It Takes a Training Ground Community

I sat in the local coffee shop, watching the flurry of customers. Every table was full, and my eyes were glued to the largest table, where eight men in at least their 70s sat and sipped coffee. I made eye contact with one of the men, and he came over and struck up a conversation with me by asking what I did for living. I shared about Training Ground and our conversation centered on young men and what they needed to grow up to be men.   We talked about young men in today’s culture of entitlement and passivity. We talked about how life was different when he grew up. This retired military veteran, with a twinkle in his eye said, “Sometimes you have to growl at a young man. Just a little. It doesn’t take much. Look them in the eye and tell them ‘I am going to make something of your life and when I am done, you are going to want to make something of your life, too.'”

I laughed out loud and told him he needed to meet some of our guys.   I know he would fit in with our community and would love our young men.   I went on to share a core value of Training Ground: It takes a community of men to love, shepherd, shape, and yes, sometimes growl, at our young men in order to become a man.

My heart turned to the young men who will participate in our 2014 summer program. Each young man will come with a unique story and on a different season of their faith journey. However, as a group they are filled with hope and desire to experience real life in a community of men! They hunger for older men to shape them, love them, and challenge them.

This community of men continues to touch lives well after the summer ends. A TG alumni recently caught me up on his last few weeks. With enthusiasm and soberness, he described how he was choosing to live his life. He said he was “dealing with his stuff, trying to hear from God, and trying to love people well.”   This young man, who can be a master at being whatever everyone else needs him to be, is being honest about who he is and isn’t. For the first time in his life, he is being himself and that is enough. His relationship with God is exploding with hope and the realization that God’s heart toward him really is good. This young man is on the journey to being transformed more into the person God made him and definitely more into Christ’s likeness. When I asked him the reason for the momentum of his growth and the newfound intimacy with the Father, he replied: “That’s simple. It’s because of the community of men he found at Training Ground.”

The community of Training Ground consists of men and women who share our passion for adventure, intimacy with the Father, and mentoring young men. We are a wonderful and messy group of people. If you are looking for a community that’s mission is to enjoy each other, adventure together, and invite some young men into our lives, please contact us. We would love to know you and introduce you to our summer guys.

 

Brett Causey, Colorado Director 

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