by Michael Holland    

It started with a man’s challenge:  are we just going to talk about doing something or are we actually going to do it? Thus began our journey to strengthen ourselves as men on a mission.  We explore and study and discuss together what it means to live for Christ, love each other, and make an impact in the world.  Together, we seek to enable and encourage our unsettled drive to lead lives with greater purpose.

Over the last 2 plus years, I have gathered together with several other men of faith for a 5-hour retreat each month.  We gather at noon on a Friday.  We eat, share stories of our lives from the month, and talk deeply about blending our faith with our lives.

We prime our time with books.  A book a month is required.  We come prepared to discuss and debate the book, and to ponder how we can apply the content to our lives.  The discussion creates momentum and broad conversations about God, our lives, and the challenges we face.

We study God’s word.  What a novel idea for men of faith to actually spend time during the middle of a business day to dig into scripture!  The variety of our backgrounds and differing depths of knowledge create fantastic awareness to discovering deeper meaning of our faith.

We share our roadmaps.  There’s nothing more risky and encouraging than sharing very personal goals and plans with other men.  Intimacy for men isn’t something easily pursued, and while intimacy itself sounds very non-manly, it is the edge we try to find in sharing our goals, aspirations, and our thoughts on how we believe God wants to leverage our lives to have a greater impact.

We pray.  We carve out time to pray.  Some pray with great eloquence, others, like me,  not so much.  But all of us pray earnestly.

We are early in our journey.  We struggle to balance the demands of reading/knowledge building and the 5-hour block of time each month with the demands of family and businesses.  But each month as I leave a Jedi Council Retreat, my strength is renewed.  My head may hurt from the discussions, but I am encouraged, enabled, and engaged.