Here is another shift that is very exciting for us!
We are adjusting how we disciple our male leaders, apprentices and those who want to lead one day in NLCF. We are just doing this for the dudes this year, and this may be the only year we do it this way.
Why you may ask? You also might be wondering, why just the guys? Both are really good questions.
The first reason is that the church, across the board, is seeing a drop in guys – both numerically and in the level of their commitment to the church. Up until the past couple of years this hasn’t been our experience at NLCF but over the last few it has been. We love the guys that are with us and committed to following Christ with us, but we believe that we can reach more. By reach we mean see more guys come into God’s family and be adopted by him and see more guys demonstrate a deeper level of passion and commitment to the calling Christ has given all of us.
It felt like the Spirit was calling us to do things a bit differently, so that is what we are going to do.
It is so new we don’t even have a name for it yet! : ) So, if you want to shout one out to us, please feel free. I can tell you that Robbie Poff and I have come up with some awful ones. We haven’t spent much time on what it will be called, but we have spent A LOT of time on what it will do… So, here goes.
It will meet every third Sunday evening as a whole group. Robbie Poff and I will co-lead those times where we will worship, pray, and be guided together into a deeper understanding and life of passionate pursuit of the Lord. This isn’t going to be like some men’s groups that tend to revolve around bro-speak and getting away from porn, dating and sports.
I imagine all those things will come up, but this will get into how we develop an understanding of what God’s vision is for our lives, how we hear from him more clearly, and how our life of faith can look more like the way that Jesus lived.
Jesus was asked by the Pharisees, “What is the greatest commandment?” They intended this to be a trap question that would get Jesus in trouble. In his answer, not only does Jesus side-step that trap, but he gives us one of the strongest creedal statements for our lives. Jesus answer was simple, and also so profound we cannot ever fully dive to the bottom of what it means. I will give The Messages transliteration of Matthew’s account from Matthew 22.
34 When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. 35 One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: 36 “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?” 37 Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ 38 This is the most important, the first on any list. 39 But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ 40 These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
Again, super simple but very profound. Love God in as focused a way as you can and love those around you like you love yourself.
This group is open to anyone who has been in a huddle last year or who was asked to be in one this year. If you are new or don’t understand what a huddle is, it is the way that we disciple people in our church. Each huddle has a leader and three to eight members.
There are a couple of distinctives about this men’s group. It would be considered a high invitation and high challenge type of group. Essentially that means that if you are in the group, the leaders will be highly dedicated to you and walking through life with you. There is a strong invitation to share life with us. The challenge is that we would want you to feel the same commitment. That means you are willing to speak into our lives if you notice things that don’t glorify God. In our church, we don’t believe that just because someone might be a pastor or on staff that they have everything together. I, as one of the pastors/elders need you to care about my life as I care for yours. Another way the challenge plays out is that the group times we meet are critically important. We want you to prioritize all of them. Over the course of the year, something might come up, those things happen. But those that are in this group would commit to working so that almost never does. Additionally the participants would be in a huddle made up of guys in the group.
Together we will talk about the deeper issues in being men who walk closely with God, closely with others, and are dedicated to playing our part in God’s kingdom. Then we will have weekly “challenges,” think of them like Crossfit WOD’s or as weekly focuses. They will start pretty simply. Having a 10 – 15 minute time with God at least four days a week. If you haven’t been doing that consistently, you start there. From there the weekly challenges will become, well more challenging. Each week we will all publicly commit to the challenge that is next for us and the next time publicly talk about how it went. We will celebrate the successes and we will celebrate those that weren’t. What we find in the gym, with an instrument, with learning a language, in almost anything is that first you find your edge, then you push against that edge.
And then the edge moves.
I am extremely excited to walk together through this new, as-yet-unnamed adventure!
Cannot wait to see everyone who is coming back and meeting everyone that is new.