Tuesday Morning Men's Group
" You're never alone when you are part of a group."
By: David Cook
Recently, I was reading a devotional that focused on a verse from the book of Acts: "You - all of you, collectively - will be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8 NIV). The author of the devotional discussed the fact that Jesus works in community; and, for that reason, there are no personal pronouns in the descriptions of the early church in Acts. The followers of Christ met together, prayed together and shared everything they had. I guess that was the blueprint for small groups!
Some 15 or 16 years ago, a small group was established at Crossroads on Tuesday mornings for men to come together, pray together, share their experiences, and talk about what it meant to try and follow Christ in their lives. And, being men, we came up with a wonderfully creative name for the group: The Tuesday Morning Men's Group! Why a group that is limited to men? Simply stated, we are often conflicted in our lives. From early childhood, we were taught to not show fear, sadness or other "weak" emotions - to be fearless and courageous - to "man up". Later, we're encouraged to show our emotions and share our deepest thoughts (usually encouraged by someone who lacks the Y chromosome!): So, as men, are we supposed to be the Mel Gibson in Braveheart and go out and slay a dragon or the Mel Gibson in What Women Want and go out and buy a nice dragon steak, know how to cook it perfectly and pick out just the right wine to pair with it?
There are a few of us who have been attending the group since its inception but, over the course of those years, many men have been associated with the group. And, although the faces might change, the reasons why men attend have not. Our meetings start off with a time of sharing prayers and praises before getting into whichever book we are studying at the time. We look forward each week to the opportunity to meet and speak with other men in a "safe" environment where we can express our concerns and lift up our prayer needs with the assurance that what is said in the group remains confidential. We also share the joy of praises for answered prayers and for all the good things that happen in our lives. It is a time to review and recharge our faith which is often battered in the week between meetings. These are relationships that just can't be established in the workplace or elsewhere.
Over the course of the years we have shared and supported each other through divorces, cancer diagnoses and other illnesses, deaths of friends and family members, unemployment, addictions, etc. We meet with the expectation, only, of being supported; there are no expectations on anyone to speak and there are no judgments when someone does. Because it is a diverse group in age and life experiences, we don't always share the same views, but we can all benefit from the collective experiences and wisdom of the group. And, most importantly, we know that we are not alone - that whatever we are struggling with, someone else has been in the same or similar situation - you're never alone when you are part of a group! We have experienced the bonds of friendship that remain intact even with the men who no longer attend.
However, we are more than just a group that gets together and drinks coffee on Tuesdays. We have been very involved in service to the Church and the community through warming the homeless, the Kevin Brown memorial cookout, serving donuts and hot dogs in the Fellowship Hall after selected services, and the Sunday after Christmas pancake breakfast - just to name a few. Sharing in those service opportunities has also contributed to our transformation from being individuals to being part of a brotherhood.
Our group is open to any man who would like to share in this experience. Currently there are about 12 men who are actively involved in the group and somewhere between 6 and 10 are there on any given Tuesday. We meet at 6:15am in the Fellowship Hall every Tuesday morning and we have plenty of coffee! Please feel free to drop by and see what it can mean to be part of a band of brothers.