Man is a social animal, as this quarantine season has so painfully reminded me.  In my younger days I took men’s groups for granted—football team, fraternity, fighter squadron. Each had a common bond—a love for football, a fraternal group designed to make friends and meet girls, and a highly-skilled egomaniacal group who shared a love for fast airplanes. The rest of life has showed me just how rare and important a good men’s group is.

And then there’s my Saturday morning men’s breakfast/Bible study group. I’ve been in many Bible study groups over the years but never one like this. We are a diverse group of 20 to 25 men, from teenagers to octogenarians, from retirees to high performance professionals, and fathers and sons. Our common bond is a love of God and a desire to know Him better, manifested in a willingness to get out of bed early on Saturday to be there at 7:30 a.m. One guy gets up even earlier to prepare breakfast for the rest and we rotate the duty through the whole group. Men come early and linger late for the social interaction, and it’s not just small talk. The teenagers are not the least intimidated by the older wiser men in the room—virtually everyone participates as we wrestle with the tough issues of applying Scripture to our lives.

The secret to the group’s success is a Sovereign God who has given us a highly-skilled, passionate, well-prepared discussion leader who knows how to ask the right questions, and a de facto social chairman who begins each session with a self-revelatory question that requires an answer in turn from all. It gets everyone talking and laughing and bonding. Our discussion leader is a gentle giant, a medical professional who finds more productive hours in a day than any 3 men I know. Our social chairman is a big city cop, a mild-mannered soul on Saturday morning, but Monday to Friday don’t cross him—he can put your face on the pavement in a heartbeat.

Our group is called Men Transformed by Samuel (MTS).  In the past we’ve been transformed by other books in the Bible. The life story of David in the book of Samuel is chock full of hard truths and 21st century application for men. The faith and unity we are building is the kind that Rod Dreher advocated in his prescient bestseller four years ago—The Benedict Option. The Benedictine monks of the dark ages cloistered themselves for mutual support and edification in the Word and moved among the culture in the daytime.  Dreher avers they were the reason that Christianity survived those dark times, and their operating principles are what real Christians need to put into practice now. We are steeled by the God-given faith and resolve of Peter, whom our Sovereign God promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church He builds (Matt. 16:18), as the culture careens into the godless abyss of Romans 1. 

Men of all ages are invited to join this band of “Benedictine Presbyterians” at Grace Bible Presbyterian Church, 12060 Lebanon Rd., Cincinnati, OH, as we cloister every Saturday morning from 7:30 to 9 for mutual support and edification in God’s Word … and the jolly camaraderie of brothers in Christ.   

See you in church.

“Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:11-12). [The stated purpose of MTS]    

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