Saturday, June 5, 2010

Edge Small Group Sleepover

Last night and this morning was the much anticipated "Mr. Gates' Small Group Sleepover." Six of my middle-schoolers from Edge came over at 6:30pm yesterday evening and went home at 11:00am this morning. I think it was a pretty neat time together. The intention was to use this event to mark the passage from the Six Grade year (immature by Edge standards, just learning what small group life is all about, etc.) to the period of time where they will be held to a higher standard with regard to their life and roles in Edge and our Small Group.

The underlying theme over the next two years for my guys will come from Robert Lewis' wonderful book Raising a Modern Day Knight. (If you're a dad of a son and you haven't read this book, you must. It's as simple as that.) In it, he defines what makes a man, describes a man's three responsibilities, and four principles that make up a real man. My plan is to draw on the themes of the book and weave it through the lessons of the coming months and years so that my guys leave Edge
(Middle School Minsitry) and arive at Tha Porch (High School Ministry) with a better understanding of how they should behave as men-in-training.

Also drawing on the themes of the book, I've used the idea of knighthood, and the code of conduct that comes with it, to design a crest that will keep us focused as we move forward as a Small Group. The sword represents the Sword of the Spirit while the four quadrants of the shield will remind us that we are to
  • pursue Jesus (Cross)
  • prioritize our home family and our church family (HCC logo)
  • learn our three responsibilities as men (W3):
    1. a Will to obey (God's will)
    2. a Work to do (the general work God has for us and the specific talents He's give us)
    3. a Woman to love (these guys can prepare to honor their wives now by learning to respect ladies)
  • practice the four principles of manhood (IV):
    1. real men reject passivity
    2. real men accept responsibility
    3. real men lead courageously
    4. real men expect the greater reward

A buddy from my adult small group, Patrick, joined me for dinner with the guys (burgers, dogs, brats, pineapple, corn w/bacon on the grill with fruit salad and watermelon) and outlined how a boy became a knight, working through the stages of Page & Squire, learning chivlary, etc. I wanted to show the guys that there are other men besides their dads, Todd (Edge leader) and me that they can look up to.

After dinner we had our ceremony (read RMDK and you'll see the importance of ceremony) where I gave each of the guys a bookmark with a special message about where we've been and where we're going, a copy of the crest, and details of what the crest means. They received the whole event very well. They seemed to be getting bored a bit with the knight stuff, but when they saw that our Small Group now had our own crest and that the bookmarks were personalized with their names, they got really excited.

We then played Ghosts in the Graveyard until 11:30pm, and then started Lord Of The Rings sometime after midnight. I'm not sure how much sleep I got, but I know everything was quite by 4:30am. After a big breakfast and some video games, the event concluded.
It was neat for Lincoln to observe a bunch of guys over a long period of time. He kept calling them "Daddy's Edge Boys" and he even started getting their names correctly by the time they left.
Also, right after the dishes were done, Lincoln and I went to see Auntie Em, Uncle Jeremy, Grace & Cole before they left for the Leesville Cabin for the weekend. Without exaggeration, I haven't seen Lincoln enjoying himself so much as he was when he was playing with Grace and Cole since he pushed his Lion Cart across the floor at his first birthday. He's going to love spending this coming Monday and Tuesday!

And here's a new Lincoln photo for this post:

1 comment:

allison said...

That is so awesome! What a great thing to help bring up those boys to become Godly men.