The weekend of August 24 provided an opportunity for men of the Living Church of God to take to the green hills of North Carolina for the annual Men’s Training Camp—the first to be sponsored by Living Education–Charlotte. Held at Blowing Rock Conference Center in Watauga County (the same venue as this year’s Spring Holy Day Family Weekend), the activity saw a very nice turnout and provided a wealth of inspiring spiritual knowledge and practical wisdom to all who attended. Though rainy and misty from the start, the wonderful vistas of the Appalachian Mountains surrounding Blowing Rock—along with the quiet, cozy, well-maintained venue itself—provided a great atmosphere for bonding and growth. In all, 84 men from around the continental United States gathered to attend seminars, fellowship on the Sabbath, and share meals together during this brief two-day respite from the demands of modern life.
Along with an uplifting Sabbath service, the weekend schedule was packed with seminars about issues facing Christian men today. We enjoyed helpful give-and-take discussions about men’s roles, exercises in refuting unbiblical doctrines and traditions, and energetic hymn-singing. At other times we relaxed, enjoying the beautiful surroundings and relishing our meals together. The facility’s staff members were extremely helpful, and we hoped to leave the best impression we could by returning their kindness and service with calm and courteous fellowship—so different from much of the raucous entertainment and partying stereotypical of men in today’s world. In other words, we showed them that men can have a wonderful time together while remaining sober and sound-minded!
There were participants young and old, which brought variety to our discussions, as the wisdom and experience of our elders blended with the perspectives and struggles of the young fellows and “new guys.” The joy of such fellowship was one of the true highlights of the weekend.
Some expressed deep appreciation for the opportunity to sing together as men, noting how the familiar hymns of the Church songbook took on a slightly different tone as the bass, baritone, and tenor voices echoed among the wooden rafters of the conference meeting hall. This resonance, which made a strong impression all its own, enhanced our appreciation for the blending of our voices with those of wives, children, and sisters in Christ when everyone finally returned home.
Attendees found encouragement in seeing men who truly want to learn and share experiences of how best to fulfill our God-given roles. After seminars that included videos exposing the aggressive, ongoing “war on men” around us, many participants related instances illustrating that the push for a “gender neutral” society is not the harmless, helpful, or “natural” sociological change proponents claim it is.
Afterward, there was a delight in heading home from the event with a renewed appreciation for the families and friends we each had waiting for us. Every opportunity to grow is also an opportunity to share, and what we learned at this year’s Men’s Training Camp was not meant just for us, but for others as well. We know that not everyone can travel to every activity, but if those who can make it to such opportunities agree to “take the lessons home,” then we all become that much better prepared as a group to face together the challenges ahead. In fact, that was one of the more sobering topics discussed during the weekend: the level of preparedness we all need—as men, together, in God’s Church—to deal with the growing troubles of society. The opinions were varied, but the overall conclusion was this: We can always strive to do better.
Let’s pray for and strengthen one another in doing exactly that.
Editor’s Note: Living Education provides more follow-up resources about the Men’s Training Camp on its website, LCGEducation.org. Just search the site for “Men’s Training Camp” and follow the links to learn more.