By Joe Masek
The present reality on college campuses is that men are being formed and sent out with an ideology of selfishness and self-absorption, of confusion and a clear lack of personal identity. Being a recent college graduate myself, I have had the opportunity to witness this firsthand in my fellow classmates who have jumped into the working world with little purpose or motivation for anything beyond vague ideals surrounding personal gain and excessive wealth. It is evident that there is a very real problem gripping the next generation of men.
Enter Barbasol Men’s Nights -- a Saint Paul’s Outreach and Perio Inc. initiative that has been building influence on college campuses around the country. The sole purpose of these Men’s Nights is to re-engage and re-awaken the hearts of young men and to initiate them, through the action of their Father in Heaven, to live out their lives sacrificially and magnanimously -- with purpose and passion. It has been seen that semester after semester when men’s true identities and purpose have been revealed, every area of their lives is transformed. This action is simple yet profound, as men are propelled into a challenging world with a true sense of their capability and destiny to make real impact in their work, family and personal lives.
This semester of Barbasol Men’s Night at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN, has been no different. We began this semester by bringing together a group of 60 men and inviting them to go after freedom together this year, to pursue something with all of their hearts, minds, and souls and ultimately to begin as a brotherhood to live with extraordinary purpose and zeal. The goal for this brotherhood that continued throughout the semester was to be the most radical servants, the best leaders, and most importantly the most on-fire Christians that the University of Saint Thomas campus has ever seen.
Our semester was stapled with five main Barbasol Men’s Night gatherings where we broke down what it meant to be a real man, our identity as sons of God, and the freedom Christ has made available to all people. We finished the semester with the Freedom Retreat, a 2-day intensive retreat that examined areas of our lives that might not be free and then surrendering those areas so that we could go back to campus, back into the world, and increase the impact that we can have for the sake of the Gospel.
While words cannot express the gratitude and thanksgiving that we have here at UST for the partnership with Barbasol to make this semester’s work possible, several testimonials of men who have been radically impacted by this partnership would give the most justice to the gratitude in our hearts.
- "I’ve never felt that kind of peace in my life. This is awesome.” - Michael, age 21
- “The best part about this weekend was the ability to just be, you know be myself, be here... it’s wonderful” - Karl, age 19
- “It was probably one of the most uplifting things for me in a long time... I honestly have an overwhelming sense of freedom and knowing that I am not alone.” - Jimmy, age 21
- “This is a great brotherhood. I just love this.” - Sean, age 20
- “I don’t know how I am here, or why I am here, but it feels good to be here. I am learning to live freely and to pray and to feel God’s presence and from here on out we can just be brothers and be real.” - Jake, age 21