Men’s Retreat Focuses on Deep Topics

Posted on Nov 30 2017

An SECC Men’s Ministry retreat allowed open conversation in a safe space Oct. 13-15 at Camp Cedar Falls. Men from all walks of life asked questions, gave advice, and discussed deep topics in groups at Man Cave, a speaker-facilitated event.

“Concerns about life, how to deal with finances, substance abuse, a relationship gone bad—those things are like a white elephant taboo topic at a church setting,” said Herbert Williams, director of men’s ministry at Valley Fellowship church. “These men had questions. They wanted to engage. This event was where they could come together and talk about those topics and more.”

Speakers had 10-minute presentations explaining topics relating to the theme “A Man and His Traps” to six to eight groups. Then everyone discussed it at their table.

“We think that everything will be OK if we have control, significance, and comfort,” said Juan Stricklan, member of Valley Fellowship church. “These three things are lies—gaining these do not mean your life will be good. A way to help remove these things is developing relationships with other men and having prayer networks to share the struggles in our lives.”

Delroy Brooks, pastor at Fontanta-Juniper Avenue church, opened on Friday night and discussed how temptations and selfish behaviors stem from an idol problem, keeping a man from living a life of true passion and purpose. Going below the surface and understanding what’s going on in the heart that’s driving that behavior is the start.

Kelby McCottry, pastor at Valley Fellowship church, talked Sabbath morning on empty promises.

“Problems are like plants,” McCottry said. “You need to get to the roots to prevent them from popping up again.”

Carl Irby, from Banning church, continued the topic for the worship service and specifically dealt with deeper promises and “secret sins.” In the afternoon, a Q&A session opened up for the men to ask questions and for anyone in the room to answer.

“We did not want questions brushed off,” Williams said. “Anything that they wanted to talk about and discuss was open. No topic was too heavy or too deep for discussion.”

That evening, Gianluca Gibbons, a motivational speaker and mentor, talked about three tips on giving up control, and encouraged giving the problem to God. The weekend event ended on Sunday after George King, conference vice president for Black Ministries, encouraged the men to be accountable to a friend or support group.

“We can keep each other in check with small men’s groups and come together to support each other,” said Eric Penick, director of men’s ministry. Penick said this event helped connect with other churches and hopes that men will start going to small groups in their areas.

To speak with Penick about starting a small men’s group or getting involved with men’s ministry, email him at

Jessica Anzai Permaul