How many of you can say that you are intentional in your faith?
It’s what many of us strive for…but how well do we actually make it happen?
When I think about intentionality in my faith, I think about being purposeful in both word and deed. It’s about making thoughtful choices to live out my faith and taking care to actively engage with others in my life to turn faithful words into faithful actions. Recently, a few of us got an opportunity to be truly intentional.
In September, Bill McClain, Kalim Andraos and I traveled to Charlotte for the inaugural NCS Chapter Leadership Development Conference. The participants were thirty-five men who were both veterans in the NCS movement as well as newcomers eager to launch chapters in cities up and down the East Coast. For 24 hours, we gathered to make an investment in our relational network and support the future leaders in the movement.
Back in 2005 when I co-founded the NCS Winston Salem chapter with 11 other men, I developed a chapter launch plan that would eventually become the “Chapter Playbook,” a PDF file to help men form new chapters. This was followed by personal coaching from NCS Executive Partner James Anderson, shortly after his arrival in 2014. The playbook and coaching helped many a new chapter get off the ground.
But now, with almost twenty years of history, I felt it was time for more. So we developed a relationally rich cohort framework to intentionally connect new leaders into the NCS network with context, clarity of vision/mission and lessons learned from the experience of other chapters.
I felt it was important to recount the history of NCS as an  Ebenezer to remind us of what God has done with this movement of men. So, I asked Paul Michalski to record our history as a Holy Spirit lead network of men. Through this curation of history, we were able to share the intentional prayers of women in New Canaan, Connecticut over the years, asking God to form a group of faithful men. Click HERE to see the video.
Michael Tremain from Chattanooga spoke to our group and reminded the men that “you cannot give away or model what you do not have”; therefore, chapter leaders need to be intentional about seeking the Lord in prayer and scripture and maintaining close, authentic friendships with other men.
Chip Roper from NCS Manhattan, shared how we tend to think more is always better. He pointed out that more is often not better (i.e., alcohol consumption, acquiring things). The power of less is more is a reminder that in our NCS gatherings, we need to leave space for the Holy Spirit to change hearts and impact lives. Our role is to model authenticity and create a space for the transformative work of the Holy Spirit.
Our own Bill McClain and Wiley Mullins (NCS Fairfield, CT) spoke about the inclusive nature of NCS developing within NCS East Winston and the Call to Forgive tour with Reverend Anthony Thompson taking place next month. Bill shared about the relationships that are forming as men are intentional in going across town to get to know our brothers from East Winston. By showing up, learning their stories and sharing our stories, we are forming powerful relationships.
Kalim Andraos, Hal Rosser (a two-time NCS Winston-Salem speaker), and Tom Cole (NCS Manhattan and another speaker at River Birch Lodge) shared stories about how chapters can intentionally move from small to developing to vibrant. They do so by striking an important balance between “just showing up” at the regular meetings and “going out” on mission in their neighborhood, community or beyond.
Throughout the conference, we emphasized the distinctiveness of NCS, which provides an inclusive environment for men. We offer denominational, vocational, socio-economic, racial, and generational diversity based on authentic male friendship and a focus on Jesus.
As we progress into the next chapter of NCS, I want us to wrestle thoughtfully with the following tensions:
How do we grow in vibrancy while being intentional about showing up?
How do we remain Spirit lead while pursuing excellence in our meetings and relationships?
How do we encourage one another to finish strong and move to impact while remembering the power of just showing up and connecting with the man next to you at a weekly meeting?
Our conference concluded with the men looking to launch chapters working on action plans for holding weekly meetings. I ask you all to please keep the chapter leaders around the country in your prayers. This intentional movement is impacting many lives through the Holy Spirit! Pray for vibrancy, fruit and protection from complacency.