Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – 2 Corinthians 5:17
There is a lot that gives me joy here in Wake Forest, especially as regards WFPC (the reason we moved to this community, four years ago this week). But if there’s one area where I’m even more excited than usual, its men’s ministry, and the growing interest in and commitment to encouraging one another in this journey as disciples.
It may be summertime, with people traveling and the regular Wednesday-night activities waiting for the post Labor Day fall kick-off, but our mid-week men’s “small” group Bible study has continued to grow (the Saturday morning gathering too).
During August, four more new guys have joined us. So yesterday evening, sitting there around the table eating BLTs and talking about our faith, it occurred to me that this may be a good opportunity to explain what is so important about what we do every week. The new guys need to hear it, and it will be good for me too.
So this is for Rich, Rick, David, and Michael.
I’m convinced that ALL Christians benefit from meeting together in small groups for prayer, Bible-study, sharing, caring, questioning, encouragement, and accountability. Worship is indispensable, and central to our life together, but it’s my personal experience that I learn more, feel more confidence, understand more, grow more, and then actually “do” faith more when I approach this Christian life from the context of intentional, intimate, community.
“Community” means more than being members of the same church, sitting together for Sunday morning worship, and attending various church events. Community involves actually doing life together.
Our church is an active, growing, passionate-about-Jesus faith community, and there are many opportunities to be involved in mission, and education – from adult classes, to teaching children, to working with youth, to countless outreach projects, to feeding the hungry and housing the homeless, and so much more.
That’s all good and exciting… but at some point we need to feel comfortable enough (or uncomfortable enough) to peel back a few of the outer layers and be thoroughly known by others who feel invested in us enough to be there, and to help us grow
Default Male Settings:
For men, this is especially helpful because of our natural tendency to fall back into so many of the cultural default male settings (posturing, shutting down, shutting others out, wall around the emotions, Lone Ranger, strong and silent, man up, show no weakness, vulnerability is unmanly, keep your cards close to your chest…).
Or, as I said on a national podcast last month, “As Christian men we love to put on The Whole Armor of God – and strut around in it sometimes – but we’re so-so when it comes to the Fruit of the Spirit.”
Being in a small group with men who are learning to know us – mistakes, needs, triumphs, griefs, joys… – is where we get to explore, discuss, learn, understand, and try on some of the “New Man” Christ has lined up for us as followers of the Living Way.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:22-24
Put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. – Colossians 3:10
My prayer is that, between now and Christmas, all four WFPC men’s groups will strengthen to the extent that they either spin off new ones (that’s how we got from one to four), or find they have to include breakout groups for deeper sharing and prayer.
This is the Kingdom of God in action, friends! I feel privileged to be part of God’s constant creative initiatives of grace.
If you want to see such ministries flourish in your church, then here are some suggested resources. Peace, and more peace – DEREK
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.