Like most men, I love games, movies and stories of the lone hero. The Lone Survivor, The Lone Ranger, The Game Winner. 1 second left on the clock, the game is tied and the opposing team is trying to kick a field goal from 56 yards away to win the game and seal their victory run to the Championships. You're in the end zone waiting and watching. The ball is snapped, the kick is up and it's short of the uprights. You catch the ball and run...
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The problem with my image is that behind every Lone Survivor and every Game Winner is usually a team or squad of men and women who support us, encourage us and often push us beyond our comfort zones. Although, they are often not seen when we reach the winners circle.
I grew up watching John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Arnold and Stallone. They'd HALO jump behind enemy lines or ride into town all by themselves and then take on the Mongol Hordes single-handed without ever reloading their guns!! It makes for great Hollywood.
The problem lays when we take this Hollywood image and try to apply it to our lives, especially our spiritual walks.
Dante has been giving you a great synopsis of our time at the recent Act Like Men Conference in Indianapolis. We met some great men, many Legacy Dad supporters and heard some powerful talks from some of today's leading Pastors. But I came home depressed, frustrated and feeling isolated. That weekend, I sat side by side with 12,600 men who were passionate about leading our lives for Christ and being the spiritual leaders of our homes, churches and communities. But when I came home, my Band of Brothers was gone and I was back to being a Lone Ranger.
One of my biggest failures in recent years is that I have not had an active group of men to walk in life and faith with.
I've had surrogate brothers and distance mentors but my home church lacked a strong Men's Ministry and therefore most of us men were going about life alone. No brothers in arms. No mentors. No Accountability. No one challenging me spiritually.
I could blame the church for not providing this resource or blame myself for not seeking a group but the real issue at hand is that men need other men to walk in Christ with. We need a team, a squad, a coach and a Ranger Buddy - someone who always is with you and has your back.
Why We Need Other Men.
Accountability offers men the opportunity to discuss with other men our setbacks, failings and problems. Admitting that you were wrong about something is rarely an easy task, but doing it with other men shows courage. 99% of the time, some other men have in the past or our currently having the same issues as you. Bringing our issues into the open allows healing, mentorship and course correction and by holding each other accountable for your actions, you and your fellow-men will be able to overcome together the trials that you may have difficulty overcoming alone. A sign of maturity is a man willing to admit his mistakes and ask for help.
Discipleship offers men the chance to discuss the Bible, our walks with Christ and most important - Life Application of the Word. Discipleship allows you to learn and walk with Christ through the stories, struggles and experiences of others. Reading and meditating on the Word alone is good practice but it is also good practice to discuss the Word with different people, especially those of different genders, ages, backgrounds and life experiences. However, we must always remember that true discipleship and spiritual maturity does not come from exhaustive head knowledge or simple academic study. True discipleship and spiritual maturity comes from taking ACTION in our lives and ultimately creating greater trust and faith in God and His plan.
Mentorship. Pick up any biography of anyone who was ever anything and you will most likely find a mentor in that person's life. There are some life lessons, advice and bits wisdom that only a man can impart to another man. It used to be that this wisdom was handed from father to son or from other influential men. But many men today never had that experience early in life. Therefore, men need to seek other men for guidance on how to navigate life. I've had both positive and negative mentors in my life; some taught me to chase money, success and personal fame. Others taught me to be humble, courageous and self-sacrificing. I believe we need multiple mentors in our life: Spiritual, Professional, Relational and Emotional and at least one Sage. While mentors can come in all ages and flavors based on life experience, the Sage is the grey hair, silver back with years of wear and tear and experience in his tool belt. GT was our Sage here at Legacy Dad.
TBL - (The Bottom Line) While Hollywood glorifies the Lone Ranger and there certainly are times in life when we will have to walk alone, men running in packs is far more effective (insert your Hangover Movie joke here). My realization is that while I can walk the earth alone like David Carradine in Kung Fu, ultimately this is detrimental to my personal growth, walk with Christ and spiritual discipleship. I can move much farther, faster by harnessing the power of an accountable group of men. Men who can challenge me, men who can mentor me, men who keep me accountable and men to walk through life and faith with. Besides, even the Lone Ranger had Tonto.