May 29, 2020
Dear Brothers –
The opportunity to encourage others in the name of Jesus is needed now as much as
any time in our nation’s history. We lament the recent killings of George Floyd,
Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and the pain and frustration among our African
American brothers is overwhelming. In addition, business owners, residents, and
employees are incurring losses as demonstrations turn violent.
The divisions in our country run deep, and I want to encourage the men in the
movement of NCS to prayerfully consider what role we might play in inviting more
men to friendship through Jesus and prayer.
I believe NCS can provide important relational bridges across many man-made
divisions if we are intentional about doing so. While these relational bridges will not
solve any structural impediments to economic mobility and justice impacting many, we
can provide an environment for men to share their stories and for the Holy Spirit to
soften hearts and amplify the gifts of kindness, generosity, forgiveness as well as the
conviction for repentance. Like the men of Issachar (1 Chr 12:32), hopefully we too will
understand the times in which we live and what we might do as servant leaders in our
NCS offers men an opportunity to build authentic friendships with each other through Jesus.
We are a movement of men seeking guidance and unity from the Holy Spirit. Although
we fall short, we know the blessing that flows when we connect in community and
show up for each other and invite Jesus to join us.
My hope for NCS is that we will continue to grow as a welcoming relational movement
open to all men across the generational, vocational, denominational, political, and racial
lines in our communities which increasingly separate us. Yet if we are to expand our
relational bridges and ask the Holy Spirit to expand friendships to foster greater unity,
it will need to be intentional and Spirit-led, and the opportunities to bridge division will
be different across our chapters.
Let me provide an example of how our predominately white NCS chapter in Winston
Salem prayerfully invited our African American brothers to pursue friendship,
recognizing that our example might be applied differently in other chapters.
We initially had very few African Americans active in our chapter. At least one African
American who was invited to our meetings was told by a fellow African American that “the chapter was not for Blacks.” Another African American who attended our NCS
chapter shared his frustration with the stories of mission trips abroad but no stories of
helping with the poverty in our city. Our decision to move forward to intentionally
invite more men of color to our meetings included the following:
• Unity among leadership for the vision with identified champions to lead it
• Personal invitations to African Americans to join the discussion
• A meeting venue in the African American community
• African American leadership for the new meeting
• NCS core values, particularly as a safe place to share pain and frustration
There was no agenda to do anything in the community other than show up and work
on friendship with men we did not normally see at work, church, or socially. However,
the process of just showing up, sharing our stories, and lifting the name of Jesus has led
to many small but significant projects and connections which are impacting the
community and laying building blocks for greater unity. The gift of new friendships
has been shared, and our regular African American chapter attendance has grown
approximately six-fold from the start of the initiative.
The Holy Spirit is showing us how changed hearts seeking Jesus can bring about
change and build towards greater unity. Please join me and others across our NCS
network in continuing to build NCS into a welcoming relational bridge by inviting and
connecting with all men.
Jay Helvey, Managing Partner
New Canaan Society