Break Some Ice
Some of you know each other well and some don’t. First, start this group out right and go around and do some introductions. Talk about things you like to do, food you like, family, testimony if you’d like, etc… Remember to remind all men that what is said in this group will ALWAYS stay in this group unless permission is given otherwise. If you want to do something more to loosen things up a bit go right ahead. Arm wrestling, stare-down contest, etc… Just kidding.
You might be wondering, “Why did they call the first A-Team meeting “The Rock?” Well, he is quite popular right now! Oh, did you think I was talking about Dwayne Johnson? No. I mean the real Rock, King Jesus! We figured since these groups are all about becoming more like Him through the A-Team pillars of Action, Accountability, Adventure, and Authenticity we should build on the rock-solid foundation of Christ. So, let’s begin this adventure!
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24 (ESV)
Why? Because they [Israel] did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone. Romans 9:32 (ESV)
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:4–5 (ESV)
No doubt we’ve all read these verses multiple times. They are calls for Christ followers to do something. That is, to fashion our lives by the example Jesus set before us. But what does that really mean? What do we know about how Jesus lived?
Well, what we know is that Jesus is truly God and truly Man. He became a servant to mankind being obedient to the Father’s will with the ultimate act of service of death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, making a way to once again be in communion with God.
We can get so focused on Jesus’ deity (and rightfully so) that we sometimes forget that He came to earth in human form and lived among us. Jesus grew up like us all. He lived in what we would call a blue-collar family and took on the family trade as a carpenter. By the time many of us reach 30 years old we have worked almost a solid decade in our respective fields. It’s safe to say he was very proficient in what he did. Kind of brings a new perspective on Colossians 3:23, huh? I bet Jesus built some quality products. Just as Jesus was here to do the Father’s will so we are here to do the Lord’s will, and to the best of our ability.
That brings us to the question earlier. What does living for Christ mean? To do the best we can at our jobs? Sure, but Jesus offers so much more than career proficiency. If we look at His ministry we see that he recruited twelve guys to do ministry (life) with. If we look a little deeper we find that of the twelve he was closer yet to three men. (I say that to say don’t feel like your group is failing if every guy isn’t extremely tight with each other. We all have different interests, personalities, etc… We mesh better with some than others. That is not to say that we are not all fighting the same Good fight. Remember that!)
What we have in the Scriptural accounts are recollections inspired by the Holy Spirit of their daily living with the God-Man Jesus. His interactions with his family, his friends, acquaintances, and even enemies are all there for our benefit. What I’m saying is that we can know EXACTLY how to live because Jesus showed us how.
More than just an example though, we must not forget that Jesus is our Lord. We are not called to just act a certain way, thereby earning our salvation through works but rather to renew our minds and open our hearts to Jesus’ Lordship in all parts of our life. At home, at work, at play. Jesus is Lord over all. The actions that will flow from a heart towards God will prove our faith.
Okay. So What are We Supposed to Do?
How are the A-Teams going to help in our spiritual development? I’m glad you asked!
We will show Grace. Jesus was the perfect example of Grace. We can find time again where Jesus had a heart for the afflicted, the downtrodden, the outcast. We know he wept for His friend Lazarus upon word of his death. As we go on this adventure called A-Team we must always remember that we are all at different stages of faith, life, family, etc…so what is said in confidence must stay in confidence. We are here to build each other up, not tear each other down or gossip about each other.
We will have Kingdom focus. Though a unique part of the A-Teams is fellowship and brotherhood building, it is for the purpose of edification. This is not some social club where we just “get together with the boys”.
We will build a Brotherhood. Speaking of building each other up, when we are living in the trenches of the battlefield of life with each other we can’t help but share our struggles we all face to the point that we can say to each other, “I got your back bro!”
It doesn’t matter if you’ve had bad teacher’s in your past because the teacher we have now is none other than Jesus. The ultimate example of what a true masculine man should be. Through this brotherhood founded on Jesus’ example we will spur each other on toward love and good works. Heb. 10:24
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Let’s go back to the three opening verses and discuss how we will focus this A-Team on Christ-likeness.
The imagery of Matthew 7:24 is vivid. Imagine some really nice-looking house built on a sandy shoreline. All it takes is a few waves and poof, it’s washed away. Now consider a modest looking abode built on solid rock. Not too much to look at but it’s not going anywhere when those waves come. I think this is a great lesson for us men who are called to lead our homes. Whether we have a family or not, we are representatives of Christ and are being looked at by believers and non-believers alike.
Name some ways we can utilize this group to help each brother build a solid foundation on Christ and then protect that house against the attacks of the world?
Romans 9:32 describes that nice-looking house as one that’s simply built on works. While it looks good, it’s just a facade. The verse states that though Israel was making their house look good, they did not have faith followed by works but rather works without the faith. This reversal of process made them reject Christ as they were so focused on keeping the rules.
What steps will we take in this group to be transparent to the point that we go beyond mere looks of Christianity to a true heartfelt Christ-likeness that manifests itself in a desire to love and serve God and others?
In 1 Peter 2:4-5, we find that Jesus was rejected by man, and so will those who follow Christ be opposed by the world. Yet, our response is not to be pleasing to the world so as to gain its favor but be pleasing to God.
What are ways we can live out our spiritual sacrifice to God, and how can we hold each other accountable in doing so?
Taking it to the Next Level
As more than a typical study group, theses A-Teams are designed to encourage participation, team building, friendships, and bonds. What greater way to do these than to do things together.
One way this can be done is to serve together. As the months progress and as it fits that month’s theme, we will provide a list of different ministry opportunities your A-Team can get involved in. They can range from a one-time project working with a local ministry to a short-term or even ongoing opportunity at church.
While these opportunities are not a mandatory requirement of the groups they are encouraged and will greatly enhance the Team. These opportunities will be chosen and scheduled by the team leader. Look forward to more information about these in the following months.
In addition, think outside the box when it comes to your group meeting time and place. You should not pick a time where you will be rushed. Allow at least 2 hours minimum for your group meeting. If meeting in a home we strongly recommend it is just the guys there, no other family. Of course, there are a plethora of places to meet such as a coffee shop, go-cart raceway in Grimes, the ping-pong place or arcade downtown, the bowling alley, restaurant, etc… Again, think outside the box. Make your meeting fun, team building, and most importantly focused on Christ.