I have been leading our Men's Ministry, called Men of Faith, since 2007. I continue to learn and continue to be amazed at what the Word of God can do to a group of men. I can watch someone who is raw and beginning in their faith (regardless of age) or talk to someone who has been walking many years with God and in either find myself amazed at God's good, good Grace.
God is patient and kind and full of mercy, love and grace. He is a good, good Father. Who is man, oh God, that you are so mindful of Him? You are perfect in all of your ways to us, dear Lord.
James 5:16-20English Standard Version (ESV)
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.[a] 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. 19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
One of our worship leaders, Dan, took this picture this morning and tagged myself and another brother who leads worship in Men of Faith. I love this picture. I love this picture because when I continue to look on it, reflect on it and pray for these men, I am left with the sense and truth that the Word of God changes men's lives. The Word of God is powerful and it is truth.
Years ago, this worship leader named Jim, told me that we needed more than just a boom box and some songs that men try to sing to, he said that we needed live worship. At that time, he was already leading another ministry called Celebrate Recovery. I know this leader and I know that he wanted to take the lead on this and I gave it to him. He has blessed me in this in so many ways. For one, I get to sing with them every Saturday. Secondly, I get the privilege to look at all the men facing us and watching them sing (not to us) but to God in worship! I also get to watch this leader bring in other leaders and band members and singers and coordinate a really good morning of prayer and worship.
- Our morning is really simple:Band members show up at 5:30am to set up and practice until 6:25am
- TAG Team gets everything up and running
- Facilitators (those who lead each week in our large group make the coffee)
- Donuts and Coffee are made (donuts bought - we make the coffee)
- 6:30am begins worship
- 6:50am to 7:20 am - is a large group. Facilitator leads the large group in discussion. This could be what he is reading in Scripture, a thought, a theme, even a testimony and then some challenge questions for our small group.
- 7:20am to 8:30am - small groups break out and go to their designated spots around our church. We share and we talk about our daily lives. Our struggles and sometimes are victories. There is no one who is a know it all. There is no one who shows others up on being a know-it-all. There is truth and there is honesty. There is prayer. There is a community of brothers who truly care for others and our willing to share their life experiences (failures, successes and often our trials and tribulations with each other.
- 8:30am to 9:45am - some of us go out for breakfast. Some go to work. The key for all of us is not to detract from the family, but to build the family up.
We have one rule and only one rule in small group: What's said in there, STAYS in there! There is no discussion outside of Men of Faith that is to be shared with anyone else UNLESS the brother who is sharing gives us permission to share with the world.
My prayer for you who are reading this is that each and every one of you have the opportunity to be in such a special group. My prayer is that if you don't have this group, then you make a commitment to God to be intentional in His Word. To be intentional in prayer and in your spiritual growth. If you don't have a special group like this, then my prayer is that you will grab a couple other men in your church who are committed to going deeper. Whether it's through a wide gate (planning activities to congregate with other men: Hunting, Fishing, Shooting, Archery, Sporting Games and the like) or whether it is truly a commitment to wrap yourself with other men in the Word and in prayer and to be real with each other.
Don't make the group about numbers, never do that. Make the group a commitment with a few other brothers to grow, to share, to be accountable (not just a pat on the back, but to go deeper in your walk with where you are, where you come from and where you want to go in your walk. Be honest, be real. Have these guidelines to help you in your men's group:
I am not sure where you are at today, in your walks, but trust me and make a commitment to get in a group of men like this - IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Don't wait, don't over think it. If you cannot find one, then ask an Elder in your church or a spiritually mature man to walk with you and begin one. Read Colossians 3 and Romans 12 and talk about real life with real men.
You will not be let down, regardless of how other men respond. The Word of God never returns empty - it changes lives.