Putting up a Tent

Now I am one for camping. I am happy to sleep in a flimsy tent half way up a mountain. I am familiar with tents of all types. The one-man kind that you could carry in a ‘manbag’ (if I used one) right the way up to the 20 person dormitories that come with a set of instructions bigger than the yellow pages.

But what I got involved in this weekend made every other tent that I had ever handled look like some sort of a complex tea-bag. The tent I have just been involved in putting up and taking down was HUGE.

A few stats;

  • 5 tonnes in weight
  • 48 guy-lines
  • tent pegs of over a metre long that would hold a truck
  • 133 poles; the smallest being 2½ metres – the largest being 20m high
  • area covered about 4,000 square metres

It took 20 blokes a day and bit, a lot of grunting, sweating, shouting and other bodily noises (but never a cross word or a swear word – really) to put this monster up.

And for why? To welcome 1000 men to a conference in a small Yorkshire Dales town and hear the word of God spoken into their lives.

The vision started with one man who felt that he heard God say “Do something for me” and that something was to ask Angus Buchan to the UK to speak at the Mighty Men conference (25-27 May 2012). Some of you might know Angus from the South African ‘Mighty Men’ conferences and the book and film ‘Faith like potatoes’.

Questions were asked at the start – How many people do we think might come? 200?, 300? Can we believe for 500? But that was the wrong question – the real question is how BIG should we think. You see, if we think in terms of numbers we limit what God can do to that number. Instead if we go for the biggest we can (and then some) God has promised to do the rest.

Clear lots of ground for your tents! Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big! Use plenty of rope, drive the tent pegs deep … Isaiah 54:2 (MSG)

OK so I know that the scripture is a bit obvious for this blog, but it makes the point well. Ian, the bloke who had the vision to ‘do something for God’ has a saying he often quotes. “If your vision doesn’t scare you, it isn’t big enough”.

So a man with a tent was found. What’s the biggest tent you can let us have? One that will seat between 2500 and 3000. (gulp) Ok we’ll go for that (scared or what) Hang on – How many will we cater for then? How many seats? How many stewards, how many … well … everything!!!!

We thought perhaps 500, God sent 1000, and on the Sunday morning when the men’s wives and families were invited we welcomed nearly 1500.

Think not how many, but think HOW BIG. God has promised to fill your tents, make it a big one!