will attempt to do so, but since the actual attendance has been so much lower than the preregistration it has caused us to cut down on expenses and has endangered our ability to repay all unused deposits.  Because of this possible shortfall I cannot allow you to use unused deposits to pay for new slots.  Please pay for them, and then allow us to repay what we can after the final accounting is in place.

As always feel free to contact me if you have questions. ( fbcftmojaveaz@ctaz.com  or 928-727-9024 )

 

Registration Process

We are about a week out from the retreat.

First impressions mean a lot and one way that you can help your men to have a positive first impression of their camp experience is to help us to have as smooth of a process at registration as possible.

If you have a payment to send in for new registrations please have it in the mail today or tomorrow. (Mail no later than April 28.) If you are unable to send it by this time then please bring it with you to camp instead.  One of the consequences of living out on the corner of the state is that sometimes mail takes an extra day or two to arrive, so something mailed on Saturday or Monday, might well not arrive here in time.

The second way you can help us out is to make sure we have an accurate list of all of your men’s names so that we can have their name tags ready in advance. (For most of you this is covered in your registration lists sent in already) If you as the leader have every name in your group given to us in advance then we will have preprinted name tags, bundled with their cabin information, and their shirts if they are receiving one. Registering will be as simple as us checking off names and us handing over those men’s bundles.

Don’t hesitate to make last-minute substitutions or additions and bring them with you including payment if necessary.  We will hand print name tags for these individuals, but of course this will slow down the process.

Group leaders could come in and register their entire group in a matter of minutes and then distribute the information to their team.  This will work best for small groups.  We understand larger churches will not be able to all travel together and register together so we will be able to accommodate either groups or individuals at the registration tables.

We do suggest that you do not register a person until they arrive.  If you register a person who never arrives we will not be able to repay any of that persons registration fee.  I totally understand some of you will do so for the convenience factor, in so doing please accept the slight risk mentioned here.

The registration process will be taking place in the lobby at Iron Horse, which is the main worship center, located at the very far end of the circle of buildings.   Soon camp maps will be available on the website.

As always feel free to contact me with your questions.  (928-727-9024  or fbcftmojaveaz@ctaz.com)

What to Bring

Perhaps the most common question for the first-time attender at this camp is, What do I need to bring?

First let me tell you some things that are provided for you. 

The camp will provide bedding and a bath towel. Of course, if you want your own pillow or blankets you can bring them.

They will provide food starting with a late-night ice cream snack on Friday night and ending with breakfast on Sunday.  They will provide some great recreational opportunities such as a hot tub, the zip line, basketball and volleyball courts, and more.

So now let me give you some advice on what to bring. 

First bring clothes for both cold and hot weather.  You will likely see cold nights and warm days.  You will likely want a good shade hat, your swim suit, and a beach towel of your own for the water activities.  The camp requests that you leave their bath towels in the rooms, and not use them at the pool, hot tub or zip line.

Second bring toiletries including soap, shampoo, sunscreen and lip balm.  They can sell you these things at the little store, but it will not always be open.  Also, be sure to include your medications, if you take any.  If you use a c-pap or any other such devise be sure to pack it too, but you might want to also bring an extension cord in case you are stuck a little way from the nearest plug.

You will probably want to bring cell phone, with a charger, perhaps a camera, or some computing device. But you will also want to carefully track these things if you bring them.  There is public WiFi in several places, but you will not be able to use an online Bible because the worship area.  Of course, readers that already have it downloaded will not be affected.

You will certainly want to have a Bible with you of some form, but note as stated above that it cannot rely on internet access and be reliable. For the sessions, you will also want to have a notepad and something to write with.

Finally you will want to have some extra money with you. This will be needed to get food on the way there, such as dinner before the first session and lunch on the way home.  But there will also be two love offerings.  One will be to support the ministry of Set Free who has a group there to do the serving.  The other will be to support the music leaders and speakers.  Please plan on being generous in all cases.  This retreat cost less than many others largely in part to these individuals choosing to serve. This is your chance to show your appreciation.