(Photo courtesy of David Slaughter)
Man Camp, for those who don’t know, is this thing around Crossroads we’ve been working on. It’s about 30+ hours of men getting out to be men with other men. In this case, it’s camping overnight with 1900 of your closest friends, it’s giving them manly tasks with other men, doing manly things, handling manly projects, with encouraging men and charging men to be MEN(!)
And drink a beer while doing it.
Now as part of Man Camp, there is a group of men who are in a separate tent called the MASH group. We work in pairs…listening to guys as they come in and work with them to pray over what they came in for…sometimes. But more often, guys come in and we dig a little deeper, dig into their wounds, their tears, their hearts….and we pull stuff out and pull chains off…and ask God into deep things in their hearts. I’ve never been part of something that digs so deliberately and surgically into men’s lives…it’s a pretty weighty honor.
Now, I mentioned beer. I know this causes a lot of deep hard questions from some people…I mean it’s a Christian based thing…(so maybe it should be wine?) but you charge men to be men and give them freedom in this…. and sure there’s a risk that it could get a little messy but then again, there’s risk in anything.
Now, the kegs are set up around the MASH tent.
Yes, you read that right, we set them up around the prayer tent.
(Stay with me people, don’t turn on me so early in the story)
We set two stations around the MASH tent pretty much ALL day long, men are coming over for beer. The lines crawl around the tent…and let me tell you people, the lines stretched for 30-50 people at times….and they are standing there, waiting for beer gabbing away, as we pray for people. There is a tension there…sometimes you can feel it. There are people trying to focus on having a good time, grabbing a beer….and they are 20 feet from teams of men in deep prayer for other men. There was more than a couple times I got really annoyed with people…but whatever.
As the day wore on, we got pretty used to the beer line stretching around the tent….as as the day wore on and activities and things ebbed and flowed, we had a few people that might wait a few minutes for prayer, but the lines for beer stayed pretty steady
At some point Saturday night, as men went back to their fires…the beer lines were not so long and MASH was slow I went out to look at stars and relax a little, had a beer, talk to some friends at different fires.
I came back in and someone said ‘hey we have a line out there’, and I was thinking out loud that it was a line for beer, but someone corrected me…it’s a line for prayer. I was thinking it was a few people, and I actually walked outside to discover that YES, in fact there was a line to get into the MASH tent…and it was actually pretty long…as a matter of fact, it stretched out into the darkness. I thought ‘wow’.
I looked at the kegs and thought, ‘well we must be out of beer’ and literally went over to the kegs and checked the tap. They were working properly with plenty of cold beer…and no one was there for beer. The line, that had gone around the tent all day for beer…
…..was now a line to get prayer that stretched into the night.
I’ll say it again if I that doesn’t register:
Men were standing in line over 40 people deep, in the chilly fall air, having left the side of a warm campfire surrounded by friends on a Saturday night… were now waiting for other men to pray with them.
I’m kind of sorry to say that I was shocked by it, I mean I shouldn’t be, right? I mean I was one of “the prayer guys”, I shouldn’t be shocked….but I was.
Men were there for forgiveness
Men were there to confess
Men were there to get grace
Men were there to have 20 years of chains loosened from them
Men were there for a kind word…an affirmation as a son
Men were there to know God loved them…no matter what they had done
Men were there for salvation
The picture at the top of this post is an actual picture of men waiting in line for prayer at Man Kamp taken by David Slaughter. Take a look at it again…
I don’t claim to have a deep prayer life or live as a saint…but God took the mustard seed of courage that I had to pray for strangers…and He grew it a little when I stepped out. You see, I have this little bit of faith in me that said “if they take me, I’ll do it, I’ll pray for these guys”. When I said yes, I had no idea if God would use me or if I would be any good at this…
But God took my little bit of faith and He worked with and through me to multiply my effort and results.
There’s an old saying that I love:
God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
When it came to being on the MASH team, I didn’t think I was qualified…but I felt called. I stepped out and watched God’s work unfold in front of me.
God could very well be calling on you to step out to do something you’re not qualified to do.
Let me say that again,
GOD could very well be calling on YOU to do something you’re NOT QUALIFIED TO DO.
When you do something that is within your abilities, then the results are natural results. When you do something where God calls you beyond your abilities, HE steps in to fill the gap between your abilities and the need, the results can be supernatural.
If you want to SEE growth, change…experience something different, then you must DO something different. I had to step into a gap to see God work in a new way. It’s often necessary not for His sake, but for ours, for growth.
Step out into the uncomfortable place you are being called…there is a part for you to play in God’s story…and it’s where your growth will occur.