At True Pursuit we put a lot of emphasis on the Weekend, meaning the two weekend events the team puts on each year; one in Michigan and the other in Pennsylvania. We tell men the weekend is different from any other Men’s Weekend they might have attended from a church or organization. And we believe we are right! So what follows are some comments from our True Pursuit Team about the weekends and why they are so important to our mission.
The TP Weekends are intentionally designed to welcome men into thinking about their life in a different way. Many conferences are geared to giving more knowledge – teaching the to head. TP also believes that heart issues need to be addressed. There is something to the verse, “Above all else, guard your heart.” (Proverbs 4:23). So, we explore many issues related to the heart. It’s important to True Pursuit because we get to actually “be with” the men for a few days. We vulnerably share our stories and listen to their stories. We have candid conversations about hopes, successes and failures. We invite them into rhythms of Solitude that have changed our lives. And, men return for subsequent weekends because they find out they are not alone. Each TP Weekend we live our mission of rescuing men’s hearts and inviting them to taste freedom.
I would say the biggest part about the weekends is being awakened (or re-awakened, in some cases). It begins by being awakened to the reality that we live in a world at war – that we must be prepared to fight for the life we want to live and the men we want to become. These very things are opposed, and we must prepare ourselves to fight this opposition. We also become awakened to the importance of solitude in staying connected to the Trinity – the “vine” and the source of ALL life. And we also become awakened to the importance of not fighting this battle or practicing solitude alone (that’s called isolation). Living this life with an authentic community is how our individual solitude practices come together, and where we support, challenge, and love one another. As Henry Nouwen says, “Community is where solitude and solitude come together.”
From my experience, most men’s weekends are offered as a way to; help get yourself together, get your behavior in line, do another activity for church, show your wife you care about church/God, etc. They seem to address the external symptoms/behaviors that result from a life without intimacy with God while mostly ignoring the deeper internal issues of the heart that cause us to engage in damaging behaviors. This would be like a doctor addressing the fever and sore throat that someone is experiencing without figuring out why they’re feeling that way or resolving the root cause. The True Pursuit Weekend offers men a safe place to enter into true relationship with themselves (even the parts they’re most ashamed of and keep hidden from the world) and the God who loves them no matter what. If men don’t know that they’re loved, no matter what, then they will likely not have the will to dive back into their stories and allow God to heal them. We invite guys into the practice of asking, listening, and just being with The Trinity.
We think of the True Pursuit Weekend as covering the fundamentals of a transformative life with God. It tends to be eye opening for the first time attendee, and a reminder or refresher for men who return. Regardless of how far you’ve journeyed, it seems God always offers you more on a Weekend. So there is both breadth and depth to the content. And objectively, we speak to topics that are rarely spoken about in Christian circles. It is common for men to say I’ve never heard anyone talk about that at my church. For example, we discuss intimacy with God, the power we have in brokenness, interpreting our individual stories, spiritual warfare, our addictions, healthy sexuality, who God designed us to be, and what Jesus meant when he spoke of freedom. In doing this, we try to remain true to this principal: offer only what we’ve been living (that doesn’t mean living perfectly).