So much of what I see as religious activity, so many of the well-meaning programs, so many of the vision statements, so much of the planning and discussion and goals in the church never seem to go much of anywhere. It is more busyness for busy people, more stuff for lives filled with stuff. And much of it is honestly borne out of guilt, pressure, or obligation.
When God began to nudge me out of teaching high school students, I honestly didn’t know what I was doing. I just knew that I needed to work with the fathers of the students I was dealing with. I made lots of mistakes, but God taught me one thing in all of it. Don’t create a program. Just follow the electricity. Whenever I saw God moving in something, that’s what I pressed into. Whatever didn’t work, I just dropped.
So I have been following the electricity for three years now. It led me to do my first real men’s retreat last weekend (It’s also the reason why I didn’t write a blog Sunday night–too exhausted!). Again, I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I knew what I wanted to say, and I had some ideas on how to structure it, but I just went in faith trusting the Father’s leading.
Well, I found more electricity to follow. Yes…the small and large groups discussions were meaningful. Yes…the times of silence with the Father were hopeful. Yes…the food was amazing. Yes…the scenery in the Smoky Mountains was invigorating. But none of this was the real electricity. The real shock came by “accident.” It was unplanned. That’s often how God does it. Here is what happened.
Of the men that came, the age range was 15 to 62. You see, several fathers had decided to invite their sons. And during the last meeting, each man, regardless of age, shared what they had learned on the retreat. It hit me. Here are young and old men, just being men together, listening and speaking to each other. It was powerful. And electric. Where does this type of conversation happen? Nowhere I’ve ever heard of. It’s more electricity for me to follow now, even though I don’t know where it’s going!
This is what following Jesus feels like. It’s not another program. It’s electric.