GetRealPowerPoint (1)

For more information, to volunteer as a counselor, or sign up for the next Get Real campfire, call Ben Gray at 325-518-8327 or email him at Cost is $55, which includes meals and lodging.

A survey by the Barna Group showed that 60 percent of the men contacted said they are looking for a genuine encounter with God and an authentic relationship with others.

Men living in the Abilene area who want that are in luck. Ben Gray is riding to the rescue with his men’s ministry, Get Real.

“This is the crux of Get Real,” Gray said at the Oct. 25 meeting of the Abilene Association of Congregations.

Gray is looking for counselors and for men interested in attending the next campfire, as Get Real sessions are called. The next one will be held March 2-3, 2018, at Solid Rock Encampment near Eastland, about an hour’s drive from Abilene.

The campfire will follow the same format as the first one, which was held in September. The men gather at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and will be at the camp until 9 p.m. Saturday. All meals are provided on Saturday.

At the check-in at 6:30 on Friday, participants will get name tags and information needed for the Saturday program. Campers will stay overnight at the lodge at the encampment. Information will be provided on what to bring, including bedding and personal items.

The purpose of Get Real ministry is to help men address relevant life issues in the context of a safe environment, Gray said. Gray told the lunch crowd on Oct. 25 that he is concerned about the lack of church attendance by young men, especially those who are fathers of young children. What is being done to address the pattern of male absence? he asked.

“Young men’s ministry is the touch point of church growth,” he said.

Gray cautioned that the campfire discussions are not sanitized. Topics include communication, marriage, sexuality, the impact of addiction and pornography, forgiveness, and “gentle grace,” based on the principles used in horse training.

With God’s grace, lives can be changed and mistakes turned into pathways to lead others to a better way.

“Our mess can become a message,” Gray said. “Men listen to men who’ve screwed up.”

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