The family unit is under attack like never before. Movies and television often portray dad as a lovable goof who is easily ignored. It appears the value of fatherhood is downplayed across our culture. As a God-ordained heads of household, men seem to have a lot of this world working against them. As a man, I have felt the need to band together, to find help; just the camaraderie and social aspect of having someone that can understand modern burdens. It is more challenging than ever to live as a Christian father. But where can we go to connect with others who are seeking to be faithful men of God?
Enter The Summit, the Oklahoma Conference Men’s Ministry whose theme is “Reaching new heights, together.” As I was visiting the newly redesigned Okadventist.org website I came across an event for a “24-hour Summit Adventure.” This event is one of three yearly events planned by Pastor Robert Quintana (“Pastor Q”), the Men’s Ministry Director. The three events are the Summit Retreat, Summit Workshop, and Summit Adventure. This year the Summit Adventure was held in the Wichita Wilderness Refuge in Indiahome, OK.
Following Sabbath worship at our churches, 20 men from across Oklahoma navigated to a spot deep in the woods with no cell service, free from the burden technology can add to our lives. We started a fire, communed together, and built new friendships. We ate, we laughed, and we chased raccoons out of camp as they stole our breakfast. We joked about having to pay nature a “tithe” for being in a wilderness that can be strange to us in our first-world lives. A large bison wandered through our camp in the middle of the night to say hello.
Pastor Q grounded us with a much-needed study on the need we have for accountability and the need to check in with one another. Hebrews 3:13 tells us to “exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” God designed so much of the world around us to work in unison. If you take cement, water, and aggregate you’ll make a concrete that is very strong; add in steel rebar and you’ll have a structure that will stand the test of time.
On Sunday we bonded over the glint of sharpened axes as we hurled them at logs, developing a new skill together, and challenging each other over who was more accurate. The final adventure was a 2.3-mile hike to a peak 570 feet above the start. There were times I didn’t think I could make it. For a moment I thought maybe I should just sit there and wait for the group to come back down. But being a part of the group encouraged me to continue, and prodded me on to the summit reaching heights I’d never reached before. And I reached the peak, standing on top of the world, laughing with my new friends next to me. A memory that won’t quickly fade, creating a longing for the next journey.
Scripture tells us that “if one prevails against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). We are crafted for companionship, called to community, consecrated by camaraderie, and connected to Christ. That’s what Summit Men’s Ministry is chartered to facilitate for the men of the Oklahoma Conference.
The Summit Retreat will be held at Wewoka Woods, January 28-29, 2023, so men, make plans now to join us there!
by :: Jason Diehl