Feature

Building a Team

Realize the need for fellowship

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Spiritual teamwork was central to Jesus’ ministry. He worked with a small group and sent his disciples out two by two. Yet we men seem to think we can go it alone when it comes to spiritual growth. In fact, a Promise Keepers survey revealed that 19 out of 20 Christian men are so disconnected that they have no best friend. From the time that Christ came into my life, my spiritual journey has been enriched because of Christ-centered connections with other men.

Informal Relationships

As a youth, I recall a man in my church gathering four new believers together. It was not a formal relationship, but as I look back it was obvious that he was discipling us. Within a month he sent our group on the road to share our testimonies. He helped deepen the roots of our faith, and I’m thankful for his leadership.

Today I enjoy close fellowship with three other men. We came together naturally, not because we decided to be a “team.” Although we are from different backgrounds, vocations and ages, our connection with Christ draws us together. Our focus is not always on spiritual matters; however, trust is a key ingredient. We are free to share anything with each other—the challenges we face at work, our family situations and our walk with the Lord.

One of my friends was struggling with a bad habit, and he shared his need for help with us. We prayed for him and held him accountable. Now he is free and praises God that he was able to come to us for support. It reminds me of our Father’s promise: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Eccles. 4:12).

Small Groups

Memories of my first men’s small group experience, more than 20 years ago, are fresh. We met Saturday mornings with the intent to be home before our families got out of bed. One man led a Bible study. Then we shared and prayed for each other’s needs. As we bonded, accountability evolved naturally.

We also supported each other in our church responsibilities, and as a result, our church was healthier. We had energy in our outreach, evangelism and disciplemaking because we were brothers in Christ.

Mentors

Some of the men in our church have schedules that make it difficult to meet in small groups. So, eight men began to build one-on-one relationships with other men in the congregation. One of these relationships has already developed into discipling.

At the Alliance Bible Church (Culpeper, Va.), Pastor John Janney holds individual, weekly mentoring sessions for two men in the congregation. Every 13 weeks, Pastor Janney and the men go through a short book framed around the Gospel of John.

One of Janney’s previous mentees, an Africa regional media consultant in Burkina Faso, reported that as a missionary he has witnessed the importance of godly leadership and a strong mentoring process. His mentoring has strengthened him in areas of doctrine, biblical accuracy and other essentials for Christian growth.

Pastor Don Swope is mentoring men in three different states by telephone. At the same time, Swope is being mentored by a retired, bedridden pastor who is also mentoring eight other men. Swope said that his two-hour mentoring session is the highlight of each week. Mentoring is the most intense and effective method of discipling and quickly moves the mentee toward bonding and deeper commitment to the Lord.

Prayer Partners

In addition to fellowshipping with other men, it’s important to have someone with whom to pray. John and I are prayer partners. We have known each other for many years and have fought similar spiritual battles. Transparency and accountability are important elements of our prayer time.

We have prayed, and the Lord has provided. We have experienced everything from physical healing to a new job at the desired salary (without negotiation) and direction on when to terminate a part-time job. What a privilege it is to partner with John in prayer and praise!

In spite of our being “wired to the contrary,” we men need to live out our faith as brothers in Christ. It grieves me when I see a man fall because he chose to fight the battle alone when God intends for us to live the call together.

Past Alliance Life Issues

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