He continued to tell me of his experience or perception that joining a men's group is, well, like joining a group of Ned Flanders types. I could see him thinking that to join a men's group, he would immediately be required to invest in a pink polo and green sweater.
The truth is when approached by anyone to enter into a relationship, the response or action is followed immediately by our experiences and perceptions, good or bad. Sometimes our response comes from a lack of interest, busyness, hesitation because of that one time, a reminder of hurt from friendships lost, or let's not forget about that one guy I got stuck in a group with. How about one of the classics, I let someone else share their tough stuff with me, and I tried to help the best I could, but when I shared my tough, it wasn't met with the same desire to bear.
Sometimes letting our past experiences and perceptions go for a second and trying something new can be hard. What about the busy guy or the guy that doesn't think he needs a group or a relationship with men to share life with altogether? I got asked a similar question from a wife recently and thought...Well, isn't it obvious? I get how her question was provoked by what happens when the husband takes time to join a small group or relationship normally. This woman's husband is gone, and when he's gone after working five-plus days a week, he all of a sudden wants to take one more moment away from the family. Here's my simple answer, because he's not supposed to do life alone.
I followed up with my own series of questions that let me see into her own experiences and perceptions. Questions like, is your husband perfect, Is your husband have any weaknesses, forgetful, angry, accountable, or trustworthy? Is there any area that your husband can strengthen or learn possibly by doing life from other men? Simple things like this obviously lead to can he be perfect on his own? Can this man or any other be perfect on his own? Jokingly, the answers obviously yes, but seriously for men to be the best version of themself, we need a community or men that we give permission to speak into our lives. We as men need to live with, follow, learn with, change with, and come to a place in confidence that we can be the man that God wants us to be.
So, is it about the pink polo and green sweater that you're really worried about, or is it your past experiences and perceptions? It probably isn't. As one of my friends said... "You join a men's group because it's full of other normal everyday guys!" If you have questions or want to talk about life please connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or come hang out with us on Thursday evenings at 6:30 for our weekly men's community. This is a Ned-friendly zone where we encourage each other as brothers in Christ.
Extra credit to anyone that can tell me what verse I got my simple answer from.
I leave you with Hebrews 12:11. May we choose to be uncomfortable for a season knowing that God is doing a mighty work in us as we train together.
Your Friend, AJ Emerick
Men's Ministry Director