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MAN UP Retreat—August, 2016


The secular world has many meanings for the term “man up” (see sidebar). When viewed from a Christian perspective, the term takes on much greater meaning. God’s biblical advice and guidance within a God-pleasing framework of the term “man up” was the focal point for a three-day men’s retreat, held August 26-28, 2016 at Wyalusing State Park near Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. Taking as their theme Ephesians 6:10, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might,” more than sixty CLC men gathered to be enlightened, encouraged, and strengthened.

MAN UP — Verb

man up:  third-person singular. Simple present: mans up.
Present participle: manning up. Simple past and past
participle: manned up

idiomatic: To “be a man about it” means to do the things a man is traditionally expected to do, such as taking responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions, displaying bravery or toughness in the face of adversity, providing for one’s family, etc. (Compare “brace oneself, steel oneself”)

This retreat came about after much discussion and planning by various pastors and laymen. Several of those involved in the early stages of the planning for MAN UP were not able to attend, but we are thankful for their input. Participants were organized into four teams: Presentation, Activities, Cooking, and Cleaning. Those men interested in attending were urged to sign up for one of the teams, and two leaders were assigned to each team to organize their teams and coordinate with other teams.


The Hugh Harper Indoor Group Camp at Wyalusing has four separate buildings, each accommodating twenty-seven people (108 people total). There is also a main building with cooking facilities, dining room, and a large classroom. Additionally, a large amphitheater with fire pit is on the grounds. After arrival and settling in, attendees were served supper, which was followed by an evening devotion within the theme. The known and surmised histories of Boaz and Joseph served as examples of God-pleasing men. The evening’s relaxation activities included a bonfire, music, and lawn games.

The 2017 “Man UP!” retreat will be held September 22–24 at beautiful Wyalusing State Park near Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. 

The theme for the retreat is “Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3)   Registration deadline is August 1, 2017. You can find out more information, and register for the retreat at The cost is only $75 for the weekend, and includes lodging, meals, and activities.


For those who were up and were up to it, “strength training” consisting of hiking the trails, cave exploration, and rock climbing starting at 6:30 A.M. Breakfast was followed by a devotion, and then came the first MAN UP presentation, “Strength for Self.” Referring to Elijah’s strength (I Kings 19) and Paul’s lessons on weakness (2 Corinthians), the main focus was on building a strength budget, similar to a financial budget. Each participant identified personal strength sources and strength uses, and each developed a personal mission statement. Group discussion helped everyone work on his own budget.

Lunch was followed by the team-building activity of constructing a working catapult and participating in a contest.

MAN UP presentation number two was “Strength for Family.” The theme was broken down into several parts, including family in general, wives (why we have them), and husbands (how to be one). Illustrations from Genesis 19:23-26, 13:10, 19:8, Matthew 1:18-19, and 1 Corinthians 7:4 completed the lesson. The short exercise that followed encouraged each participant to think about his own family.

After supper came the third MAN UP topic, “Strength for Church.” This was the longest presentation of the day. It opened with a visual illustrating “what weakens us.” Participants were asked to complete the statement, “A pastor or layman is discouraged when . . .” Using supporting Bible lessons/passages, a four-part answer to each statement was discussed. The second lesson also opened with a visual illustrating “what strengthens us.”

The statements for participants this time were, a
pastor is encouraged when . . . and A layman is encourage when . . .  Again, the Lord in His Word provided completions for both statements.  Small group discussion followed on the topics “biblical concepts for spending time,” “congregational organization,” “developing leaders,” and “leadership styles.” Full group discussion then reviewed the smaller group findings.

After the last presentation, team building activities included Biblical Trivial Pursuit, a bonfire, and music.


Strength training in the form of hiking and rock climbing was again offered at 6:30 A.M. An 8:30 breakfast was followed at 9:30 with a divine worship service, with Pastor Paul Nolting serving as the preacher. After the service we discussed weekend takeaways and future planning. Then came lunch and facility clean up. The final activity was the catapult competition finals.

One of the takeaway observations was that fellowship like this weekend usually happens only at synod-wide pastoral conferences and CLC conventions. Having another opportunity for synod-wide fellowship is a blessing from the Lord.

Chuck Templeton is a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a retired business owner.