We were surrounded by gunfire. No, it wasn’t real. Guys’ night out was in full swing. Paintballs shot through the air as I drove onto the wooded campsite with my boys. Nothing says fun more than a herd of boys and dads chasing through the woods in full commando gear assailing anything that moves with paint injected projectiles.

More than 40 boys and dads had gathered for male bonding and spiritual awakening. Spiritual insight was applied to every adventure. Like an Indiana Jones thriller, boys were led down a long, dark trail as the path was illuminated by handheld tikki torches. The moon was absent as stars twinkled and nerves tingled with great anticipation for what might lie ahead.

At the end of the trail, our guide huddled the boys and shared advice on life from notes written by each of the dads. A huge measuring tape was strung down the path from which we had journeyed. Boys were placed along the tape measure according to their age. A dad stood at the 80-feet mark representing a man’s average lifespan.

The time we have to influence our children is limited. After the age of 18, our opportunities for impact are few. While easily deemed as fanatical expressions of male masculinity, the importance of guys’ night out became very clear.

It wasn’t so much about building a fire, avoiding chiggers and listening to coyotes howl at a crescent moon. It was about time together, conversations in the tent about girls and learning to whittle while talking about what it means to be a Christian.

It was my privilege to bring a fireside devotion. All eyes were on me as we talked about fishing, smelled stink bait together, handled a box of earthworms and discussed unusual fishing techniques.

Gaining their full attention, I explained how Peter was a fisherman by trade before he decided to follow Christ and become a fisher of men. Heads bowed as I gave the boys and dads an opportunity to become Christ followers and fishers of men.

As I concluded, I pulled an old hat from my head and explained how a well-worn hat says something about a man. I then explained how the condition of a man’s Bible speaks volumes about the condition of his heart. Each man and boy was given a hook to affix to his hat as a reminder that Jesus called each of them to be a fisher of men.

There is no question that some of life’s most memorable moments can take place during guys’ night out. However, Colossians 4:5 challenges us to make the most of every opportunity. There is no reason to wait for a guys’ night out to invest in our children. Our window of influence is narrowing. We must be alert and ready to seize every opportunity we have to instill godly principles into the lives of tomorrow’s leaders. It may require handling stink bait and discussing touchy subjects, but the results are worth the effort. And that is no fish story!