The New Testament word for community is koinonia—”to have in common.” As a follower of Christ, we are all called into common identity, purpose, and pursuit within the body of Christ according to the gifts we have each been given. Find men who desire to go deeper in identity, purpose, and pursuit of Christ and do life together.
Our identity in Christ brings us into the body of Christ, as the bride of Christ. We are servants of the risen King and awaiting the moment when we will fully realize our kingdom identities in Christ, but until then Christ calls us to abide in Him in faith, hope, and love (1 Cor 13:11-13).
Men who do life together understand the difference between knowing and trusting truths in our lives because we discuss how real life and scripture intersect. If a man is placing his hopes in the wrong places and experiencing an identity crisis, other men can walk alongside him and help him develop a kingdom vision for his life. Our men’s groups should encourage each other to love others like Christ in all the roles we play in our life (husband, father, friend, minister of the Gospel). Our Christian identity comes from an individual decision to trust Christ, but it is a team sport to live it out.
Many times men try to discipline themselves to be the right kind of Christian. They focus on “doing” things to establish identity instead of focusing on “being.” Identity begins with better theology and develops into relational obedience as we trust who God says He is and who He says we are.
Here are few resources that provide good, biblical insights on identity – who God is, what Christian manhood looks like, and who we are in community:
Theology— Knowing God (Packer), Knowledge of the Holy (Tozer), The Cross of Christ (Stott), Mere Christianity (Lewis), Delighting in the Trinity (Reeves), Behold Your God study (Snyder), and Systematic Theology (Grudem).
Christian Manhood— The Man in the Mirror (Morley), Point Man (Farrar), Kingdom Man (Evans), Soul Keeping (Ortberg), Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (Scazzero), Fathered by God (Eldridge), The True Measure of a Man (Simmons) and Wholeheartedness (DeGroat).
Community—The Cure/Bo’s Cafe (Lynch, McNicol, Thrall), Life Together (Bonhoeffer), Bond of Brothers (Yoder), Irresistible Faith (Sauls), and Men of Courage (Crabb).
Many men sideline themselves from the purposes or roles God has given them because of their sense of inadequacy, an identity based in career, or other fears. Many of these issues are lies that we believe about ourselves in the absence of encouraging community. Sometimes we also give priority to created things instead of our Creator, and they become consuming idols that replace our faith with fears. Kingdom purpose requires us to step away from the busyness and fears of life and inspect the vision God wants us to have for our highest priorities. Our highest priorities are always relationships rooted in the the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:17-20).
Our men’s groups should be safe places for us to zoom out on our life and ask hard questions about how we are stewarding our gifts, time, and focus. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.” (Luke 10:2-4) This is no fish in a barrel exercise. We are lambs in the midst of wolves as we carry the gospel to the real world. This risk is great, but so is participating in the harvest. Our weekly groups should not sound like theory only, but mature over time into practicum—where we share how we lived out the gospel and truly share it. When we carry both the Great Commandment and the Great Commission into our lives, we see lost souls instead of office politics, homeless beggars, and rude neighbors. We run into situations where your men can help you think tactfully about how you can live out the gospel in real life situations. If our groups include practicum discussions, we will all sharpen each other greatly as we swing actual swords (Proverbs 27:17).
Purpose requires courage. We all feel timid about sharing the gospel, but gospel courage is recognizing that the mission of God is more important than our insecurities. Humility and kingdom mindedness keeps us in a position to engage the mission God has for us. This is critical in becoming Kingdom Men on a Mission.
Here are a few good resources that provide good, biblical insight on purpose:
Great Commandment/Commission—The Insanity of God (Ripken), Let the Nations Be Glad (Piper), Evangelism Handbook (Reid), Life on Mission (Coe), Conversion & Discipleship (Hull), Instrument’s in the Redeemer’s Hands (Tripp), Mentor Like Jesus (Campbell), and SHAPE (Rees).
The Roles We Play— Sacred Marriage/Cherish (Thomas), The Meaning of Marriage (Keller), Parenting (Tripp), Shepherding a Child’s Heart (Tripp), Family Worship (Carson), Spiritual Parenting (Michelle Anthony), The Gospel at Work (Traeger/Gilbert), Courage & Calling (Smith).
Our groups should ultimately encourage each man to individually pursue Christ (vertical relationship) as well as unity within Christian brotherhood (horizontal relationships). These groups should not replace, but enhance your personal time with Jesus as you study His Word and pray. Without personal pursuit, our groups will feel out of sync and very repetitive on a week-to-week basis. With personal pursuit, they will be incredibly encouraging.
Pursuit in personal growth requires margin, humility, and kingdom mindedness:
- We are prone to give up the margin needed to really spend time with God without hurry. There is margin needed away from our phones and other distractions to disconnect from the world and with the Father.
- Humility in personal pursuit is checking your heart for openness to what God is saying and being flexible enough to pursue Him where He leads. It is not thinking less or negatively of ourselves. It is understanding the God given identity and purpose He has given you specifically to steward and a right understanding of who we are with and without Him.
- Kingdom mindedness is pursuit to live in relationship with our eternal King. Relational obedience to Christ our King recognizes the love, grace, and truth given to us by Christ and the proper and natural response to reciprocate in love, grace, and trust. The spiritual disciplines help us to grow in genuine relationship and maintain a kingdom mindset.
Here are a few resources that provide good, biblical insights for pursuit:
Margin/Focus—Good and Beautiful God (Smith), Margin (Swenson), Counterfeit Gods (Keller), and With (Jethani).
Humility/Listening—Experiencing God (Blackaby), A Praying Life (Miller), and The Man God Uses (Blackaby).
Kingdom Mindedness— Soul Keeping (Ortberg), Spiritual Disciplines in the Christian Life (Whitney), Celebration of Discipline (Richard Foster), and Inexpressible (Card).