A Great Year for Men at Restoration

2013-2014 marked the first year Restoration hosted a series of events specifically for the men in the congregation. The original stated purpose was to provide a venue where men could hear clear teaching on what it means to be a man in today’s culture and to provide a safe place to find and to develop meaningful and encouraging friendships with other men in the congregation.

To achieve that end, Restoration hosted ManUp, six sessions on the 2nd Tuesday of each month with each session focusing on a different characteristic of what it meant to be a Godly man. Topics included humbleness, courage, selflessness, purity, self-control, and decision-making. Throughout the season, the format adjusted slighted, but at each ManUp four things happened: 1) David Hanke spoke on the topic. 2) 4-5 Restoration men gave 3-5 minute testimonies on how the topic played out in their lives and then answered questions in a panel format. 3) Attendees broke in to smaller groups to discuss the topic. 4) Attendees were encouraged to find another man to MeetUp with to discuss the topic or other life issues before the next ManUp.

Finally, Restoration hosted its annual men’s retreat (ManTreat) at the Fitch’s property in Middleburg, Virginia in mid-May. The retreat lasted 24 hours – noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday – men camped out in tents, sat around a fire, ate steak and played outdoor lawn games. In years past, Restoration men provided testimonies and then broke in to small groups for discussions throughout the retreat. This year, small group time remained, but Restoration invited an outside speaker to ManTreat because a lot of men had already shared testimonies during ManUp.

Over 100 Resto men gave us some feedback on these events and here is a little report on what Resto Men said:

Key Findings:

  • Resto men really like ManUp! They want more of them, not less.
  • Most Resto men didn’t MeetUp after ManUp, but they seem to recognize the importance of mentoring. Need a better way to provide mentoring services.
  • Men generally like the Middleburg camping option, but also wouldn’t mind a completely different set up. A significant minority (24% of respondents) don’t attend the men’s retreat because they don’t like camping. Going to a retreat center was just as popular an option (provided it costs less than $150/person).
  • Attendance was lower at this year’s retreat because of scheduling conflicts.

Content:

  • ManUp delivered on its goal of providing clear teaching on what it means to be a man.
  • Men liked the content at ManUp and ManTreat.
  • Men appreciate content tailored to specifically to them.
  • Men want to know more about the Bible and how it speaks into all areas of their life, relationships, and vocation.
  • Fatherhood, husbandry, vocation/calling, leadership, and budgeting/finance were the specific topics most mentioned for future sessions.
  • Most Restoration men trust David/Restoration to provide the content and/or don’t have an opinion on what the topic/teaching is
What topic seems most critical for our ManUp conversations in the coming year?  
Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Developing Biblical financial habits

27.7%

28

Integrating Biblical knowledge and practical theology into my day to day life

65.3%

66

Developing a theology of vocation

32.7%

33

Learning to be a Biblical, servant leader in my vocation and in my relationships

42.6%

43

Practical apologetics for sexual ethics (understanding and applying what the Bible says about healthy sexuality)

18.8%

19

Dealing with hard questions and challenges to my faith in God—  integration of science, sexual ethics, reconciling politics and a relationship with Jesus, hell and heaven and what’s next, what about people who have never heard about Jesus, etc.

56.4%

57

Other (please specify)

24

MeetUp and Mentoring:

  • Most men didn’t MeetUp after ManUp.
  • Some men thought the way MeetUps were encouraged (or forced) was awkward and ineffective.
  • Men understand the importance of having a mentor.
Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

I did not have a MeetUp.

59.4%

60

I had at least one MeetUp.

35.6%

36

I did 4 or more MeetUps and got to know 4 or more men at Restoration

5.0%

5

The MeetUp idea was a positive experience.

32.7%

33

The MeetUp idea was a negative experience.

1.0%

1

I had multiple MeetUps with the same guy.  We both got a lot out of it.

4.0%

4

 

In the comments, we learned:

  • Men want ManUp to meet more often.
  • Some men want food and drink at ManUp or want to have an established hang out spot afterwards.
  • Men wanted more small group time and time to interact with others.
  • Sometimes it was hard to hear the panelists.
  • Men thought one or two of the sessions next year could be non-teaching nights – either a service outing or just general hang out time.
  • Some men who were new to Restoration found ManUp difficult or awkward to connect.
  • Ray and Endel are Restoration Superstars!

Selected comments:

“Instead of small groups during ManUp, encourage people to pair up with someone they don’t know to talk through the topic(s). Then encourage people to “meet up” with that person once before the next meeting. Being paired up will provide a comfortable foundation for broaching the subject of meeting up with that person before the next meeting. Additionally, this could enrich the discussion time during ManUp — allowing pairs of people to get vulnerable quickly as opposed to having to get comfortable with a new group of people before opening up.”

 

“I wonder if there could be more intentionality about the “MeetUps” and who gets paired with whom? May be more complicated than is worth it — but I know I did not follow through on scheduling my MeetUp, in part because it felt quite random! (Was grabbed by someone with whom I didn’t share much commonality). Maybe a simple web tool where guys shared a bit about themselves and made themselves available?”

 

“I didn’t care for the way we were encouraged to find a MeetUp partner. Many times I couldn’t remember who had stood up for a particular demographic/career so we could pair up. Maybe this is a just a lack of knowing all the men at restoration.”

 

ManTreat

  • Most men generally like the men’s retreat as it is.
  • Most men couldn’t come because of a scheduling conflict (NOTE: this was the first year the men’s retreat was in May, instead of last weekend of April).
  • Most men thought having an outside speaker for ManTreat was a nice end to the ManUp season.
  • 1/4 of Resto men (who responded to the survey question) don’t like camping.
  • Most men want to spend $100 or less for the men’s retreat.
  • Camping and a retreat center were the two most popular location options for a men’s retreat.

 

 

What was your primary motivation to attend the men’s retreat (May 17-18, 2014)?
Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

I have attended ManTreat before and I love everything about it.

51.9%

14

I wanted to meet more folks at Restoration.

40.7%

11

I have really enjoyed ManUp and this was a chance for more of it.

29.6%

8

I love to camp and this is a great venue.

25.9%

7

Other (please add your own reason)

5

 

If you did not attend ManTreat 2014, could you tell us why not?
Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

I hate camping.  (Please suggest a different venue in the comments)

24.2%

15

I hate retreats.

1.6%

1

I had a scheduling conflict. (Please suggest a preferred time in the comments)

80.6%

50

I don’t know anybody at Restoration.

1.6%

1

It was too expensive.

0.0%

0

I have been to the ManTreat before and I really don’t like it.  

4.8%

3

Other (please specify)

45

 

What would you spend for a men’s retreat with a single night of lodging and 3 meals (lunch, dinner, breakfast)
Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

$50 (it’s going to be camping…)

40.8%

40

$100 (might be a retreat center)

41.8%

41

$150 (could be a cheaper hotel)

33.7%

33

$200 (getting nicer…)

19.4%

19

$250 or more…

8.2%

8

 

In the comments, we learned:

  • Most men who don’t like camping explain they would just like to have a bed to sleep in at the end of the night and say weekend sleep is a treasured commodity in NOVA/DC.
  • Men like having (organized) outdoor activities during the retreat and found them lacking this year.
  • Some men would like to rethink the food options and how it’s delivered.
  • Some men missed the hot breakfast.
  • Some men would like some personal retreat time.

 

Comments:

 

I think the advantage of Middleburg is that there are no distractions. Give us some prayer topics and three or four 20- min periods for individual retreat time.

Organized games in the afternoon.

More structured games/activities would be fun.

An organized game/activity such as capture the flag or skeet shooting could be good. I’m an extrovert so I like mingling, but I imagine that would be harder on the introverts

Maybe some kind of team activity. Where we are in are discussion groups but we have to do something together for fun or for competition. Nothing hard or athletic, just to let us interact in a different environment

I liked the hot breakfast that we had in previous years — where did that disappear to?

Maybe try to coordinate the food a little better. I think we could do something a bit more exciting and fun (and possibly even at less cost) if we planned it out. Hot breakfast the next morning?

Do more of a potluck style for dinner for more variety of food. Have small groups meet on both days.

 

Better organization for cooking so meals can flow better/ have a cooked breakfast organize small groups ahead of time to provide diverse perspectives on the topic

foodtruck? skeet and trap shooting.

From David:

Thanks for a great year!  We will be rolling out ManUp and the ManTreat starting in October.  So look for details as we get in to our new building!!

Many thanks to all the men who gave us your feedback and many thanks to Scott Buckhout who pulled together this great report.

-David