Standing in the Gap with One Another: Time for Men to Unite

In Hemmingway’s classic, The Old Man and the Sea, the protagonist has one major lament as he tries to reel in the fish of a lifetime. With the battle raging over several days and his body breaking down from the struggle and the elements on the open water, the old man wishes someone had his back. He wonders how things might be different—how he might have caught the 18-foot marlin sooner or how he might have better fended off the sharks—if only he had brought “the boy,” his protégé and only friend in the twilight of life.

Sadly, there are many men in the Church who are also out there alone, fighting a good fight, but living—as Thoreau said—“lives of quiet desperation.” While Jesus called us to be fishers of men, He didn’t call us to do it alone. In Luke 10, He sent out the disciples in groups of two and they marveled that they saw Satan fall like lightning.

This summer, I was in Washington,D.C., and recalled what can happen when men come together in unity and power. At the Washington Monument, I was reminded of Promise Keepers’ Stand in the Gap event there on October 4, 1997. Two friends and I travelled to D.C. on a chartered train with about 600 other men from Northern New Jersey. What a powerful day it was as one million men prayed for our nation, our churches, and our families. It was certainly the watershed moment in the Promise Keepers’ movement.

Even though there were a million men in Washington,D.C., it was even more meaningful to experience it with two good friends. And one of those guys is still a close friend to this day. We’ll catch up every month or so and have been there for each other—in good times and bad—as we seek to live out the prayers we prayed in the nation’s capital. It was great to take that Promise Keepers’ trip with him in ’97, but it’s been an even greater blessing to have someone who continues to “stand in the gap” with me on life’s journey. Men like this have made a huge difference in my life.

This fall, would you join me in praying that men all over the Metro New York region would put down their pride and Lone Ranger mentality and find someone in their local church to whom they can be accountable? In Proverbs 27:17, the Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

And corporate worship among men is important as well. The Promise Keepers’ movement has ended in this area, but there are still options for men to unite in power and praise. Every other week, from September to early June, New Canaan Society chapters throughout New Jersey and Manhattan meet in a large group format with breakfast, contemporary worship, and a noted guest speaker.

The New Canaan Society (NCS) started in a Connecticut living room in 1995 with a group of men who wanted to go deeper in their relationships with the Lord and with each other and become better husbands and fathers.

“Only when we are transparent and take off our Sunday masks, can we truly make progress in our lives and allow God to change us,” said Andy Aran, a leader with the Bergen County Chapter of NCS. “But we can’t be vulnerable unless we develop trust. NCS facilitates this by allowing men to share life together. Doing life alone is a recipe for loneliness at best and disaster at worst.”

Joe Pellegrino, the founder of Legacy Minded Men, agrees wholeheartedly.

“Masks are everywhere. We put on a good face while inside we are dying,” he said. “We talk the talk, but when it comes to walking the walk, we lie to others, as well as ourselves.

“Accountability is paramount. Often, when a man asks another man how he is doing, the answer will be ‘great.’ But do we ever ask, ‘How are you really doing?’ Men need other men whom they can trust and who will hold them accountable. This could make all the difference!”

These themes are prevalent at the organization’s Man Conferences, hosted in the fall and spring. The next will be held Nov. 2 at Christ Church in Rockaway with speakers Rev. David Ireland, former NFL running back Keith Elias, Jack Redmond, and Anthony Franklin.

“At the Man Conferences, men hear the truth of God’s Word through, not only great teachers, but average Joes who understand the challenges men face to live a godly life and leave a godly legacy,” said Pellegrino.

Legacy Minded Men also recently launched Breaking the Chains, a bi-weekly anonymous conference call for men dealing with sexual addiction.

“The healing begins when the man realizes this can be the start of freedom from the bondage of sexual sin,” Pellegrino said. “We expect this aspect of the ministry to grow significantly over the course of the next year and with God’s help, will repair a lot of broken lives.”

Whether it is pornography, alcoholism, workaholism, or even just “quiet desperation”—brokenness is everywhere these days, especially among men. But the good news is that Jesus came to “bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners…”

We just can’t do it alone.

Written by Tom Campisi, Publisher

Contact info: Legacy Minded Men (www.legacymindedmen.org); New Canaan Society (www.newcanaansociety.org).Tom Campisi welcomes your comments about this article or anything that is happening in the Metro New York Christian community. E-mail him at Tom@Tristatevoice.com

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