This is article #2 in our Men’s Small Group “How-to” series. In Step #1 we answered the question, “What does a group of guys do, who decide to meet together? What’s the purpose?” But the very first question I always get from the men who decide they want to pursue getting into a group is, “How do I find some guys to meet with?” For 99.9% of us, this is a daunting and intimidating thought. Well, let’s start with the easy possibility and then zoom out.
First, talk to your pastor just to see if any groups are already meeting in or through your church? There are times some guys are getting together and it’s not being announced or is happening a little under the radar. Check that possibility out thoroughly first. If your pastor tells you no one is meeting, then let him know your goal and maybe he could help you connect to some like-hearted guys.
But, what if you strike out going the church ministry route?
Think through your circles of relationships—in every area. Make a list of Christian guys you know. Don’t focus on just your church. It’s a great place to start, but some of the strongest groups can be a mix of guys from different churches, even from different denominations. After you’ve written down some names, do any stand out to you? Are there any you know you should cross off as possibilities right away? It is a great idea to spend a few days praying for wisdom and direction from the Lord. Give him room to remind you of someone you didn’t write down or direct you towards a couple of guys on your list. Be open.
After you have identified a guy or a few guys, here’s what you shouldn’t do next….don’t call them up and say, “Hey, let’s start meeting next week and bear our souls, so we can become men of God! What’d ya say?” Here’s the best and cautious approach….contact the guy or guys and ask to get together for coffee, lunch, etc. to just catch up and hang. Start there. See how that goes first. If a guy won’t even commit to a half hour coffee hang, he isn’t likely going to commit to a regular group.
Test those waters. See how that “feels.” Is it peaceful? Do you all seem comfortable? Who is and who isn’t? Worse case scenario, you spend an hour with a guy talking about life, even though you may decide it’s not a good fit. But often, the best groups are those that morph from a regular hang time, then slowly go deeper, opening up more as trust and commitment develop.
I recently met with a friend of mine who I only get together with to talk through life, ministry, struggles, etc. We meet to go deep. We discussed how interesting it is that we all have friends, but the guy we will truly open up with might not even make it onto our “friend list.” Why is that? Because God can bring brothers together solely for His purposes. They may not ever go bowling or watch a game together, though they could and that’s great, but these relationships have a clear, focused, divine purpose.
I totally get how hard it is to seek out and find someone to grow with spiritually—especially in today’s crazy, isolated culture. But—if you are committed to the concept, God will eventually lead you to your group of guys. Yes, it takes time, energy, and a level of focus you aren’t sure you have right now, but when you finally connect and you see progress in your life, you’ll have no question it was worth it.