Relational Bridges Across Man-made Divisions


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

communities.


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

• Prayer


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

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