We are starting a men’s discipleship group this coming week. Eleven men have pledged to come together weekly at an insanely early hour for the next year. We will study God’s word together, read some really good books, and share our lives with one another. To say that I am excited would be an understatement.
When we moved here almost a year ago, I started seeing something that I noticed just about everywhere that I have lived. Men know each other, but they don’t really know each other. We talk to one another about sports and the weather and work, but beyond that, we rarely dig down deep into each others lives.
Fear is a significant factor driving the shallow relationships that men often engage in with one another. I openly admit that I fear men knowing me—the real me. I love to project “Pastor Mike,” the clean-cut, All-American guy who loves Jesus and is a great husband and a loving father. It is scary for me to share the me who struggles with a tremendous inferiority complex. It frightens me to think that someone might know my personal struggles with sin (which I don’t feel the need to mention here on the internet).
So why would I and other men pledge to join together to know and be known by one another? I can only speak from personal experience here. When I am growing in my faith, it is often with a group of men by my side, never in isolation. (Shout out to my brothers in Arkansas. You know who you are.) God never intended for us to take the Christian journey alone. First, he promised that he would always be with us (see Psalm 23). He also provided fellow travelers, brothers and sisters in Christ. As much as I love my sisters in Christ, there are some things that men need to talk to other men about in ways that they can be honest and vulnerable (and I’m not just talking about more than just pornography).
So here we go. Will you pray for this group of 11 men, myself included? The temptations will be to share just enough of our lives together where the surface is scratched, but we don’t have to get too uncomfortable with one another. Pray that we can dig to the depths of our lives with one another and find freedom in knowing that Christ has paid for all of our sins with his precious blood and freedom in knowing that there are other brothers who are struggling right along side of us in this journey called faith.