YOU-nique: Embracing God’s Design for You kicked off at our church this fall with a women’s retreat. We took a “30,000 foot view” of the book’s topics; then we split up into small accountability groups for the 6-week study. I made a promise to visit each class on their first night and commend the participants for taking the journey into YOU-niqueness. I wasn’t prepared for what I saw as I entered the Wednesday evening 5:30 group. There among all the women sat one, solitary, lonely man! I was so surprised that I stutter-stepped as I entered the room.
“Clifford? Did you not realize there would be only women here? Do we need to find you some brave men to form your own group?”
“No, I didn’t realize it was only for women. But I promised my wife that I’d go through this study with her and I’m going to keep my word.” And so he did. But that wasn’t the end…
We culminated our adventure wth a YOU-nique Celebration Tea in which all the groups joined together to worship God and to share what we had learned about our individual, unique designs.** And, you guessed it — in walked Cliff! His wife Rose walked in, rolled her eyes, and said, “I tried to talk him into not coming, but –”
“I told her ‘No!'” Cliff interrupted. “I always finish what I start. Besides, I’ve never had hot tea before; thought I’d give it a try.” With a sly grin, he sat down at a back table. And may I tell you he enjoyed every minute of it! But that wasn’t the end…
The next day was Sunday. Cliff and I are in the same Sunday School class. As the class was fellowshipping around coffee and snacks, Cliff called from across the room, “Donna, these guys want me to give up my man-card!”
“Clifford,” I answered, “you needn’t worry about those boys. You are the only real man here!” He turned and gave the guys an I-told-you-so grin. But still that wasn’t the end…
Cliff felt that other men would benefit from learning about their God-given design. So this past winter, he led a group of men through YOU-nique — or “MAN-ique,” as they preferred to call it! In lieu of a celebration tea, they culminated their study with a B-Y-O-Steak Celebration!
YOU-nique is a non-gender specific study. It’s for men and women, ages 16 and up. Men, however, are not groupers or retreaters like women are, so it took one special man — a man-ique man! — to take the challenge. Cliff went where no man has ever gone before and now there are 7 real men in Sunday School!
So how about it, all you male readers? Are you a real man, not afraid to look into God’s mirror and discover your God-given design? Come on, I dare you: Join the few, the proud, the MAN-nique!
PS: Here’s a few of the men’s comments:
- “From a man’s point of view, it’s good that men can open up with each other, find out how we are made and where we can grow with a true purpose because of our God-given makeup.”
- “I’m very glad to learn that I do not have to stand on a street corner and preach! I have a different set of gifts! I really got a lot out of men actually sharing their hearts, fears, and failures and supporting each other.”
- “This program helped me understand my spiritual gift. I struggled for many years with this.” I came to the realization that God never stops using me. I just have to have the faith to realize he will give me the words and actions needed to [serve] according to His will.”
- “This is an awesome Bible study — a fresh new perspective on why we are who we are. I learned a lot about myself and how God wants to use me.”
**A separate YOU-nique Companion Guide (for Women) is available with all the directions and teaching notes needed to host a retreat and a celebration event.