WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
In the summer of 2013 six men felt like they wanted more. We had spent some time together in the Men’s Life ministry, at our local Church called The Harbor. Several men would meet once a week for an hour, have some light breakfast, sing some songs, hear The Word preached and have some table discussion. Men’s Life ran in conjunction with our school calendar and would break during the summer. We knew we wanted to continue in The Word and meeting together, so we began to discuss what more would look like as summer approached. One of the guys found a question study guide online for the book of Ephesians at this website called www.free-online-bible-study.com.
The format of this study was different to Men’s Life. This chapter a week study would require us spend time in God’s Word six days a week, with daily guided questions to prompt our thoughts. On the seventh day we would then gather together at a coffee shop, drink some coffee and digest the chapter and questions as a group.
Our time together included prayer, reading the chapter in sections, questions and discussions. A different person would facilitate each week, and their main responsibility was to pray us in and out, facilitate the questions and group conversation.
We came into the group knowing we were all novice at digging into The Bible, and that none of us were Bible experts. This understanding made our group a safe place to ask questions. When we didn’t have an answer to a question, we would dig deep, investigate and learn together. Also, early on we had a sense that we were not there to fix each other. Instead we had an attitude that we were to make this journey together a priority. That we were there to dig into God’s Word, and wrestle with what it says.
As we continued to meet each week we began talking about this group to other people. Eventually this group of six became eight; eight became ten; ten became twelve. Within two years, we had done almost all the available studies from the website. This prompted a change in our weekly study of quiet time with God. Instead of guided questions, we decided that we would continue to read a chapter a week and ask ourselves what does God want me to know, feel and do after reading this passage. This format allowed for us to speak freely and discuss how God was asking each of us personally to apply His Word to our lives. We began focusing on reading for transformation, and not just for information.
Naturally, we started opening up more, sharing struggles and being more vulnerable. The group bonded and we became a band of brothers as we began to pray for each other during the week and hold each other accountable. Through the years we became a community that was there for each other as we walked through the passing of love ones, devastations from Hurricane Harvey, health struggles, job loss and much more.
One of our earliest prayers was that we would outgrow the coffee shop. We had no idea what God had in store and how He would answer that prayer. After six years and more than fifty men coming in and out of the group, we felt God call us to break camp and come off the mountain….aka it was time to multiply.
As we discussed this calling, we found God had been at work behind the scenes. One year earlier one of the men felt lead to buy the domain for www.whiteflag.life. He did not fully know why then, God did. We have since launched 9 groups with 80 men and are still growing. We are so excited to see how Jesus will continue to grow us and all of these new men.
Looking back what we have experienced has been a little glimpse of Acts 2 and Christ’s Church. We never set out with this goal, but it was the heart of our leader, Jesus Christ. Our prayer is a continuation of Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:16-19 (funny enough this was the first book we ever did. You just can’t make it up).
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Our prayer is that you start or join a Bible Fellowship, and through this decision you have the same experience that we are having, which is Ephesians 3:20-21… Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.