Ask Him to Walk With You
I always love hanging around a large gathering of men from our church. I’ve been around here for a while, so I have enjoyed a great number of opportunities to reconnect with guys I’ve worshiped with for years and also fellowship with men I am just getting to know. During these times, I am in and out of conversations with a number of brothers, and our discussions run the gamut. Of course, spending time with other men is always better when food is involved, so a catered evening meal from Wally’s hits the spot, not to mention an always wonderful breakfast to follow. This is especially true when that breakfast features mankind’s favorite and most essential food item – bacon! (M&Ms also seem to enhance the experience, as well, be they plain or peanut).
My latest opportunity to eat and greet came this past Friday and Saturday during our men’s conference. We were led most effectively by a great and beloved friend of our church, Dr. Herb Ward. During this time, I had several occasions to step back and observe the audience: church members and interested visitors, fathers and younger sons, older guys like me and less-older guys (there seems to be more and more of them) – all in abundance.
We learned from Herb, and also talked openly among ourselves, about the growing exodus of younger adults from the evangelical church, a development from which our body is not immune. We spoke of causes and discussed solutions. Even though the problem is admittedly real, it was encouraging to see so many younger men take the time to be a part of something that was way more than a hand-wringing worry session made up of old guys (like me). I was inspired by how these men of various ages and perspectives were willing to engage in a discussion of this topic.
We did not address this subject because we feel the need to be more strategic or to develop a clever plan. Our hope is not in our plans, but in the knowledge that God has blessed this particular body of believers, and He will continue to do so. Speaking just for myself, my interest in having an even wider fellowship tent at our church is because I want even more brothers and friends in the Lord. In addition, I look forward to coming alongside more and more of my younger friends as I see them grow in grace and faith. Just maybe, I have something to pass on.
Much to the relief of everyone else, I did not address the group until it was time to leave. Before the guys could escape, I borrowed a thought from Nate Larkin and reminded my friends, whether younger or older, long-time or recent, that like snowflakes, our best work and highest ends are accomplished as a team, acting in community. Take the time to build on your community ties in this church. Feel free to approach a man, whether older or younger, and ask him to walk with you. In so doing, you are not only building relationships, but are also doing the very will of God and bringing Him glory. He has built our church through community, and He will sustain and grow it in the very same way going forward.
~Elder Dee Hobbs