Be Strong and Show Yourself a Man: College Men’s Retreat

“2 I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, 3 and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, 4 that the LORD may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel’” (1 Kings 2:2-4, ESV).

Why should you come to our Be Strong Men’s Retreat?

Even better, why should you apply to be a Crossings’ Summer Staffer?

The answer is simple. Our world is saturated with portrayals of what it is to be a man. Movies, sitcoms, media reports, and our own personal exposures subtly influence our perspectives on masculinity. It is commonplace to find the modern depiction of a man as aloof, lazy, self-absorbed, distanced from important family matters, conformity for the sake of acceptance, insecure and uncertain. A Christian worldview calls the believing man to so much more and so much greater.

Camp ministry is one of the greatest opportunities for a spirit-filled, gospel-believing college student to grow and experience the joy of becoming the man a right view of scripture would direct us to be. Working at camp is a microcosm of the Christian walk and will yield significant fruit that can be enjoyed throughout life as it relates to your experiences as a friend, church member, husband, father, and leader. Following are some specific ways I have witnessed camp ministry prepare many staffers for life and ministry.


I will never forget my first time going into a drive-thru car wash. It was absolutely terrifying to my young mind. I remember looking to my dad and trying to read his facial expressions as those blue rags beat on the windows: “Is he afraid?” “Is he displaying on his countenance, the way I am feeling inside?” For the record, he wasn’t. I loved and respected my father so when the confusing and frightening incidents of life would come, I would look to him for that silent guidance. When a tragedy occurs, or when the unthinkable strikes in our homes, people ought to be looking to us as one who has a greater hope and a steady guide in adversity. At times, people will examine our lives to assess how we handle adversity. Many of us will find ourselves walking someone through a difficult life scenario. This is not the type of activity one would coast into passively. We must prepare ourselves for this responsibility
At camp, you learn what it is to bear the weight of people watching you. They are looking to you for guidance and direction. They watch how you interact with the people around you. They observe how you react to difficult situations. One day later you will likely feel the truth of the aphorism, “Don’t worry that children aren’t listening to you; worry that they are always watching you.” You will be able to draw from past experience. Leadership is far more than articulating or projecting, though it is also those things, it is largely made up of daily doing the right thing and demonstrating a hope placed in the Right One and actively pointing people to Him.

Work Ethic

Work has always been part of God’s design for man. We’ve always had to work and, until Jesus returns, it will be a part of human history. There is no way to avoid work and no reason to avoid it. Having said that, work is not merely important in and of itself. How we work is also significant. Every single day of camp you will work nearly (if not completely) to the point of exhaustion. Your head will sink into your pillow each night, exhausted but delighted. You will learn the pleasure of having depleted the storehouses of your abilities and then relied completely on the Lord to truly supply your every need. So much of our frustration in work comes when we are spending our energy for ourselves, investing in the temporal or doing work without the ethic. What we do is as important as how we do it. There are few places as forgiving as camp to learn such a helpful principle. Over a decade of life separates me from the college students that populate our staff. Nevertheless, there is not a day that passes where this principle is not deeply applicable and in multiple contexts. How you work as a husband, father, friend, church member, and employee matters.


Typically, the first tasks of my day are dictated by a 1, 4 and 6-year-old. I’ll make them breakfast and then make coffee for my wife. I’ll make the bed (when I remember) because that is important to my wife and clean up the kitchen and dining room where the kids have eaten before I take off to work for the next many hours. My workflow will be interrupted by the needs and questions of others. After heading home, I’ll walk in the door to relieve my hard-working wife from a day of dealing with the kids and move towards dinner followed by an after-dinner cleanup. I’ll wrestle with the kids until someone starts crying (usually my fault) and then convince their little bodies to stay in the bed so I can have some time with my wife before repeating this all again. And this routine of work, family, and serving others is the greatest delight of my life.
The world will tell you to do what feels good. It will work to convince you that your ultimate goal should be to fulfill your greatest pleasures. The Bible knows nothing of this and anyone who has read half of a John Piper book should know otherwise. This is a difficult lesson for many as they transition from being teenagers to adults. Camp is an incredible transition into a life of selflessness that is a must for any successful husband, father, and friend. Your days at serving at camp are consumed with pouring out your life as a drink offering to the Lord as you listen to students share their hearts, serve in the dining hall, help facilitate exciting activities for others, and anything else needs to be done. And it is good work. Selflessness was a quality of our Lord and imperative for us. (Philippians 2)


Accountability is a key component of the growing believer. It is for our protection and for our growth. There are often aspects of our lives that we have grown callous to or that we have justified through sin. We communicate the importance of “community” but few among us avail ourselves of the opportunity to choose vulnerability and live in Christ-focused, Scripture-informed, God-honoring, Christian-fellowship community. We can easily reinterpret an event of being with believers as fellowship as we can redefine conversation about the issues as accountability.

When you spend tireless days with like-minded peers under pressure, you expose yourself to the most wonderful accountability. You can’t hide your flaws and you can’t fake your way through. These people who love the Lord and love you will have this type of relationship where they can help remove that speck from your eye. You will be challenged through relationships and the hearing of God’s Word to be removing the log from your eye as well as helping others to remove their speck as well. This is accountability in its purest form.


One day, Lord willing, you will find yourself in a situation where little lives depend on you for food, shelter, and clothing. A wife will look to you for love, companionship, direction, and provision. Co-workers or employees will be turning to you for their life and success in their own personal endeavors. You cannot prepare well for this type of responsibility outside of intentional development of your heart and mind to bear such a burden. Scripture tells us that we must show ourselves trustworthy in the little things so we can be trusted with the big things.
At camp, you will have the responsibility to help shepherd the hearts and minds of eternal souls as they come onto our properties, into our classrooms, through our fields, and sitting in our worship center. You will have the responsibility to provide a safe and distraction-free experience for thousands of students to be ushered before the Throne of Grace to encounter the one true and living God. Make the decision to show yourself responsible and trustworthy today.

You will never get a return on an investment that you are not willing to make. You could never be fit without exercise and you cannot be a man without intentional preparation. Many today want to have spiritual and relational fitness without exercising the necessary muscles. Invest your summer wisely and reap the eternal benefits that can be uniquely multiplied through a Christ-centered ministry like Crossings.

To apply to be a staffer, click here.

To sign-up for a Be Strong Men’s Retreat, visit here.