Men are not known for having lots of guy friends where they can have deep conversations about life. It just doesn't come naturally to us. I had reached a point where I was tired of not having a group of guys to talk about things that just didn't seem comfortable or fitting in a co-ed connection group. Deep down I knew I needed accountability, and I needed to reach out to others to see if they wanted the same thing. Following what seemed to be a nudge by the Holy Spirit turned into connecting with two other young guys in our connection group who were looking for the same thing.
Our goal was very simple and we set some expectations. We were going to be accountable to each other in a couple areas, and we were going to read our Bible and be prepared to report out on what we were reading and learning. We were to expect each other to ask about us how we were doing on those things and we committed to meeting. Nothing more. We weren't going to be a Bible study. We weren't going to sit and pray for the entire time. We weren't going to try to fix each other. We weren't going to memorize verses. We were going to meet, report out on our accountability measures and talk about life together.
We chose to meet at The Skillet on Friday mornings at 6am. We only meet for an hour so all of us could help get kids ready at home or get to work on time. What started out as a great mentorship with the three of us, led to another guy who was needing help with his marriage reaching out - so he joined us. The same expectations were placed on him. Soon, we invited others from our connection group and a few others joined as well. Pretty soon, we were up to eight guys in our community, all sitting down with the same expectations. We would sit down and get right after it with our sharing and reporting out.
There were successes where we cheered each other on, and setbacks where we simply were a sounding board as men talked through different issues in their lives. I watched men come and thrive and become leaders and be challenged by others, and I watched men fall out of the group. All in all, men seem to enjoy the "come as you are" aspect of the group. In the end, and with the Word of God as our guide, we simply longed to be better Christ-followers, better husbands, better dads, better co-workers, better friends, etc.
What started as me being tired of struggling through lack of male community has flourished into great friendships and a deeper meaning of what it means to do life as a Christian brother. I am a work in progress...that is for sure!