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This traveling tailgate party could be the church event men really like

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Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 05/26/22

Exodus 90’s Tailgate Tour is a seriously brilliant way to engage the men of your community.

Exodus 90’s “Tailgate Tour” is turning the beloved tailgate tradition into a chance to encounter Christ. And honestly, it’s brilliant.

A tailgate is an exuberant event, full of team spirit, good-natured teasing, and plenty of beer and food. That’s why it’s the perfect way to engage all the men of the community.

The Exodus 90 website explains,

Let us come tailgate at a local NFL game, college football Saturday, your son’s tee-ball tournament, church league softball game, or just a random weekend afternoon! An Exodus Tailgate is about encountering and engaging the men of your community with a fun and laid-back fraternal environment. This simple event is an accessible event for both new men and men on the fringes.

The Tailgate Tour was designed to be a ‘different’ type of event that men in parishes, on campuses, and other communities don’t typically get invited to. We know attracting men to a ‘church event’ is not particularly easy. The Tailgate Tour seeks to minimize that obstacle.

If you’re not familiar with Exodus 90, it’s a men’s program of faith formation that’s taken the Catholic world by storm in the past few years. The 90-day program emphasizes prayer, asceticism, and fraternity.

We had the chance to catch up with Nathaniel Binversie, Director of Content for Exodus, about the Tailgate Tour. Here’s what he shared with us.

What exactly is the Tailgate Tour?

The Exodus Tailgate Tour is an opportunity for us to bring the formation that we offer at a large scale through our spiritual exercises to men via in-person events at a much smaller, and far more personal, scale. 

Practically speaking, men of all sorts in all places, have the freedom to invite me [Nathaniel Binversie] and my family to come and offer a night of formation to their community. The event is hosted by the local men and often includes time for fellowship, good food, a talk, and of course the big Orange 42 foot Exodus 5th wheel RV, which both serves as hype for the events and as the full time home of my family.

What inspired you to start it?

Mission is personal. Salvation isn’t a state of independent ecstasy but a relationship. The Exodus spiritual exercises work because men grow in relationship with other men and with Christ himself.

The impact that Exodus 90 and the 20 Exodus Biblical Series exercises continue to have are a tell-tale sign that the exercises do not come out of a stale office nor are they a product of some committee meeting. The exercises are personal because the people behind them care deeply about the men they impact. This care for the men and their families is the primary inspiration for the Exodus Tailgate Tour.

How do we spend more time with Exodus Men and their families? We leave our homes, hit the road, and go to them, wherever they are.

How is it going so far? 

With the first 6 months of the tour and 30 events behind us, when it comes to the impact on the communities it has served, it’s easy to say that this tour has been a real success.

The formation offered is based on the theme “Live Different.” Not only is the message within the formation insightful and most of the time quite eye-opening, it is also very practical.

When it comes to doing events, too often zeal is built by the speaker but the impact doesn’t last. Since I (Nathaniel) work for Exodus Inc., I’m able to both build zeal and leave the men with an accessible and transformative roadmap to continue deepening their formation for years to come.

Even better yet, since every event is hosted by a local man (and often his Exodus Fraternity) zealous missionaries are there on the ground—men who never knew they were missionaries before but who are now filled with grace to bring men to encounter Christ through the very spiritual exercises that helped them encounter him themselves. 

Any favorite stories to share?

One of my favorite stories comes from Tampa, Florida. There, layman George Fisher invited the Exodus Tailgate Tour to speak to the men of his community early in the morning on a Tuesday. Nearly 100 men showed up before work that morning and I’ll be sure to say very few of them had any interest in taking a cold shower, much less hearing me even suggest the concept before that morning started. The talk went well but there wasn’t much conversation amidst the men afterwards. Most guys just left and went to work.

George and I talked more after the event that morning about what was best for his community. The discussion  was filled with great love for every man that came that morning and the good of the community as a whole. When my family and I pulled the Exodus RV out of Tampa that next day I knew that the men of that community were in great hands. I may have left, but the seeds sown were being nurtured not only by the Holy Spirit, but by a man, a local missionary, who loved his brothers. 

One month later I received a photo from Tampa, Florida. It was another early morning event, but there was no speaker, just Jesus in the Eucharist. And yet, once again nearly 100 men showed up, it was the start of Exodus 90, the start of real and deep change for the men [there]. 

What’s the most important thing to know about the Tailgate Tour?

Men are thirsting for time with other men, they are longing for fulfillment, freedom, and joy, they are ready to Live Different, but they need someone to show them how.

At Exodus Inc. we offer far more than just a 90 day spiritual exercise and you, a lay man, have the ability to impact your community far more profoundly than you think. If you can find a way to bring Nathaniel and the Exodus Tailgate Tour to your community, do it. But if not, know that Exodus and their 20+ spiritual exercises and ongoing formative content are here to help you and your community start to Live Different.

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