by Chris Surratt
Jonathan Dodson says that “you don’t pick your community, but you do pick your friends.” I say, “Just don’t pick your friend’s nose.” That was an awful joke. I’m so sorry. But the idea that we choose our friends, but not necessarily our community, is correct. We are all part of communities, whether we want to be or not.
My family and I now live in a neighborhood just outside of downtown Nashville. This is my home community. We chose our house, but the people around us have shifted and changed over the years we have lived there. We don’t have a say in to whom our neighbors decide to sell. The community we find ourselves in today is quite different from when we moved here five years ago. That’s not a bad thing, but it is a thing.
While the community has changed, my friends from my community have not changed that much. I have 3-4 guys who share common interests and I naturally get along with them. We meet in the alleyway to talk motorcycles, grilling, and the latest excuse for why the Titans are bad—yet again. I would say that I am doing life with these 3-4 guys, but not really with my “community.”
If the church is going to intentionally disciple men who will be world changers, we have to understand and tap into this concept of doing life with friends. Our Sunday morning service is not going to get it done on its own. This is a community that is most likely shifting and changing and may not even be one that a lot of the guys chose on their own. Our small groups are not going to get it done on their own either. While that larger community of 12-16 people is important, it doesn’t have the ability to reach beyond the surface to the heart of what we need as men.
What’s going to do it is a movement of friends. Those 3-4 like-minded guys who are consistently challenging each other to live out the gospel and grow as disciples of Jesus. You may call that “D Groups,” “Fight Clubs,” or “Bands of Brothers.” Ultimately, they are groups of friends, guys who recognize that the only way to be who God made them to be is with someone else’s help—preferably, a couple of friends.