Yesterday I met my good friend Ray for golf and conversation just over the border into Virginia. It was one of those “good value for the money” outings. Not only were the green fees fairly low, but we both hit the ball a lot of times. The result was a low “cost per shot” ratio.
We did enjoy ourselves, and we both hit a fair number of memorable golf shots; but the real reason we try to spend time together is to invest in the relationship and to share our ongoing pilgrimage as followers of Jesus.
I first met Ray when he invited me speak at a Disciples of Christ regional men’s retreat. Some of the guys had studied “GET REAL” together and they wanted to hear more. We instantly became friends, because it turns out we’re pretty much in the same place on the same journey.
We’re able to encourage each other because we both understand how important it is for men to be intentional about cultivating spiritual relationships; heart-level sharing that goes beyond the surface where so many of us like to keep our interactions – carefully engineered not to penetrate the chiseled yet vulnerable shell.
So the golf was fun and the conversation deep. Both of us have heard a clear calling to lead men into a deeper understanding of what it means to follow Jesus, and we share the same passion for a men’s ministry model that reflects the character and the priorities of Jesus, rather than the politics, preferences, prejudices, and thinly veiled sexism of 21-st Century American’s reactionary “man-up” religious culture.
GOOD NEWS: Here at WFPC, I’m encouraged every time I meet with a group of men who are meeting together for the purpose of encouraging one-another as disciples of Jesus. Between the three covenant groups and Friday-morning’s study, around 50 men are involved.
There’s a lot going on here in women’s ministry too, and co-ed discipleship is flourishing. But I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it some more in the future; A vital men’s ministry, where guys explore together what it means to live as passionate followers of the Living Way, is one of the most important “vital signs” in a healthy church. But – and this is one of my soap-box issues – discipleship needs to be about renewing ourselves in the image of Jesus, not re-imagining Jesus in the image of us.
It’s Sunday, friends – don’t forget to go to church – DEREK