I squatted over the telephone pole attempting to get my right foot on the top of the pole next to my left foot. I was 40 feet above the ground and the pole was shaking more than I would have preferred. I made the decision to just go for it and in all in one step I placed my right foot at the top of the pole and jumped out towards the trapeze swing. My left hand hit the trapeze but my right hand never made it over with my slightly awkward jump from the pole.
The Colorado portion of the COR Leadership Retreat isn’t about having success in every activity that we participate in; it’s about stretching yourself to try activities that you normally wouldn’t try. We certainly had that opportunity last week as we stretched ourselves on the giant swing, the zip line, rock climbing, peaking a summit at 12,500 feet in elevation and conquering the rapids of the Taylor River. Each experience is designed to grow the brothers in the purpose of the fraternity.
Men are not naturally willing to share their hearts with one another quickly. We need a shared experience, a common bond through activities in which we grow closer to one another. Colorado gives them the shared experience where brothers learn to trust one another on a much deeper level.
Mixed throughout the week were guided reflections times where brothers had the opportunity to reflect on their sessions from the prior week and seek the Lord in the vastness of the mountains. The Lord used those times to pursue the hearts of our men, and that became clearly evident as brothers grew closer to one another throughout the week. Debrief groups became deeper in conversation as brothers opened up about challenges and issues happening in their lives.
The brothers had the privilege of hearing from TCU BYX Founder Chuck James on the first night in Colorado. He shared with the brothers about the cost of leadership. He spoke on the importance of unity from John 17 and that unity requires a sacrifice. Chuck demonstrated his sacrifice in sharing with us some of his life challenges that often times prevent him from physically feeling well. The time inspired the brothers and challenged them in their leadership.
The brothers had the privilege of hearing from Texas A&M alumnus and board member David Pearson on the leader and the heart. David shared his personal testimony with the men and challenged them to learn from his experiences in life. He challenged the men to think deeply about the things we are tightly holding onto in our lives right now. We threw those challenges off the 12,500 feet Summit Peak together and continued on to share them with one another in our debrief groups.
The final night left a lasting impression on the brothers as we gathered for two hours in our debrief groups to encourage one another. Each brother had the chance to share a word of encouragement to each brother. I personally left deeply encouraged by the words my brothers shared as we got to know one another over the 11 days. We finished the evening in prayer and worship under the make shift lanterns of a cell phones and Nalgene bottles.
In the words of UTC Founder Scottie Hill, who attended the retreat, “There was not a brother who walked way from the experience unchanged, and certainly not a brother who regretted attending. It was one of the most formative experiences of my life to date, and I am pumped to see the lasting effects on my walk with Christ, my leadership in the fraternity and my impending excursion into the real world.”
When the opportunity presents itself in life, there are times where you just have to jump off the pole to experience all that God has for you.