And let us consider each other carefully for the purpose of sparking love and good deeds. Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other… – Hebrews 10:24-25
Still trying to pump life into the aging bones of the traditional men of the church? That model is dying for good reason – men today want/need/crave a band of brothers with whom they can do life together.
It has been ten years since I published my first book, yet it still gives me a thrill when I walk into a room and see a group of men – their copy in hand – waiting for me to speak.
Thursday evening was especially sweet because the men attend a strong Presbyterian church over in Cary. I continue to travel out of state, but this is the first local invitation I have received since we moved to North Carolina in 2013. Vital men’s ministry has all but disappeared in most traditional “mainline” churches and it has been my mission (for more than a decade) to encourage not only a revival but – more importantly – a reimagining of what is possible.
Some churches still try to pump life into the aging bones of the traditional “men of the church,” offering a monthly meeting (maybe eight times a year) featuring a devotional and some informative program. But that model is dying for good reason – men today want/need/crave a band of brothers with whom they can do life together.
So the Kirk’s senior pastor invited twelve men (aged 25-55) to participate in a Lenten study, utilizing GET REAL: a spiritual journey for men. The question in front of them for their fifth and final week, and the reason for my invitation, was/is this: “What’s next?”
The One Thing:
Five weeks is just enough to get the ball rolling. But trust, depth, intimacy, vulnerability, accountability, and the kind of encouragement that can be transformational… these things take commitment and time.
I could sense in each one of the men a real desire to grow spiritually, while at the same time (and some confessed as much) there is a hesitancy and a holding back; a question of, how might this fit into my schedule? a question of counting the cost, a question of, do I have room in my life for one more thing?
Okay, fair enough. But growing in our spiritual walk as men is not “one more thing,” it is “The One Thing.” Seriously. If we want to be better husbands, more effective dads, sharper in the workplace, cutting-edge members of our church, real living witnesses to the love of God in action… then making the commitment to process all of that in the context of a band of brothers, surrounded by men who intend to walk the same path, supported, encouraged, held accountable… making such a decision will not make life more complicated, instead it will help put everything else into clear focus.
Growing in our spiritual walk as men is not “one more thing,” it is “The One Thing.”
Our conversation was short, it was limited in scope, and it was way up at the front-end of men wrestling with what to do next for God, with God, in friendship with Jesus. But I do pray their short five weeks together will lead to something ongoing and rich and encouraging.
I hope you read this, men of the Kirk, and I pray that you will respond to the ongoing invitation Jesus is, that you reach out to more men, and that something transformational happens in your community because you dared…
In love, and because of love – DEREK
You can read GET REAL via this link
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.