Back in February, I spoke at a three-day men’s retreat. When I arrived, I met a man who had started to go through my 3SG men’s small group booklet. He had gotten together with two other men at his church and they were meeting weekly for the Bible study, prayer, accountability, and encouragement using my book. It was encouraging to hear his enthusiasm about how well it was going.
By Saturday night of the retreat, I had talked at length with all three of them and could see their excitement, growth, and even their relief in finding something that was working. I knew that the final session of the retreat on Sunday morning would be the perfect time to teach all the men how to start a small group. By Sunday morning, it was abundantly clear that these 3 men needed to teach that session, not me. I spoke with them and they agreed to help.
On that morning, I explained to the men gathered that if we all got convicted of our sin, dealt with it there, then went back home to normal life, we would all be right back to failure quickly. I then invited the 3 men to join me and spent the next 20 minutes interviewing them about their group. I asked questions like: “Why did you want to do this?” “What fears did you have as you started?” “How did you deal with those early awkward moments of confession and praying for each other?” They were each dead on and bluntly honest in their answers, yet their exuberance in finally finding something that was working in helping them grow spiritually and fighting sin was contagious. Their hearts literally spread around the room.
It made all the difference to those 150 guys in that room that their peers gave them the plan and testified that it was working. And the icing on the cake was when they shared that their wives were noticing their growth.
As good as this story is, this isn’t the story and not the reason for me writing this today. Here’s the reason I’m telling you this . . . The first man that I met in this group, he and his wife had brought together a kind of “Brady Bunch” family from their previous marriages. Two weeks ago, he called me. Their oldest son, his stepson, was brutally shot and killed just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was a senseless and evil act.
I listened intently as he told me that the community had been amazing and their church had been incredible, but listen to this . . . he said “but my two guys have been right there at every step.”
After he was finished, I told him that the community would forget and move on to the next thing and that many in his church will even forget very soon. That’s not about his town or his church, but people are people. But I told him his two guys will be there every week to walk through the tough moments that few will see and, honestly, few can handle.
Think about this with me. When he got this group together, he had no idea how his life would change just months later. He had no idea that one of the main reasons God was orchestrating these 2 men to meet with him was to build a support system around him for one of the darkest times of his life. He had no concept of how strong this gift actually was. How could he?
Let’s bring this home . . . none of us know when we will need that level of support system and, as we well know, many men that similar things as this have happened to, have become alcoholics, drug addicts, sex addicts, bitter, enraged, and too often divorced, because they had no one to help them walk through the pain.
Today, if you are walking alone, strongly consider finding two other men and get started meeting, talking, and praying. If you have a group, but it has become religious and stale, shake it up and get a new groove, or get a new group. And if you meet regularly with someone, give them a hug and let them know how much you appreciate them being there for you.
I pray this article might save the life of a man down the road. But it only will for the man that takes action—today.
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. —Ecclesiastes 4:12