I can’t believe this is the last day of March already. But it has to be. I am, after all, sixty-three years old and my birthday is now well in the rear-view mirror. Then, here in Wake Forest, all of a sudden it’s spring all over the place (along with the layers of pollen to prove it).
So I concede to the passage of time.
But it’s a Sunday too. And I’m really looking forward to a morning full with praise and encouragement and learning and the company of several hundred remarkable people.
But I have to admit it, I really am tired. It’s been a long week.
So yesterday I spent the day with thirty-plus Presbyterian men from ten different congregations. It was a good day, and I felt that we communicated well.
Communication, as we all understand, is a two-way street. My end was just one part of the equation and the assembly of so many wide-open hearts, willing to receive a word of encouragement and direction, is what made the day a success. Ages ranged from 14 to 28 to 48 to 60, on up. There was truly a broad representation of men.
I spoke five times. Once during worship, then four teaching sessions – 30-40 minutes each followed by break-out groups. The guys were wonderfully attentive and obviously engaged.
We connected well (effectively) all day long. I am not going to clog up this space with a reiteration of my main points, but there is one small nugget that emerged as something that seemed to hit home with added weight and I want to share it.
Here’s one important “take-away”
We were talking about the question, “Who is God prompting you to invite to help you launch a men’s ministry small-group?” This is a challenge I try to keep in front of my men at WFPC on a regular basis.
Here’s the “take-away” that – I believe – got the attention of everyone in the room. Imagine that you want to talk with another person about either joining a covenant group or simply talking about the possibilities. Too often the invitation sounds like this: “I have something that you need. Join my group and your faith/life/walk will be so much better…”
Sure, it’s true that we all want to share the joy, and we all want to see other men experience something powerful too. But maybe there is another way to parse the invite. Maybe the correct way to approach another person is like this: “Hey, would you be willing to meet with me to talk about life, and share the scriptures, and pray together? I’m not as ‘put-together’ as you might think. I’m honestly not sure I can do this by myself. I’d really appreciate your support and encouragement and prayer.”
It was that kind of a day. A day where God took my poor words and gave them some extra life.
To be honest, it’s what I count on. First, God gives me the words, and then God takes them back before releasing them exactly where they need to land.
As always, I am grateful to have been in the right place at the right time.
Peace, love, promise, and blessings – 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.