A man I'll call Rick was describing the safe, honest, affirmation of a circle of men who have decided to risk being real with each other. Karen and I were there on loan from Provisions Group: Karen offering her culinary gifts and I as one of a group of facilitators for The Table. The group had a focus and direction, but it was not a time for taking notes or grappling with subject matter.
The schedule was slow. We lingered over conversation and gave room to breathe and delight in God's good provision of table fellowship and the beauty of his creation. The content was the hearts of the men in the room. We were there to be attentive to the work of God's Spirit in one another's lives: to the ways our lives have moved toward and experienced intimacy with Jesus. We heard his voice in his word, and its echoes in song and poetry. It was restorative, tender, fun, sometimes raw, and it was deep.
These men have committed themselves to dropping the "professional Christian" mask, and to allow themselves to receive, without the expectation of being the expert in the room—the guy with the answers to every problem. It is always a surprise to see how encouraging this is to the hearts of men. It makes me glad.
It's a privilege to do this. The model has been refined over more than ten years from the converging streams of the Genesis Project and the Pastors Summit. It's what Provisions Group always aims for in in our pastor-mentoring and coaching.