6 critical elements to men’s small groups
One of the biggest challenges for most of the pastors I’ve become friends with over the years has to be the isolation that seems to come naturally with the job. Here are my top 6 ways to have deep emotional connections with a group of men. These rules have saved my job, marriage and even my life.
1. Give Permission – For the better part of my life I’m quite certain that no one had my permission to speak into my life. Without a doubt I had never expressed that permission to someone, and I paid a high price for it. If you want to be truly known by other men and reap all the benefits that come along with authentic relationships, you have to give permission. Who do you need to give permission to?
2. Listen – Learning to listen well is critical whether you’re eating advice or giving it. There is no sense in giving someone permission if you’re too stubborn to listen when they are speaking. Listening before you give advice is equally important. You have to develop the skill of listening to your friend while listening to God’s voice before you give them input. Which leads to the next point….
3. Give your opinion - I don’t struggle with giving my opinion, and I have one about everything. I have to really filter what I say… (the guys in my group are getting a good laugh over that last statement). You may have the same issue, or you may be someone who only offers an opinion when asked. Either way, your voice counts… so dig in and speak.
4. Choose wisely – Jeff Henderson is the campus pastor at the church soon to be known as North Point Community Church West Campus. During the recent series Game Plan (with Andy Stanley), Jeff made this point… “who you listen to is a preview of the future you”. Who you choose to be in community with will determine where you end up. Memorize that statement, and let it marinate in your soul.
My group of guys is a crowd I met working for John C. Maxwell. I’m blessed with a group of Christain rock stars. Mark Cole is the business manager for Dr. Maxwell and Dr. Les Parrott. Brad Scholle is the operations manager for Rethink, which drives the Orange Conference. Reggie Goodin is the CFO for Rethink, and Brian Cole handles the production for all the Catalyst Conference events as well as overseeing production of the Chick Fil A Leadercast. If it sounds like I’m bragging, I absolutely am! None of these guys held these positions when we started, but they all had high capacity leadership character. That’s what you’re looking for… people with high capacity character.
5. Schedule – Put a regular meeting with your guys on your calendar, and protect it. The fruit is in the habit of meeting – not the idea of meeting.
6. Recalibrate – Find some time at least once a year to get away and download as a group. I just did this with my guys, and I’m always amazed at how much is brewing with each of them that we just don’t have time to connect on during our weekly meeting. The secret sauce of these weekends is a focal point of connecting.
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