Timothy Group Blog

Is this an event for troubled youth?

Wed Sep 14 2022

Short answer: No

Long answer: CHALLENGE is a training event for young men attending of their own will. While the lessons taught at Timothy Group events certainly address many issues faced by today's youth, we are not a "reform school" or disciplinary outlet. Participants attend by choice and are free to depart at will (to their parents in the case of minors).

The training at CHALLENGE offers a foundation of Christian leadership mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Rather than sit and discuss theory or theology in a vacuum, we create opportunities for practical application under pressure in a safe team environment.


Clothing Choices

Wed Aug 31 2022

Two of the most biggest considerations when choosing clothing for CHALLENGE:

  • Take care of your feet
  • Have a plan for regulating body temperature

Your feet will carry you many miles over the course of the week. Trench foot, blisters, and other wet or friction-related issues will make a training day feel like a training week. Counter-intuitively, thick merino wool socks will check all the boxes when it comes to your feet be it winter or summer. A couple reputable brands are Smartwool and Wigwam.

Think of your clothing in layers. Have an outer shell like a jacket or sweatshirt in case of cold or wet, and think about wearing multiple t-shirts or multiple pair of pants at once for more insulation. Cotton will retain moisture, but some synthetics may not be breathable. Weather-appropriate materials like wool and bamboo (though not necessary) can make your life much easier.

Find more gear recommendations on our CHALLENGE page


CHALLENGE Invitation

Wed Aug 17 2022

Short video of a CHALLENGE invitation presented at Dominion Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.



Wed Aug 03 2022

I first attended Challenge back in 2010. I was originally introduced to it by my older brother who'd attended in 2009 and said it was such a great experience! I was 13 years old at the time and excited to do something that would push me physically and mentally, so I signed up for Challenge Basic. When we first arrived the staff was professional and prompt signing us in and telling us where we could wait with the other recruits. And so began one of the most developmental weeks of my life.

After physically testing us against a PT standard, we were put through several different challenges in a way that specifically required teamwork, but we didn't have any sort of organization yet. This began teaching us the lesson that we couldn't do these things by ourselves, but that together and working as a squad we could overcome the obstacles in front of us.

We were eventually split into squads and were then taught survival skills, land navigation, tactical squad movement, basic application of first aid, hand-to-hand combat, basic firearms, rappelling, and many more important skills that were all ultimately building our teamwork as a unit. Learning each of these skills was a tremendous growing experience for me, but more important than all the other skills I learned was really the confidence the experience built in me. Knowing that I was capable of learning all these hard things, that I could accomplish all these tasks and work together with my squad to accomplish bigger things than I could do by myself actually showed me how far I can go. This experience was vital to my coming of age, especially in teaching me to trust in my fellow squadmates and giving me confidence in important and quick decision making.

Each night as part of our end of day process we would go through a time of worship with all of us singing together. The second night of worship I felt a real burden knowing that, just like I wasn't able to go through these different challenges without my squad, I was also fully incapable of saving myself from my sin. As the worship leader explained the words of the songs we were singing, I just felt this overwhelming emptiness over my inability, and dread at the feeling of knowing that what I deserved was hell. That night I prayed to God saying that I knew I was a sinner, incapable of saving myself, but knowing that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, I confessed my sins and my need for a Savior. There wasn't some overwhelming feeling of something magically changing, but I knew that I actually had something I could be confident in and Someone I could depend on.

I finished that week of training overwhelmed by how much had been accomplished both physically and spiritually, and confident that I had much farther to go. I went on to attend Challenge Basic again in 2011 and 2012, and with each experience not only did I continue to develop the skills taught, but my confidence in myself and my trust in my teammates developed to a level I never thought possible.

I truly think that Challenge is an experience that every young man should have the opportunity to go through. To see how far they can go, to understand what they're truly capable of, and to learn that there are other men out there going through the same things they are and willing to work along side them.

  • Josiah F.

Image: Josiah at his 3rd Basic in 2012 (after already passing staff selection)


What is Leadership?

Wed Jul 20 2022

"Words mean things" you may have heard. "Leadership" or "the capacity to lead" can be categorized in many ways, and consists of many components. In its simplest form, "to lead" is to guide, to be first, to direct. It is NOT the same as authority/title/position and has NOTHING to do with personality. Therefore, leadership is the ability to see opportunity for advancing the team, and the willingness to step up and make it happen.

Register today for leadership training at CHALLENGE: Basic this September.


Why Range Rules are Useless

Wed Jul 06 2022

Calling firearms safety practices "range" rules can set us up for failure in the real world. Firearms aren't just for the range, and the rules extend beyond 3 berms and a redshirt RSO. At any Timothy Group firearms-related courses, we utilize an updated version of Cooper's 4 cardinal rules of gun handling:

  1. Always know the condition of your gun.
  2. Keep the gun pointed in the safest direction possible.
  3. Keep your finger straight and outside the trigger guard until the gun is on target with the intent to fire.
  4. Be sure of your target, its foreground, background, and flanks.

Each of these has a safety component, and an effectiveness component. The two are inseperable:

1: Positively control the status of your gun. If it needs to be unloaded, make it unloaded. If it needs to be loaded and in-battery, make it so.

2: There are more things not to shoot than there are things to shoot. Learn the various techniques to manage your muzzle based on situations you might find yourself in. "Down range" isn't always a thing in the real world.

3: This prevents a sympathetic squeeze causing a negligent discharge, but also gives more control of the gun and harnesses our natural ability to point accurately. This gives us better control over the gun and is arguably the most important safety measure.

4: Positively identify your target, and remember that you're responsible for wherever the bullet goes or could go.

Pictured: recruits undergo basic handgun instruction at CHALLENGE: Basic 2012. Register on the CHALLENGE page for our next event on September 12th.


AoM Repost: Embrace Reading for the Sake of Reading

Wed Jun 08 2022

Reposted from Art of Manliness (link)

I've always been an avid reader, though I know many have to work at it. Varying the topic (eg. theology, fiction, productivity) and media (audio, kindle, hard copy) have helped me keep up the habit over the years. Similarly, changing up scripture reading habits helps me pay attention and keep it fresh.

Share some of your favorite books you've read in the past year or two in the comments on facebook, instagram, or both.


3 Reasons you should come to CHALLENGE (yes, instead of football)

Wed May 25 2022

The real world doesn't look like your family:
Many children grow up in a Christian home only to have their spiritual foundation rocked by college or other new experiences. Others have less-than-ideal family experiences and naturally take a more pessimistic view of the world. The truth is that there's a wide, groaning world out there. The spiritual war is real, and you must learn how to squad up with brothers in the faith and "get some" for the glory of God.

The real world doesn't look like your sports team:
One of the leadership difficulties at CHALLENGE is finding success with weaker (or stronger) squadmates. In competitive sports, players are matched as best as possible to find success for the team. As an adult your church/squadmates will have tremendous diversity of spiritual callings and giftings, and it is critical that you learn to "move with a purpose" and "leave no man behind".

The real world doesn't play nice:
Lewis said of Aslan "Of course he's not safe, but he's good." Many of our experiences growing up have simple rules, and direction from parents or other adults. As a man, you have to be able to think and problem solve on your own. Growing up is taking those lessons received as a boy and learning to master and adapt them as a man. "Find a way or make one"

We hope to see you at CHALLENGE this fall. Learn more by visiting our website, following our socials, and signing up for the mailing list.


Romans 5: Suffering Produces Character

Wed May 11 2022

Romans 5 speaks of the glorious work of Christ in saving his people. Verse 6 says "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.". This should be a great comfort to believers: that God chose to save us, in spite of our sins and that our salvation is owed entirely to his grace and not our own "good" works.

Verse 3 speaks to God's hand on us even in the midst of life's various difficulties: "... we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope...". This has been a great comfort to me over the years in hospital rooms and picking up the pieces of friends' families and homes shattered by terrible storms. Another powerful tool God used to prepare me for hard times was the training I received at CHALLENGE. There's a different kind of end-of-yourself than just being out of breath from a long run, and I'm so thankful the staff at the time pushed me beyond my comfort zone and gave me that emotional education.

We hope to see you at CHALLENGE this fall. Learn more by visiting our website, following our socials, and signing up for the mailing list.


3 Reasons you should bring your boys to CHALLENGE

Wed Apr 27 2022

Young men need to leave the home:
Right at the beginning in Genesis 2 we see this theme of a man (no longer a boy) leaving his parent's household to begin his own. Historically we can see this happening in stages prior to marriage such as apprenticeship, higher education, or simply a first job. In a bootcamp environment like CHALLENGE young men are expected to function and problem solve on their own from the first hour.

Young men need to be with other men:
Throughout the new testament we have example after example of God's people discipling, building fellowship, and striving together for the kingdom. Many young men have little to no experience doing self-directed hard work with a group of their peers. As a homeschooled young man with 5 brothers I spent years navigating complicated relationships, but learning to function with complete strangers at CHALLENGE was a whole new experience.

Young men need a challenge to surmount:
An old military mantra states "the more you sweat in peacetime, the less you bleed in war". If we take the Christian walk as the spiritual warfare that it is (2 Cor. 10:4) we must take our spiritual training even more seriously. CHALLENGE puts deliberate, yet manageable stress on young men so that the skills and scriptures they learn under stress can be replicated under stress.

We hope to see you and your sons at CHALLENGE this fall. Learn more by visiting our website, following our socials, and signing up for the mailing list.

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