Shoulder-to-Shoulder: How Men Do Discipleship Best

Today Brett Clemmer, Vice President of Man in the Mirror, makes a compelling case for not treating men like women! Here's what Brett has to say...

One of my favorite quotes about relationships and men comes from Geoff Gorsuch of the Navigators. Geoff had a long track record of working with men when he said, “Women bond face-to-face in shared conversation. Men bond shoulder-to-shoulder in shared experience.”

While not mutually exclusive – I like a good conversation with friends too – it does speak to a man’s wiring for experience and activity. Maybe that’s why the standard church service – while important for corporate worship, participating in the sacraments and hearing the Bible taught – is simply not enough for most men to feel like their faith is vibrant and integral.

At my church, we take a Men’s Adventure Trip every year. There is some spiritual content on the trip, but what the guys talk about when they get back are the activities. The paintball, mud run, whitewater rafting, golfing and, of course, eating, put men into experiences together that built lasting bonds. I’ve played floor hockey with my pastor, shot a shotgun for the first time and played Texas Hold ‘Em with different colored sugar packets for poker chips on these trips. Some of my closest friends at church are men who I met or got to know on one of these trips.

Another guy became one of my closest friends after going through a very different kind of experience several years ago. Hearing that I had rushed my dad to the hospital with a heart attack, he came and sat with me for hours while my dad was in open heart surgery. We hardly knew each other before that. We grew into close friends afterwards. I don’t remember talking much during the hours-long wait. We just sat in the waiting room. Together. Shoulder to shoulder.

This is why small groups are so important for men. We need to be in relationship with each other. But if you’ve been meeting every week or two to read a book for months and months, take my advice: Get out of the classroom or coffee shop and go DO something! Play golf, volunteer in a school, get involved in disaster relief, go on a mission trip. Do it together, and watch the bonds of Christian brotherhood grow.

With you in the Great Adventure...