Restored: Retreat to help men learn new ways to be whole in Jesus

By Jessica Brodie

LEXINGTON—This month, men from across the state will gather for a two-day spiritual retreat designed to help them be restored and made whole in Christ.

Dr. Eric Mason, author, teacher and founder of Epiphany Fellowship Church in Philadelphia, will serve as keynote for the conference-wide United Methodist Men’s spiritual weekend, set for Feb. 28-29, 2020, at Mount Horeb United Methodist Church.

“It’s important that we get men together to understand the role we play,” said Marvin Horton, president of South Carolina United Methodist Men. “For too long men have been asleep, and women have stepped up on our behalf, but it’s time we got to work in the church, too.”

The retreat begins Friday with a men’s ministry golf tournament at Indian River Golf Course, then continues that evening 6-8 p.m. with the Mount Horeb Men inviting all South Carolina United Methodist Men to an oyster roast.

Saturday features music, testimony, teaching and breakout sessions. A car show, also lifting up the “restored” theme, will begin during registration and end after lunch.

Mason has written “Manhood Restored: How the Gospel Makes Men Whole,” which he will speak about during the retreat. His other books include “Woke Church: An Urgent Call for Christians in America to Confront Racism and Injustice,” “Unleashed: Being Conformed to the Image of Christ” and “Beat God to the Punch: Because Jesus Demands Your Life.”

Breakout session speakers include James “Slice” Penny, the Rev. Robert Cox, Dr. David Olshine, Trevor Miller, Patrick Boatwright, the Rev. Bill Blair and Chris Rondeau.

Registration for the retreat is $65 until Jan. 31. Registration for the golf tournament is $60, for the oyster roast is $20 and for the restored car show is $10.

Register and learn more at

About Eric Mason

Mason lives in the heart of Philadelphia with Yvette and his three sons, Immanuel, Nehemiah and Ephraim. He is founder and lead pastor of Epiphany Fellowship and founder and president of Thriving, an urban ministry organization committed to training leaders for ministry in cities locally, nationally and internationally. Mason earned his seminary degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Gordon Cromwell Theological Seminary. He has contributed to multiple publications to serve the body of Christ.

The Breakout Session Lineup

James “Slice” Penny, “Restored from the Inside Out”: Slice grew up in the Methodist church and in a traditional Christian home. After graduating from Myers Park High School in Charlotte in 2012, he went to Florida State University. Although he has always known about Jesus, he began drifting away from the church. His secret alcoholism and drug addictions were brought to light when he was arrested for drug trafficking. It was in this time of destruction and despair that he was humbled and brought back to Jesus. In the years since his 2015 arrest, Slice has been reborn and begun a new life. Although he was sentenced to and served three years in prison for his crimes, he has emerged a new man with a new mission. He was released Oct. 16.

Rev. Robert Cox, “Restoring Church Health with Scouting Ministry”: A retired UMC pastor, Cox now serves the South Carolina Conference as the conference scouting coordinator. Cox knows firsthand how scouting can help restore health and vitality to churches who are struggling with children’s and youth ministry. This session will explore the special relationships between the UMC and Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts in the USA, and how to start or revive a scouting ministry.

Dr. David Olshine, “How to Mentor Others in an Age of Busyness”: Olshine is professor of youth ministry, family and culture at Columbia International University in South Carolina. He has spoken to more than 2.5 million people and has written 19 books. Married to Rhonda, they have two kids, Rachel and Andrew. Olshine is passionate about working with teenagers, youth workers and parents of teenagers.

Trevor Miller, “Creating and Sustaining a Healthy Men’s Ministry”: Miller is a graduate of Columbia International University where he earned his degrees in youth ministry, outdoor leadership and Bible. He has a background working in student ministry and currently serves as the pastor of men’s and family ministries for Mount Horeb. He has a passion for creatively communicating the transforming power of the Gospel. He and his wife, Jenna, live in Lexington with their children Eli, Owen and Murrye.

Patrick Boatwright, “Reaching Younger Men”: Boatwright is the pastor of students and families at Trinity Grace Church Park Slope in Brooklyn. A seasoned youth ministry worker, he has led and worked in student ministries across the country from the Carolinas to Colorado. A South Carolina native and graduate of Columbia International University in Bible and youth studies, Boatwright and his wife, Katherine, now consider New York City home. Boatwright is avid reader, vinyl collector and budding golfer.

Rev. Bill Blair, “Awaking the Heart of the Man”: Blair is a minister and American Mountain Guides Association-certified single pitch instructor. He holds a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in spiritual and leadership development with individuals and groups. He has a strong background in adventure-based risk management and ministry with youth and adults. Before starting Rocks to Rivers, Blair served the families of the metro area in Jackson, Mississippi, through Christ UMC in youth and adult ministry for more than 15 years. He designed Rocks to Rivers to provide adventure workshops and coaching services for adults and youth, individuals, couples, teams and organizations.

Chris Rondeau, “Man in the Mirror”: Rondeau is committed to serving pastors and leaders in the communities surrounding Simpsonville. As a trained Man in the Mirror expert in men’s discipleship, he guides pastors and leaders through a comprehensive strategy to reach and disciple all of men because, as he said, every man discipled impacts a marriage, family, workplace and community. He lives in Greenville with his wife and two boys. When not helping churches, you can find him chasing train locomotives with his boys, working on home improvement projects or making family memories on the weekends.

“Walk to Emmaus, Testimonials of Life Changing Walk”: Experiences will be shared from individuals across South Carolina about their life-changing, three-day journey known as the Walk to Emmaus.

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