Saturday, October 26, 2013

Why Not Africa?

I often look at my friends doing mission work in interesting and needy places like Africa and ask myself “why would we bother to plant our ministry right here at home?” We are privileged in every comparable way to the suffering peoples who comprise the majority of the world’s population. Why would I want to serve people who often times think their biggest problem is the barista forgetting that they ordered a NON-fat quad grande six pump vanilla one inch steamed breve Americano? But the answer that seems so clear to me and that drives me with passion every day is that this is NOT the biggest problem that we privileged Americans are suffering.

The reality is that our culture has medicated our sin by covering it over by the white noise of our first world problems. This certainly begins with the sins of abdication and rebellion that are so clear once the surface of our privilege is scratched, but my concern deepens and adds urgency to the mission of our ministry when I consider the disaster toward which our culture is so unwittingly racing.

If the church does not arrest this spiral of prodigal rebellion, if we continue to squander the inheritance with which God has blessed us, then we should not pretend that we will continue to have all these lovely first world blessings to help us ignore our growing intimacy with sin.

But even with this harsh criticism still hanging in the air, it is not fear that is my primary motivator. If that was all I had then it would be easier to simply hide rather than to fight. What really gets me out of bed excited each morning is that I see every day the life changing work that God is doing in the lives of men and boys, Fathers and sons. Though most of this would never be sexy enough to find its ways into a made for TV movie, I believe that God is laying the deep and lasting groundwork for a revival that will reform our  culture in a way that eventually WILL be noticed in the history books.

We hope that the stories we’ve included in this blog will give you a strong sense for what God is doing and that you will be inspired to join us in our ministry through prayer and financial support.

If you have been considering becoming a financial partner in our ministry please know that now is the time when we really need your help. Please prayerfully consider supporting our ministry as God has seen fit to bless you.

In Christ,

A very grateful Gregg Family!

A Letter From a Dad

Our program ministries (Tree Climbers, Stockade, Battalion), as well as our summer camp ministry are designed to foster a context of discipleship. Often this provides great opportunity for Dads to engage their sons and to be challenged to respond more consistently to the call that God has placed on their life to walk alongside their sons and to help them grow into godly men.

This is a letter I received after one of our camps this summer. My hope in sharing this is that you will be encouraged and that you will also come to better understand the kind of ministry to which God has called us.

Dear Dave,

Thanks for the great week of camp. It was a great experience for Jason and me. I was reviewing the week with my wife and noticing all the areas of growth opportunities I had written down, both for Jason and myself. A totally worthwhile experience. I was continuously impressed by the focus of the camp, the subject matter of the Bible Ex and the Christian maturity of all the leaders.

Spending the week with you cemented my belief that God has placed you in your position with great wisdom and purpose. You did a fantastic job in engaging all the campers and providing an excellent example of a Christian man. Both Jason and Josh spoke highly of you all the way home.
I'll continue to pray about ways that God can use me and specifically the areas you mentioned.

This week convicted me on areas in my roll as Father to my boys where I need to grow. God resounded two words that came through in nearly every Bible Ex, devotion and memory verse this week.


I've been too passive in allowing misbehavior in my family. That passivity has also trickled down to my mentorship of Jason’s spiritual growth. I've also been convicted about several areas that, while I claim are with selfless motivation, are really selfish areas I need to eliminate. I appreciate your prayers as I work to make these areas reflect God's will for my life.

Your brother in Christ,


Dorito Stains and Other Annoyances

There’s nothing natural about that orange color that they put in Doritos. And it does unnatural things to van upholstery that deserves a warning label. Neon upholstery isn’t the only evidence of another long summer of camping ministry. Our van is abused, filthy, and completely used up by the end of each summer. Garbage, sand, dirt, body odor blending with the smell of salt air, lonely socks, and miscellaneous electronic equipment are lodged like the casualties of war in every conceivable crevice.

Honestly, by the last week of camp I also feel like a casualty of war. Physically, emotionally, spiritually battered. Willing but wasted. It was in this depleted and slightly irritable state, as I drove a handful of weary junior counselors up from our last boy’s camp in southern California, that I had a short and surprising conversation.

A month prior to this moment Bob Nass and I had spent half a week training some pretty green counselors on the details of counseling boys. At that point it seemed to them, as it always does prior to stepping onto the field, that the task ahead would roll from one touchdown to another. Difficult … yes, but smiles the whole way. But a month later the silence of exhaustion was only softly broken by the periodic tapping of phones texting friends and family back home, held in hands attached to bodies sprawled on the bench seats of my van.

I remember driving along with only the hum of rubber pushing at asphalt, the glow of little screens illuminating the interior, and the wave like wash of headlights marking the passing of the miles left until home. This hypnotic silence was suddenly broken by Matt who had until now sat uncharacteristically quiet behind me.

“Is it as frustrating for you to deal with us junior counselors as it is for us to deal with campers?”

Hmmm … that had come out of nowhere. This kind of candid self-reflection deserved an equally candid response. “Yes Matt. It can be difficult … but it’s worth it.” I responded. “I love you guys and because of that I don’t ignore where you are today, but I also don’t focus so much on where you are today as much as where I see you heading. That encouraging prospect gives me the hope that provides joy in the midst of what can sometimes be very frustrating.” That was pretty much the end of the conversation but I could see a thoughtful and satisfied look rest on his face as I glanced in the rear view mirror. I hope he felt as encouraged as I did.

How many young men would have the ability to think so critically about themselves? There was so much good packed into that simple question. And it points out not only the caliber of young men that we have each summer serving as counselors at camp, but also reveals the major thrust of our camps. For sure our camps are about the campers who attend, but an enormous goal of our ministry is to pour into the lives of the junior counselors. Just consider the exciting opportunity that represents: a month of 24/7 training and discipleship through living and serving together.

The fruit we see each summer in the lives of our counselors is certainly worth a van defaced by months of ministry, and even a body wearied by the task.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Content With A Broken Neck

Seven years ago Karen was in the middle of body-abusing radiation treatments for brain cancer that had been discovered a few weeks before when I'd come home to find my wife unconscious on the floor. Those moments of fear and confusion seven years ago waiting for the ambulance, the pallor of death, the unconscious fear and confusion animating her face ... that picture forced it's way onto the mantelpiece of my consciousness like an unwelcome memorial where it will sit for the rest of my life.I have been spared familiarity with death, but I have not been spared familiarity with the look of a body in shock, desperately trying to gather its fading resources to to stave off that dark enemy.

The morning prior to that collapse seven years ago she'd woken with a headache and nausea and had been resting all day. Loathe to spend an entire day unproductive in bed She'd come into the living room to rest where life was still buzzing around her. I found her laying there on the floor after rushing home from errands with the most important goal on my mind at that time being to get Josh to his soccer practice. When I saw her unresponsive on the floor my priorities, and in fact my life, found a whole new order.

It was seven years ago this past Tuesday that our life was forced out of its comfortable unbroken tedium. This past Tuesday had the same cadence to it. Karen hadn't been feeling that well; a passing bug that had already inconvenienced many of our friends. An upset stomach had tried and done a pretty decent job of keeping her in bed much of the day. It was around 9:30pm and the girls were already in bed and asleep. Josh and I were sitting on the couch watching a video on dog training, an activity that indicates just how far from our minds was another life changing moment. Karen slowly walked down stairs having had as much as she could take of the prone position. A normal person in her weakened condition probably would have ambled over to the couch to rest. But if Karen is not asleep then she is doing something productive. So she made her way to the kitchen. I looked over and noticed her apparently unloading the dish washer. My attention turned back to the video and my hopes of a well trained fox terrier.

That was the last moment of comfortable normalcy we will experience for the foreseeable future.