Cutting-Edge Men’s Ministry:
I love my life – I think that’s fairly obvious from the content of my daily posts; my blessings are too numerous to enumerate. I often write about our church family, and this morning I’m going to share a little about how cool it is to be part of WFPC‘s growing men’s ministry.
We don’t have a traditional “men’s meeting,” where the men of the church make pancakes, swap sports stories, have a “program,” close with a prayer, then go home. That model has all but disappeared in most congregations. Instead (at least in our church), guys meet in small groups for Bible-study, mutual encouragement, support, accountability, and prayer.
One group meets Friday morning, two get together early on Saturday, and two more meet Wednesday evenings. Guys read the scriptures, talk about their spiritual growth, share from deep places in their souls, and pray together. There is follow-up, encouragement, and more prayer during the week.
- It’s about being intentional disciples of Jesus;
- it’s about growing in faith;
- it’s about “doing life” together;
- it’s about authenticity, and honesty, and vulnerability, and accountability;
- it’s about inviting others into spiritual growth too.
When a group gets too big for easy, intimate conversation, the idea is to replicate. That’s why we have five groups now instead of the original two.
My Wednesday evening gathering is getting to that point again, and I’m having a hard time with the idea of another reconfiguration. We’ll likely leave it alone through the summer, but in the fall we’re probably going to have to conjure up another room!
REAL SPIRITUAL GROWTH: Rather than the big picture, this morning I’m basking in the afterglow of another deeply meaningful time together Wednesday evening. It’s a simple experience, nothing complex at all, 12-15 guys: some engineers, a couple of consultants, administrators, company presidents, entrepreneurs, sales executives, a biologist, a horticulturalist, an inventor. Imaginative, thoughtful, intelligent, curious followers of Jesus. Faithful, humble, willing to grow.
There were a dozen of us this week. The three missing had all let me know where they were. We talked about The Lord’s Supper, our experiences, and what it means to us as men.
The transaction of communion – what actually happens when we take the bread and the wine – turns out to be a function of many variables, the most important of which is our own spiritual journey. And that is what is so powerful about small group ministry – we share our individual journeys, and a dozen separate paths join together in blessed confluence to become our journey together during that time.
We were, in a sense, partaking of a very Holy Communion in that shared experience yesterday evening. Wayne’s observations prompted further insight from Bernie, and Paul’s testimony built on Robert’s story, to affirm Eddies thoughts and Larry’s wisdom. What spilled out of David’s heart mingled with Todd’s silent nod, and everything kind of worked together, stirred by the presence of the Holy Spirit to draw each one of us closer to God and give us another important marker on our own pathways as stumbling disciples.
“Christianity,” I wrote in my third book (The unmaking of a Part-time Christian) “is best experienced as a team sport.” It’s also best experienced in the context of unconditional, open-spirited, mutually encouraging love.
Like I said, I love my life; I love my church; and I love these guys, every one of them.
In love, and because of love – DEREK
(in response to several requests, here is my current book list):
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.