Monday, April 18, 2016


We had a colossal God-awesome Men's Advance Campout this past weekend with 35 exceptional men from Calvary Baptist Church of Clearwater!

The event was held in Odessa, FL on a 170 acre private ranch adjoining a beautiful lake and surrounded by thousands of blueberry bushes and plenty of majestic oak trees.

Activities included boating, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, volleyball, shooting at the gun range, Hole Shot, relaxing on hammocks, blueberry picking, watching an outdoor movie, hanging out around the campfire, Biblical lessons and challenges, morning devotions, and a whole lot of shoulder-to-shoulder guy time relationship building. It was the perfect weekend!

Most of the men arrived and didn't know anyone. That's one of the great things about events like this. In the course of 30 hours people can go from complete strangers to good friends (and in many cases we see the birthing of new best friends). The reality is that Christ-centered camping trips are relationship accelerators. There are so many elements within a camping trip that cause teamwork, overcoming, and collaboration. Then when you mix in a Biblical approach with an optimistic perspective, a joyful tone, and mutual encouragement you have a setting that promotes rapid relational growth. We estimate that one weekend event like this is the equivalent of an entire year of casual interaction at church. That's why camps and retreats are (or should be) big priorities to churches... so much growth, development, and salvations happen when we disconnect from the strangle hold of the many distractions found in our day-to-day life.

I want to thank my dear friend Pastor Ron Cooney for all the time, effort, planning, and promoting he did to make this event happen, and especially for the opportunity he gave our ministry to be able to host this event (our 4th time over the past 5 years!). It was a blessing to everyone involved! We are already talking about next year's event!

I want to thank our Staff & Volunteers for the tremendous job they did to turn Calvary's hopes and plans into reality. I can't accurately express how much hard work goes into setting-up camp, breaking-down camp, and everything in-between. They did an amazing job! (I will make a separate post to honor all of their efforts.)

And, as a non-profit organization, I want to thank all of our donors, Monthly Partners, and supporters for their faithful and consistent investment into this ministry. I learned a long time ago that many times God's method is man. He uses man to reach man. He works through willing vessels to make large impacts. Each person's donation to this ministry makes a difference in countless lives and we are forever grateful for your enablement and support that helps make what we do possible. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU SO MUCH!