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The fruit of men getting away from it all

We all need to get away to see our lives in context and to get God’s help in the way we live.   That’s why I regularly gather with a bunch of men for a long weekend somewhere in the wild on what we call a “manhike.”   We completed our third hike yesterday. 11 of us men from VA, MA, …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
We all need to get away to see our lives in context and to get God’s help in the way we live.
That’s why I regularly gather with a bunch of men for a long weekend somewhere in the wild on what we call a “manhike.”
We completed our third hike yesterday. 11 of us men from VA, MA, NC, AL, & GA schlepped our backpacking stuff to Black Mountain campground and we hiked Mount Mitchell, about an hour from Asheville, NC.

What I love about these hikes is that we know we’re bringing a lot more than our gear and we know we need help dealing with it. In this group:

Two of us have pregnant wives.

One of us is at a hard spot in his marriage.

One of us is coming out of addiction and abuse.

Several of us are going through a life transition.
But all of us realized what we share in common in our masculine journey and we saw that we needed prayer. We saw the complexity of our lives in the flickering light of a campfire and knew that only thru prayer could we navigate the issues coming at us.
We prayed at length for our wives. We asked God to show us their hearts and to give us some poetic means to connect with them. We prayed for a revelation of our role in fighting for them.
The fruit of these hikes is an experience of church and a calling out of our best selves. It’s a great venue for men to wake up. I’m thinking that I’ll do one of these just for blog readers sometime in July or August. Let me know if you’re interested.

Comments (11)

  • My first reaction was, “I want in on the hike.” I need those same benefits. But, duh, this is a guy experience, so that won’t work…

    But I so appreciate and value the diverse experiences, hope represented and willingness to come before the God of love and healing, not judgment and condemnation to fill your cups to overflowing so that there is life to share with others.

    Great idea!

  • Kathy- I’ve seen how much some of those men love these hikes and how much they say they benefit.

    I think we need to get a woman’s hike going :-)!

  • well said. that is my feelings as well. I also loved the fact that there were men at different stages in life helping and caring about each other.

  • Thanks for sharing, Seth. I too have found good, quality, “guy time” at any venue to be a very productive and beneficial time of encouragement. Men need to know that there is a place they can go to be real without judgment or condemnation. I am a part of a group of men that meets regularly for breakfast, dinner, or just to pal around. These times generally include real talk about real issues…much like what you shared about. We pray for one another, hold each other accountable, and encourage each other. I think the greatest life changing element is that guys are accepted with all their warts and scars and life issues. In the end, I believe we are all the better for it. There is truly power in a group of men seeking and loving God together. Certainly, our women, families, and the body of Christ at large need this opportunity for men to be engaged, challenged, and developed. “Iron sharpens iron.”

    Peace and blessings…


  • What a blessing to read this. Our world needs manly men, and men who are willing to connect with one another. May God be honored and pleased with the end result of your time away—as reflected through daily living, marriages, and each man’s relationship with the Savior.

  • hey seth, this is Cornelyus, i think this is really a good way to stay connected with the guys.. and in the same time gathering together to spur one another on.

    well, i am organizing a men retreat for some 19 yr old guys, to prepare their hearts before they proceed for the their national service to the country. These guys just graduated from their tertiary education in Singapore. The objective of this retreat is to gear them up emotionally, mentally n spiritually as they step into a new phase of life and into the working world.

    would like to hear frm you, what are some things that u think i can be doing to engage this students meaningfully during the retreat? Hope to hear from u soon=]

    Serving Him,

  • Kathy, Suzanne, Fairh, Yes, let’s start one! Not sure if “ladyhike” sounds quite right – maybe: *Eve Embark *Venus Venture *WeGO!- (trying hard here to steer clear of words with negative connotations; maybe Seth can help with a more suitable name.
    I know a lady who’s a big-time hiker and I guess I’m a wanna’be! My drawback is having younger kiddos (youngest just turned 8) and a spouse who travels for work with a monthly known schedule. But hey, I’d make it work somehow if I could. My fav places span from The Grand Tetons and Red Bud, MT to Machu Picchu, Peru. Anytime I’ve been in those kinds of places I meet God is beautiful ways and get “filled up”. And the experience gets topped when with like-hearted friends who yearn to grow up in Christ. Takes me back to BIOLA college days and “Sierra Soujourn.”

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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