Our Solutions Coming in 2023
We are piloting programs for our two experiences in 2023. Click here to view our website (still in beta). Click here to donate to our ministry as we work to achieve our mission of training and affirming boys to be competent men with Christ-like character.
Share this newsletter with your pastors and friends to get their take and interest. After reading this, our hope is that you will:
Organize your own tribe.
Subscribe each member of your Tribe to this newsletter for in-depth research and training ideas for your sons.
Join our Tabernacle Father-Son retreat in Richmond, VA on March 31, 2023 or create one for your own Tribe.
Start a Titans team through your church.
URGE your churches to get on board!
If you are interested in any of the above, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org We’ll walk through the process with you.
Now - read more below to learn about what we have in store for 2023!
Plugging The Dam
It’s time to get into the ‘solutions’’ phase of our conversation about ‘lost boys’. As we have considered the problem (extensively) and examined the root causes, we now turn to taking our manifesto and philosophy of spiritual formation and shaping resources and products that will help plug some of the holes on this “dam” problem.
Even though it is a ‘wicked’ problem, when I say that word ‘dam’, I’m referring to the word picture of a dam that is leaking and almost ready to burst. Consider the story of Hans Brinker who saved the village from the leaking dam by plugging the hole with his finger. The problem is that this dam has too many holes. The good news is that there are others who are working on various aspects of this problem. People who are the least bit observant realize it is a major problem We are interested in being a PART of the solution by offering a process, path, or idea that no one else is doing the same way. Our products will include experiences, products, and media.
But the goal of everything we do is to build long-lasting relationships between boys and a company of men.
That is our call and our manifesto.
When I was a children’s pastor at a local church, I introduced several ideas into my programming that were built upon the idea of building relationships. Relationships are the very heart of ministry. Ministry generally happens because you’ve built a relationship with someone that gives you a platform to speak into their life. I started a mid-week program called CMU (Children’s Ministry University) It was built like college curriculum with a goal of putting people from the church in contact with our kids. I asked them to teach something (almost anything) that they were good at doing: cooking, writing, mechanics, carpentry, chess, etc. For eight weeks, they met together with their ‘students’ and ‘taught’ them a skill set that they were competent in. Over the course of 8 weeks, they built relationships. From there, ministry could happen. I had people upset because I didn’t include ‘devotions’, which I did add, along with a mission project for the class at the end of the semester.
But the point was always that the relationships WERE the devotions and the ministry.
It’s the age-old approach of apprenticeships and it was the very heart of Jesus’ plan for discipleship. The same thing happened when I introduced the Father-Son retreat. People were wondering where the ‘church’ services would be scheduled. I suppose they thought it should run like summer camp? But, the point was that the gathering with all its integrated activities, meals, and competitions WERE the church services.
We can easily miss the point that God designed us to be in relationships.
This is the central reason we ‘gather’ in churches every week. The point of that is to encourage one another.
I keep telling my small house church that our meeting time isn’t about them. It’s about everyone else in the group.
Come prepared to be a blessing to someone else. Don’t come for what YOU can get. It’s NOT ABOUT YOU. It’s a theme that has run through my ministry life.
This brings us back to what we provide in our content. We want to bring resources that call you to gather in tribes. The affirmation of boys into manhood does NOT happen apart from a community. A single Dad can’t accomplish this on his own (although he is the most important component). It’s the community of men that is vital. This is one of the things that makes “Treign Up” unique in our approach to the problem. Other ministries equip fathers. Some include boys on a weekend retreat. One may have curriculum for a year that you can follow and then proceed to a rite of passage ceremony. But NO ONE that we can find, is proposing an integrated program from age 5-18 that enlists the company of men to help boys on their journey to manhood. It’s a large commitment. But the need for it has never been greater. And the payoff is a legacy that bears fruit for generations.
As my son and I have been pondering our approach, I said to him, “Perhaps now I understand why no one else does this. It’s just too hard.” And it is a daunting task. We have no idea how people may respond to our proposal. But we have to start somewhere, and that seems to be Tabernacle Retreat and our new sports model called the Titans.
We are already considering several other ways to provide gatherings for tribes. And the wellsprings for forming tribes can be anywhere where boys already congregate: schools, sports, churches, neighborhoods, and special interest groups, like the outdoors. But for now, we will focus on the church for fairly obvious reasons.
The church (and parents) are NOT doing a good job of keeping boys engaged in spiritual formation. This has to do with the things we talked about in the initial podcasts. There are certainly multiple reasons. We need to rethink our approach, and many church leaders recognize this.
Whether leadership comes from children’s ministry, youth ministry, or men’s ministry, the resources and internal structures for integrating our ideas are already there.
It’s an established and important part of our social fabric that has a group of boys already meeting every week. You don’t have to ‘add’ another day of the week to accommodate a meeting.
Raising Godly men should be a priority in every church. It is their job to be a partner with parents on this.
The hub around which all programming, content, and intention revolve is the annual retreat called “Tabernacle”. These retreats can be attended by a single tribe or multiple tribes. This event is so important because it houses the rituals and ceremonies. It’s a weekend of activities, competitions, training, food, and fun. While we have developed schedules and content for this retreat, it is highly flexible in its administration. A sample weekend schedule could include:
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Capture The Flag
Rite of Passage
Arguably the most important element over the weekend are the ceremonies that take place. The three ceremonies that tie our philosophy together happen at ages 8, 13, and 18. They are:
“Ceremony of the Scroll”
A brief synopsis of each follows:
The Elevatio: This is latin for the word ‘raising up’. It is a dedication and commitment ceremony for the father or mentor and the company of men. It formally declares their commitment to the process of affirming this boy in manhood and consists of some ritual, vows, and the ‘lifting up’ of the boy onto the shoulders of the company of men. This was a Roman tradition that has extended into our culture through sports and story. Comparatively, it is the giving of son to the family of a knight as a page in medieval times.
Ceremony of the Scroll: This ceremony is where the boy begins to take a more active role in his own quest for manhood. It consists of ritual, imagery, and the sealing of scroll with vows taken by the boy during the ceremony. These vows are then held by the boy until his manhood ceremony when the seal is broken and the vows reviewed and then burned. It is the place of ‘leaving behind childish things and starting to think like a man.” Comparatively, it is the phase of knighthood equivalent of becoming a squire.
Manhood Ceremony: This is the pinnacle of the rites of passage ceremonies. With all that has been accomplished, the journey is recognized as being completed, and there is a formal acceptance into the company of men. This ceremony is accompanied by testimonies, gifts, and rituals.
These three ceremonies together recognize and affirm the journey every boy must take to be accepted into manhood. All curriculum, tribe gatherings, retreats, and other programming in Treign UP work towards this end and coincide with the age-specific ceremonies. A boy that goes through this journey with Treign Up will forever be changed by the process and its indelible impact on them.
Hey, Everyone! This is Ben jumping in now -
In 2017 I started a passion project known as Captains Coach (Click here to learn more). It was a sports leadership company focused on helping team captains lead their teams more effectively and helping coaches systematically develop them. I’ve always had a passion for sports and have unique insight into the power it has to shape the individual, a local community, and even a nation. I see it to be one of the “final frontiers” that our culture has mostly gotten right. As we were thinking through the question of “what is the best environment to develop boys in” I knew sports had to exist somewhere in our process.
This past year, as a part of Captains Coach, I decided to take a year and work with just one team and see where some of my unique ideas would help to take a team. It was one morning while working out with this local high school football team, I looked around and saw the following:
12 Christian men raising standards for the boys around them and holding them accountable EVERY SINGLE DAY.
80+ boys from ages 13-18 HOLDING EACH OTHER ACCOUNTABLE, encouraging one another, working to be their very best, all while standing side-by-side on mission together.
I found it hard to argue that a better environment exists for boys. Especially, and most importantly, when you incorporate the most important part of all - Jesus.
Although the Tabernacle experience is what we might consider the “pinnacle” event. We realize that only so much can happen during one weekend of the year. As noted above, what matters most is relationships. We believe that integrating sports into this process will help a Tribe to connect in deeper, and more meaningful ways. Here is how it will work:
Think of this like the sports version of Royal Rangers…
Your church community has a group of boys at different age levels. Titans will first focus on elementary ages 4-12. Instead of all of them separating and joining different leagues and teams each season, the boys in each age group will form their own team and play together. These teams will integrate into a pre-existing local rec league and be led by fathers or men from the church or Tribe. We currently recommend baseball in the spring, flag football in the summer, soccer in the fall, and basketball in the winter but your church/Tribe will have the autonomy to pick and choose based on what the local rec leagues have available.
This brings the tribe together on a weekly basis in an environment primed for discipleship - an adventure where deeper relationships can be built between the boys AND the fathers who help to lead.
What We Provide
Your Tribe/Church will sign up through Treign Up, and we will provide the:
Training for your church leaders and fathers to start and operate this sports ministry successfully.
Curriculum for your coaches to be successful in both spiritual formation and the sports-specific skills and strategies needed to train and win!
Partnerships with your local recreational leagues that we will manage both the relationships and signup/comms process.
The Church or Tribe will be in charge of the following:
Organizing the leaders and kids to participate in this ministry.
Managing the day-to-day requirements of the ministry.
The local recreational leagues that we partner with will allow three things:
Churches to sign up entire teams into their league
These teams that sign-up will be all boys
Fathers and coaches of these teams to incorporate faith practices such as prayer, scripture reading, and biblical manhood principles into both practices and games for their teams
One of the things we like most about this model is how scalable it is. It is something that big churches can take part in or small churches. You can create one team or 50 teams based on how many kids you have in your ministry. Our favorite is the opportunity for the Church or Tribe to sponsor other boys in the community to take part in these teams and learn about Jesus through this medium.
Reach out to email@example.com if you want to talk with us more about this opportunity or sign your church up!