In order to regularly get the time off I needed to explain the significance of my men’s small group to my new boss. A phrase like ‘Bible Study’ might have been sufficient, but it’s oddly misleading and too easily dismissed as a quaint practice of a diminishing culture. Outside of church circles, the word ‘fellowship’ hardly carries the punch of ‘poker night’ as a male bonding environment.
I came up with, or more accurately was inspired by the Holy Ghost to say, “I’m in a regularly scheduled men’s communication project. We meet every week to discuss speaking in public, listening in private, praying in community, and discerning Scripture.” I got the time off, but more satisfying was the curiosity and respect my boss expressed for our group. “How’s that work?”
Good question. Our facilitator reminds us that, as a group, our purpose is to speak into each other’s lives as the Lord speaks into ours. Sometimes that means confession; we’ve each taken turns admitting we didn’t want to leave the house on any particular Wednesday and make the drive to sit with each other only to realize what an anointed appointment is our time together. Other times it means revelation, more than a few scriptures have suddenly burst into meaning in response to a brother’s life situation. Iron does sharpen iron and irony temper tempers.
We’ve dealt with drugs, dollar signs, spiritual drought and disciplines that run from morning miles to memorizing verses, to updating and answering E-mails. Nothing special, all of it extraordinary. We are pleased, as it mentions in Thessalonians 2:8 to “…impart not only the Gospel, but also our own lives, because we have become dear to us.”
Friends of eternal consequence. John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for His friends.” We have not yet come to the point of shedding blood for one another, but we have found that setting aside pretense and machismo for a few hours a week ushers us into the Kingdom of God. Jesus says, in that same chapter John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full…No longer do I call you servants, but I call you friends, for all the things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
That’s what friends, and men’s small groups are for.