Shooting for the moon

Irv Augustine
Irv Augustine started the Moonshot weekends to help men over 50 see how they can live the rest of their lives well. Photo courtesy of Irv Augustine

This past November, a group of men led by Navigator staff Tim Ernst and Irv Augustine met together over the course of a weekend to figure out the impact they want to have on the next generation.

This weekend is known as Moonshot, and the idea for it came when Irv attended a telecast for the Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit.

One of the speakers for this particular conference was Bono, lead singer for U2. During his time speaking, Bono recounted what inspired him to join the fight against HIV/AIDS.

In 1969, when Bono was 9, the Apollo 11 mission launched by the United States landed Neil Armstrong as the first man on the moon. In an article he wrote for TIME magazine in 2005, Bono said witnessing the moon landing changed his perception of America. No longer did it only mean Elvis, movies and hip gear – it meant having a renewed sense of infinite possibility, adventure and purpose.

As Irv heard this story, he says he heard a voice, clear as day, asking him one question: What’s your moonshot?

He started thinking about this, and realized that to define his ‘moonshot,’ he wanted to answer the question, “What is God calling me to do for the rest of my life? Here I am, and what if I’ve got five years left? Ten years? What if I have two?”

In response, Irv created Moonshot, a time where he and a small group of men over the age of 50 get away for a weekend to figure out how they can leave a positive legacy. He describes this time as “an instance where we gather together and pose spiritual and existential questions to ourselves about how our lives matter and how we live life, so that when we get to the end of our days, we can say we nailed it.” These weekends are run regularly, with the most recent having taken place this past November in B.C.

At The Navigators’ Whistler2014 staff conference this past July, Irv gave a talk on what the Moonshot weekends are all about. Tim says the talk intrigued him so much so that he decided to invite Irv out to B.C. to help facilitate a Moonshot weekend for some of the men in his church.

Tim Ernst
Tim Ernst is a B.C.-based Navigator who works with business professionals to help them live lives of integrity. Photo courtesy of Tim Ernst

Rather than drawing already-established leaders from his church, Tim says the weekend “gathered guys more from a cross-section of industry at our church, but certainly not guys who had a deep relationship with each other going up. It was a bunch of acquaintances. So there was a sense of expectation and a reason to go not because my friend is going but because this is something for me.”

Looking back on his time over the weekend, one of the participants said “I believe men need the connection with other guys that encourages us all to be leaders in our homes and community. I appreciate that [Tim] had the wisdom to see how the Moonshot material would be impactful and helpful for us over 50. The lessons were really thought-provoking and I loved how everyone shared from their hearts.”

Going into the weekend, each of the men came with an expectant attitude, knowing it was to be a serious affair. Laughter and tears were shared as they worked through the material, and by the end, each of them made public declarations about how they wanted to live the rest of their lives. They also committed to meeting again as a group in six months to talk about how they were doing.

Moonshot group
The Moonshot group stands together in Whistler one last time before heading home. Photo courtesy of Tim Ernst

In Joel 2:28, the prophet says “I will pour my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” Tim says the men definitely hit that baseline. “I saw a bunch of guys in their fifties dreaming new dreams about their lives.” While this weekend may not have renewed a sense of ‘infinite possibility’ for these men, such as Bono described in his article, it did renew their sense of purpose, that their lived experiences are valuable and worth passing on to the next generation.

If you’re interested in the idea behind the Moonshot weekend, check out Falling Upward by Richard Rohr.

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