Another Day Along the Way
Friday, April 01, 2011
Last week I was in North Carolina. With guys. Many guys. Honest, sincere, hopeful, unsure, bruised guys. Guys who believe and doubt. Guys who want to do right and often do wrong. Guys who want reality instead of religious addiction. Guys who need one another. Guys previously trained to just be tough and act like all is well – even when slowly dying from years of pain, of mistakes, of aloneness.
Named Bold Venture, the setting welcomed such men. Guys from various backgrounds, nations, and spiritual experiences – guys all wanting change, authenticity, and spiritual brothers. We all had a few more things in common. We each had some connection with the man courageous enough to get Bold Venture going: Lee Grady. And, we each were willing to seek a boldness that would guide us into new spiritual and relational territory.
The adventure started last year. The adventure continues after each event concludes. The guys aren’t just informed by preachers or given emotional highs by a tricky trend. We were invited to continually live what we say we believe.
How were we affected? James Graham says, “For me, Bold Venture has been a platform to create an environment where men can create truly healthy, accountable, synergistic relationships. I have been so deeply enriched by the relationships I have found there.”
Deeply enriched. A vision enlarged. Healthy relationships. Rick Womack agrees: “Bold Venture has given me hope for today and hope for tomorrow. Last year I attended and was at my lowest point in ministry ever. The authenticity, transparency, love and encouragement from my Bold brothers gave me hope for today – hope that this difficult season would pass and God’s grace and faithfulness would be revealed. This year’s event gave me great hope for tomorrow. I was refreshed by the number of men making it a point to have their sons present.”
Speaking of sons, I was honored our oldest son Taylor joined me again at Bold Venture. Taylor says, “When guys get honest – with themselves, each other, and God – about their lives and dreams, we become bold.”
Like Taylor, Clay Hearn has traveled around the world to do mission work. His thoughts? “Bold Venture 2 was a breath of fresh air. I was so encouraged to be around men from all over the world who are passionate about Jesus Christ and making His name great across the world.”
Eddie Taylor reminds us of ways Bold Venture is unique and doesn’t fit the normal celebrity show of many religious events: “Bold Venture is an exciting movement for me because it is not built on hype or personality. BV attempts to inspire men to practice New Testament relational Christianity. Through testimony and small group interaction I have walked away from both Bold Venture gatherings more committed to making disciples.”
Charles Powell agrees, summarizing it this way: “Bold Venture is a place where common men find spiritual community. The success and failures of one man become real inspiration for many. Authenticity is the food that nourishes each participant and everyone checks his masks at the door.”
Notice their thoughts. Evaluate yourself and your own encounters. Do a “word search” in your heart; are you familiar with their phrases? Transparency. Fathers and sons together. Honesty. Breath of fresh air. Not built on hype. Relational Christianity. Common men find spiritual community. Everyone checks his masks at the door.
Lee Grady says, “Bold Venture is just one obvious sign that men today crave genuine, authentic, raw Christianity without the games, hype, and sideshows of the past season. Men don’t want to just be preached to. They want relationships. And young men want mentors and role models who are humble and transparent.”
I agree with Lee. Bold Venture is doing that. Men – from various tribes, with various backgrounds, enduring various seasons of life – met together. We ate together, listened to one another, and sought help. Together. Remember that word: Together.
Let’s wave goodbye to our aloneness. Let’s experience this real life. Together.
Along the way,
Powerful Statement: Today’s religious systems cut the life out of what Jesus designed the church to be. (Barry St. Clair at Bold Venture 2)