BY CHRIS ROPS, GRACE VOLUNTEER & ATTENDER
God works in amazing ways. Life was good for me. I had a good job as a civil engineer working many hours a week for the same company for 24 years, a wife who I was married to for 17 years, and two great kids ages 9 and 12. And then BAM! Like hitting a wall at 60 mph, the trajectory of my life stopped with the impact of a divorce and job layoff both at the same time.
What does a man do when faced with a life crisis? Who could I talk to about my anger, sadness and hopelessness? What to do next? I thought my situation was special and unique, right?
God pointed me to Grace Church. I had been a regular, one-hour a week, Sunday service attender but did not have much deeper of a connection. My crisis led me to seek out Grace Church and ultimately having a meeting with Mike Whitesell, the Men’s Ministry Pastor. Mike told me about a men's group, how I could get connected to the program, and then spent time praying for me. It was the first time in my life someone specifically prayed for me and my healing. That stood out to me the most. That someone I didn't even know could care so deeply for me.
So I went to my first Men of Grace meeting. I was intimidated upon entering a room with over a 100 men. Where to sit? What was this going to be like? Should I just leave? Then there was Damon, with a smile and a friendly greeting to join him at his table….then Brad, Tom, Pete, Jeff, Pete, and Jim joined the table. It was a great evening of discussion, but I thought surely week two will be different. Nope, week two the same group of guys showed up and we had another great discussion. Week three was the same, and week four, and week five. By then, I saw a pattern was forming and friendships were strengthening.
Fast forward six years, the same great group of Men of Grace friends with the addition of Jay, Eric, Scott, Kyle, Matt, Dan, Jacob, and David continue to meet and walk through life together. We come together to meet at the Men of Grace BBQ, Pursuits, Second Gears, and other fun social activities.
But what else does Men of Grace mean for me? What purpose does it serve in my life?
What it Means for Me
Strong, committed friendships unlike anything else experienced prior in my life.
Speakers, video series and books providing me a place to learn how to be a good Christian man – spiritually, at work, and in my family.
A non-judgmental support network to come alongside and help weather any life crisis thrown at me.
A solution to the isolation and brokenness in the world.
A place and a group of men where I have “permission” and “encouragement” to be vulnerable and honest about any life issue.
God does work in amazing ways….just be open to opportunities presented!
Don't Wait, Jump In
If you are reading this and have any of the feelings I did six years ago, stop waiting! It's time to say yes and just jump in. Grace has groups for everyone! No matter what age or life stage you are in, there is a group for you. Still unsure about God? Guess what, there is a group for you! Questions about life, faith, relationships? Guess what? There's a group for you! Stop waiting and join a group now. Not sure what group to join? Email us and we will help you get started!