Growing

Step 11: The Men's and Women's Overnight

Rick James

WEEKS FOUR, FIVE, AND SIX

Between the beginning of the year and the Fall Retreat there isn’t necessarily an opportunity for those who want or need to get more involved to do so. However, when the Fall Retreat arrives, who wants to go away for an entire weekend with people you barely know?

The strategy for having a Men’s or Women’s overnight some time between the start of the semester and the Fall Retreat is to provide a smaller step of involvement: an opportunity to get to know other men and women in the ministry before investing an entire weekend.

Here’s a short article describing The Overnight.

STUTTER-STEPS OF INVOLVEMENT

There are three different reasons you may want to have a men’s or women’s overnight. The first is as it relates to the flow of the campus school year. Between the beginning of the year and the Fall Retreat there isn’t necessarily an opportunity for those who want

or need to get more involved to do so. However, when the Fall Retreat arrives, who wants to go away for an entire weekend with people you barely know? The strategy for having a Men’s or Women’s Overnight some time between the start of the semester and the Fall Retreat is to provide a smaller step of involvement: an opportunity to get to know other men and women in the ministry before investing an entire weekend.

The same reasoning can apply to the second semester. You need a stutter-step of involvement. If a student begins coming to your meetings or a small group but doesn’t end up going to the Big Break conference, how are they going to get connected?

In either case a simple overnight with the men or women of the ministry can make the difference. At the lowest level of implimentation a men’s night may simply be camping, or a Call of Duty tournament. Food, sports, violent movies, and a devotional can be the perfect venue to get to know some of the other guys in the ministry. The same holds true for the women, only the movie may need more of a Jane Austen twist.

The second reason you may want to have a Men’s or Women’s overnight/retreat is to address some of those touchy topics not easily handled in a mixed setting. Sex and dating is obviously a huge topic—the hugest. And it has enormous ramifications on our walks with God: if a student goes ‘off the rails’ spiritually odds are good it will be because of problems in this area. This extended time will allow you to focus on such issues as well as what it means to be a godly man or woman.

Last, unless your ministry is at a Lumberjack school or a Convent, it’s probably comprised of both males and females. If a student is going to get more involved in the ministry they are ultimately going to need close, same-sex relationships and there’s no better place to instigate those relationships than at a Men’s Night or Women’s Brunch.

For the spiritual message(s) of the event you probably want to have a Cru staff member deliver that content. Planning out the rest of the time is rather simple: make it very fun, make it very male or female, make a lot of food.

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