“Can I do Side-by-Side with my wife?” Jedidiah asked me during a break at the Men’s Advance I recently led at a camp in the Colorado mountains for Front Range Alliance Church of Colorado Springs.
As Jedidiah and his wife eagerly anticipate the arrival of their fourth child, I could tell that heavy on his heart is keeping a vibrant, up-to-date relationship with the Lord and with his wife.
In light of the theme Everyday Disciplemaking: One Conversation, One Relationship at a Time, I emphasized Side-by-Side—how I've walked alongside others through the years and encouraged people to get together in life-to-life relationships for mutual growth, support, and accountability.
“Of course,” I said, my hand on his shoulder, “I think that would be wonderful!”
“But how do I ask her?” he said thoughtfully. Then, as we were talking, he added, “Because I know that it’s like a triangle—the closer she and I get to God, the closer we grow toward one another.”
“You just answered your own question!” I said to Jedidiah. How cool is that?
Connecting with Jedidiah was just one of the many inspirational stories that I could share from the Men’s Advance. (By the way, in case you’re wondering, Christian men don’t care much for the term “retreat,” moving backward. Rather, they like the word “advance,” making progress!)
Some 50 to 60 men were on hand, including three of the church’s pastors. Interestingly, there is Front Range West—which I called Front Range Classic, to the cheers of the men—and Front Range East, which just had its official launch.
The following week after that "mountaintop experience" I met with two of the pastors and talked through NCM’s Growing intentional Disciplemaking Cultures process. As we met, they greatly encouraged me with stories from a number of their men who’ve begun walking alongside others. Praise God!
At the Men’s Advance, I began each session by saying that “I’m convinced every Christ-follower here can be a disciple who makes disciples by following five priorities of Everyday Disciplemaking—one conversation, one relationship at a time.” We processed each priority in order:
I’ll close with another highlight. I gave out the “Strength”
book after Session 3—that’s the first of a three-part Bible study series some friends and I have written that has Side-by-Side built right in. (You can download the entire series for free here
. Hard copies are available on Amazon
.) I asked the men to complete Lesson 1 during the afternoon break.
On Saturday evening I broke them into one-to-ones. I said, “Now, men, practice walking Side-by-Side with one another.” It was a powerful, electric time!
I had set aside 15 minutes for this exercise. The room was so alive I gave them a half hour. Then I pulled the men back together and asked, “What did we just experience here?”
Exciting comments followed—all with a sense of awe, a sense that the Lord had just met us in a special way: “Iron sharpening iron!” “Not just ‘rote’ answers!” And the one that really hit home: “Fellowship. True fellowship!
What a blessing it is for my wife, Kim, and me to serve with The Navigators. We love to take advantage of opportunities like this—and to see men and women "get it" and begin to put into practice Everyday Disciplemaking: One Conversation, One Relationship at a Time!
If you would like to learn more about Dean and Kim's ministry with The Navigators, or if you would like to connect with them, please click here.