When I first heard about Samson and the Pirate Monks through Tim Challies, I didn’t pay much attention. When I finally read the book, though, I wondered why I’d waited so long. It’s the story of Nate Larkin, a pastor who got enmeshed in sexual sin, but it’s more than that. It’s a call to authentic Christian brotherhood, and creating space for men to be honest and to apply the gospel to their struggles.
As the book recommends, we started a Samson Society. It’s “a fellowship of Christian men who are serious about authenticity, community, humility, and recovery. We meet every Wednesday morning from 7 to 8. There’s a format that we follow, although not rigidly, and each week we cover a topic that applies to men and speak about how we’re doing in that area.
I’m cynical about new initiatives and programs, and wondered how long something like this would work. I’ve been surprised at how well it works because it’s not a program, and because it’s just structured enough to allow us to get real about our lives. I’ve been part of many men’s groups, but I’ve never experienced anything like this.
Once a week, I know I’ll be in a room with other men. I know a topic will come up, but I don’t know what topic it will be. I will be presented with an opportunity to speak honestly about how I’m doing in that area, although there’s no pressure to say anything if I don’t want to. And I’ll have the opportunity to talk about any other issue that I’m facing in my life. I’ll also have the opportunity to connect with someone else during the week with whom I can also share.
It doesn’t sound like much, but it is. Men need this, and as a pastor, I haven’t always known how to provide it.
If you haven’t read Samson and the Pirate Monks, it’s worth reading. SamsonSociety.com also has some helpful resources on how to run a meeting. If you’re a man, you need something like this, and the men around you need it too.