Here's a great example of how men are reaching other men. Be encouraged! Stories like this are taking place in every community in America. Thanks, Bill, for letting us share your story...
By Bill Edmonds
In 1995, at age thirty-five, I attended a men’s conference that rocked my world. At this event I experienced the following divine epiphany: If men are to thrive as followers of Christ and finish well they must “do life” with other men. Not just hunting, fishing, playing softball, and watching football games together, but opening God’s Word together, building lasting, true friendships.
I returned from the event with assurance God was calling me to start a small group with a few guys who attended the conference with me. Over the weeks and months the group grew so large that we split, not once but twice. It was life changing for all of us. We built relationships that have lasted for over twenty years that are rooted in God’s design of the masculine soul, by studying His word, and having candid conversations about the challenges we men face in a secular society.
Fast forward to early 2006. I was living in a gated community in Greenville, SC that had a nice, centrally located community clubhouse with about 110 other families. I had recently discovered Patrick Morley’s book, The Man in the Mirror and had subsequently devoured the rich content of its pages. I wanted to reach the men in my neighborhood with Pat’s message about the person who stares back at them from the glass each morning. Simultaneously, I was traveling a path with my employer that I knew would require our family to move within the next year, taking me away from these men to whom I had been called.
The Lord began to speak to me and planted this thought in my heart: What if I were to reach out to these men, inviting them to study the first 6 chapters of Man in the Mirror? Could their lives be impacted as mine had been by this book’s powerful message? What kind of Kingdom impact could be made by walking with these men through these 6 topics? Specifically by…
- Addressing the elephant in the room – the rat race in which we run
- Examining the pitfalls of living an unexamined life
- Probing the difference between Biblical Christianity and Cultural Christianity
- Daring to discuss the search of every man for life’s meaning and purpose
- To actually vet the piercing question, “why do I exist?”
- And by considering what the secret to job contentment might be?
I enlisted the help of a fellow believer in the neighborhood and we crafted an email, using our neighborhood directory, to let all the men know that we would be meeting on Tuesday mornings at the clubhouse for a men’s only study. We stated this was not a “Bible study”, but a study based on Biblical principles that would help men become better husbands and fathers.
Sixteen men showed up for our first session. After six weeks and six chapters, I looked around the room and asked, “Who wants to keep going?” All sixteen said, “I’m in!” Great fellowship ensued, and I’m happy to report that four of those men gave their lives to Christ, choosing true discipleship over cultural Christianity. I moved away at the end of 2006, and the group kept on meeting and growing deeper in their faith.
After a short stint in Atlanta, I moved to another gated community, very similar to the one in which I lived in Greenville. In my first thirty days there I found four believers in the neighborhood to help me reach out to the 300+ men in my new neighborhood. Thirty days later we had 31 men show up for a study on the first six chapters of Man in the Mirror.
The group dwindled some, but we kept on trucking, just like we did in Greenville, and we completed all twenty-four chapters with about 15 men “still standing”. We went on to other studies and several of the men renewed their commitments to Christ. A couple discovered what a personal relationship with God, through Christ, is all about.
One of our members moved over two-hundred miles away and repeated the same process with men he came to know in his new community. He continues to lead that group to this day.
Do you live in a community that has a clubhouse? Why not consider doing the same? Are there men in your neighborhood who need to solve their identity problems - part one of the book/first six chapters? Are there any men in your neighborhood who are:
- Caught up in the rate race?
- Leading an unexamined life?
- Cultural Christians?
- Searching for purpose and meaning?
- Asking the question, “why do I exist?”
- Trying to find contentment?
If so, consider starting a “Clubhouse Man in the Mirror Six Week Study.” It could revolutionize your community for the Body of Christ!