An open letter to Christian men

This is my prayer: that your love might become even more and more rich with knowledge and all kinds of insight.  I pray this so that you will be able to decide what really matters and so you will be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ. I pray that you will then be filled with the fruit of righteousness, which comes from Jesus Christ, in order to give glory and praise to God.

Philippians 1:9-11

Interestingly (and maybe it is the Holy Spirit prompting me to work in this direction for my next book project), today I feel this sense of spiritual necessity – almost urgency – to write a letter to the men’s group(s) at our former church here in Wake Forest (maybe Brandon and Pensacola too?).

That makes three church bodies on my mind and in my heart at this writing. But mostly Wake Forest, where there still are – so far as I know – four active and engaged groups of men who meet weekly for support, encouragement, and accountability.

So this, then, is for the “Iron Sharpens Iron” Wednesday evening crowd, the Saturday morning crew, the “Fathers Who Aren’t in Heaven”, and also the early risers who show up every Friday at the crack of dawn.

200 or more men:

Over the years, counting the guys I walked alongside in all three churches, I have had the privilege of being deeply involved with probably 200 plus men in the specific context of covenant groups. Some for several consistent years, some for just a few months, and representing every decade of life from men in their 20’s through the early 70’s.

My purpose, from Day One, has been simply this: To provide a relaxed, conversational atmosphere, framed in prayer and guided by scripture, where men could be:

  • inspired to follow Jesus,
  • encouraged in their spiritual paths,
  • challenged to go deeper,
  • honest about who they are,
  • vulnerable yet safe in terms of presenting their authentic selves,
  • held accountable as disciples,
  • and supported 24/7 via our mutual commitment to hold one another up from day to day.

We, as men who have decided to follow Jesus, need each other; and we need help if we are going to beat any kind of a path that is distinct from that taught in a culture that promotes so many wrong ideas about what it means to be a man.

This has been the focus of my leadership over the years, and of the books I have written with men’s spirituality in mind (GET REAL, The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian, 10 Life-charged Words for Men, and In God’s Image).

“The Letter”

This is the letter I wrote to the men at WFPC:

Dear Gents –

Grace and Peace to you all. I miss you. I miss the shared intimacy of walking together as people of faith; I miss the raw beauty of your souls; I miss how authentic, and funny, and wise, and full with light you are; I miss how well you coax love and struggle and joy and faith from one another.

So I wanted to thank you. Thank you for the generous thought of the flowers when my dad died, and thank you for being who you are as followers of Jesus.

I want to remind you that regardless of anything else, the simple fact that you meet together and encourage each other is a powerful witness and an inspiration to the whole church. Not just WFPC (or First Brandon or Trinity in Pensacola) but The Church writ large. There is a lot of talk about post-pandemic “church decline” – but the fact that you are strong tells a better story, a story grounded in the truth of the Good News.

And this is the point of my letter. It’s something I have talked about with you before: We all live in a story. Each of our lives tells a story. I want you all to live into the right kind of story. I want you to remember that Jesus is God’s invitation to live in The Greatest Story Ever Told.

The Jesus story is epic; it is triumphant; it is a love story; it is a great adventure. This is a story we don’t just hear about, we don’t just read, and we don’t just watch – it is one that we live.

I am going to repeat this thought from above – I believe it’s that important: We, as men who have decided to follow Jesus, need each other; and we need help if we are going to beat any kind of a path that is distinct from that taught in a culture that promotes so many wrong ideas about what it means to be a man.

Paul said this to his friends in Ephesus: “God has given his grace to each one of us measured out by the gift that is given by Christ” (4:7). God gives all of us this generous gift of grace, measured out. Or, as Jesus put it, “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over…” (Luke 6:38).

This really is a great story! This is a great adventure! Men’s ministry is – as Rebekah often says – “An amazing opportunity!”

In love, and because love always wins – DEREK

WFPC Wednesday men (2021)


  1. I only wish I had started engaging with fellow struggling male sojourners earlier in life; what a different story I would have. That said, my story is no less a testimony by how it has played out, anyway! Thank you for your participation and guidance, Derek, and we miss you, too!

    Liked by 1 person

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