FCC Men's Ministry is designed to build friendships among men in the church. It's about strengthening each other, mentoring each other, and growing in God together.
Pastor Danny Fitelson and team provide leadership to men's ministry at First Covenant Church.
When I was about 6 or 7 I pushed Billy Garfield into a rose bush. Why I was so angry has completely left my memory banks but pushing Billy is still vivid.
Anger, loss of temper etc. stay with us for a long time. Guys who "lose their cool" regularly may not be clinically depressed but the repeated acts of anger can lead to a cycle of self hatred where depression and addiction are likely. Friendship is critical but it is difficult to analyze our friends and still have a genuine friendship. I don't think friendship can tolerate much analysis.
So that leaves us with this: there are times when NOT being angry is wrong. But even that kind of good anger takes a toll. If a friend suddenly seems to "lose his temper" increasingly that is a time to ask the dreaded "hey, what's going on" question. Job and family stress can bring out the worst in us and at times there are very good reasons for it. Having a trusted friend to listen can make a huge difference.
Men in our social and cultural times need to deliberately love themselves as we are loved by our Creator. Loving yourself is almost the opposite of self indulgence. It is more like taking care of a wound, gently taking the time to heal.
It isn't easy, is it? Sometimes asking another guy to get together socially brings up all kinds of nervous questions:
On top of that, simply trying to find time amongst work, family, chores and other commitments can be a challenge.
All this can lead a man to think:
"I'm just not cut out for male friendships."
"I don't need male friends - I've got my wife and kids and they are enough for me."
"I don't have the time or energy to devote to this."
According to the American Sociological Review, white heterosexual men have the fewest friends of anyone in America. Most men view male friends like baseball cards - they stash them away and every 2 or 3 years pull them out again (Robert Garfield, "Breaking the Male Code: Unlocking the Power of Friendship"). This lack of male-male intimacy and opportunities to unwind can lead to wives/girlfriends feeling a burden known as "emotional labor."
So what can be done?
What tends to work for men is to find an activity to do alongside other men:
FCC Men's Ministry is committed to putting on events during which men can meet and connect with each other. Large quarterly events like our Breakfast Buffet and BBQ Cook-off are great times to meet other guys. Summer Softball and Men's Basketball are low-stress environments to have fun alongside others. Regular Bible Studies like the ones on Thursdays at 6:30 am and 1st/3rd Tuesdays at 7:30 pm and Bagels, Bible and Bro Time provide opportunities to go deeper.
While we might tell ourselves it is weakness to ask for help, most men deep down are looking for ways to connect and build friendships.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." -- Henry David Thoreau
To me, Thoreau's quote can be applied to the isolation and loneliness that we men seem to unconsciously hide: the deep feeling that nobody really understands me -- or that if people really knew who I was, they wouldn't love me. Men in general have a sense of needing to outwardly project an image that everything is great or fine, even when inwardly things are not okay. Even if we want to pour out our souls, we may not know how. We may not have the tools, language, or wherewithal to connect with others. We all need people to turn to when we are feeling sadness, sorrow, or alone. That's just part of the human experience. Loneliness happens when you are constantly projecting an image of who you are, instead of who you actually are.
The antidote to this loneliness is connection. Showing your strengths may impress people, but it is through revealing our weaknesses to safe people that brings a sense of community and connection. The word "safe," means boring or weak to some men. But in the context of relationships, safety is not the absence of physical danger, it is the presence of comfort. Being safe fosters trust. And you can't have a relationship without trust. To be able to say things such as, "I have been procrastinating, because I'm really afraid to fail at this" to somebody who cares about and accepting of you is incredibly connecting. In attachment style theory, we call this creating a safe and secure connection. Safety is the basis for healthy connection.
When I think of safe people, I can think of three characteristics:
So, recognize when somebody is a safe person and then take a risk to be open and honest with them, so that your life will have transparency and vulnerability. Also, notice ways that you can become a safe person to others, including men. In doing so, your relationships will be more fulfilling.
Join us! All are welcome - anytime.
1st & 3rd Tuesdays: 7:30 pm • Adult Ed Center
We are currently studying this at the Adult Ed Center located downstairs from the Sanctuary. The session ends at 9:00 pm.
Thusdays: 6:30 am • Fireside Room
We are totally immersed reading the book of Isaiah over coffee at the Fireside Room located adjacent to the gym, across the kitchen.