The Francis Asbury Society

Men on the Houseboat Retreat

Posted on | October 31, 2017 | Comments Off on Men on the Houseboat Retreat

By Al Coppedge

This was the seventeenth year that I had the privilege of participating in a Men’s Discipleship Retreat in Canada. I flew to Calgary, Alberta, to be with Dan Jansen and his family for a day. Dan some years ago served on the staff of the Barnabas Foundation here in Wilmore. He is now pastor of a Free Methodist Church in Calgary. We had a great time with another close friend for a day and then drove from Calgary, Alberts, to British Colombia to Lake Shuswap in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. When all fifty men arrived, we pushed off into the lake in three rented houseboats. That accounts for the name of the retreat. We have discovered that within this context, no one goes home in the middle of the retreat! We drove up the lake in the boats and docked them on the shore. The entire retreat was in beautiful surroundings with mountains coming down into the lake and forest all around us.

Friday and Saturday were similar days in format. I shared the speaking with Dan Jansen, he on one boat and I on another. We had morning training sessions followed by some personal time for the men to spend alone with the Word on the beach or somewhere on one of the boats. I spoke from II Timothy on the topic of discipleship. They the men gathered together to debrief over their reflections. After brunch, we started a second teaching session followed by a time of recreation that included hiking, swimming, a hot tub, and time for great conversation. These men were eager to learn! After supper, we had another session. In each session, there was time to answer questions, interact with guys on spiritual matters, and to challenge them in their personal walk as serious disciples of Jesus.

Sunday morning, everyone gathered together on the beach for a final communion service. I gave the challenge, talking about the importance of grace being available to every man as they went home to face circumstances in their families, at their work place, and in personal relationships. We then took the boats all the way back down the lake to the dock and started driving back across Canada to Calgary.

One of the most significant parts of this retreat was seeing a number of fathers who brought their sons. It gave the sons a chance to see that not only were their dads serious about following Jesus, but there were another fifty adult men who were as serious about Jesus as their fathers were. At the same time, they were having a great time in recreation and in fellowship.

We thank the Lord for the way this retreat has continued to bless men across the years and look forward to doing it again next year if the Lord keeps opening the door.


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