30 Jun It was a frigid early Friday morning, January 2005…
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 (NIV84)
It was a frigid early Friday morning, January 2005, and I was beginning to wonder…
A new men’s group: God, what are You getting us in to?
The Bob Evans Boys: The backstory
Of course there’s a delicious backstory about how dozens of men of varied backgrounds voluntarily, without (too much) compulsion, came together Friday mornings over breakfast in a group that affectionately became known as “The Bob Evans Boys” (BEB).
To be sure, this particular frigid early Friday morning in January 2005 wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for our wives who themselves were part of a new neighborhood Bible study God put it on my bride’s heart to kickoff just a year earlier. As our wives were increasingly enjoying God and His blessings upon their new group, a thought slowly but surely, now audibly arose among them…
Wouldn’t it be awesome if our husbands started their own group?
It seemed like a good idea – and surely it was – but us guys were probably a little more wary of it. Many of us men tacitly asked ourselves, “Do men really get together to consider God’s Word?”
Turns out the answer is: YES!
And it’s a snap when God paves the way. Through a series of personal invitations, phone calls, and emails, our initial group formed through the husbands of my bride’s Bible study group. These wonderful men agreed to put aside their doubts, their fears, and yes, their extra hour of Friday morning sleep, to turn out and try this thing called Christian brotherhood. So, that’s how God brought us to that frigid early Friday morning in January 2005.
It was here that each of us quickly learned that Jesus is certainly on to something special when He teaches on the divine benefits of people coming together in His name (Matthew 18:20). That’s exactly what we experienced over the years: brotherhood in Christ like most of us had never imagined possible before.
Over the years, our BEB brothers came (many arriving, most staying, some going), our lessons changed with the seasons of our lives, and our frequency of meeting even shifted, but our Bob Evans Boys focus never changed: encouraging each other in Christ.
So critical is this brotherhood of Christ to men and their families that we articulated it as one of our A Faithful Dad core values:
We motivate dads to build godly friendships in the brotherhood of Christ (Proverbs 27:17).
We tie this core value to Proverbs 27:17 (As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another), because God works through men to build up, support, disciple, and challenge one another not only to strengthen and encourage each other, but, more importantly, to bring God greater glory through these relationships.
And these relationships are well-depicted in the image you see above, which we captured during our 10th year anniversary breakfast back in January 2015. This image of these dear brothers brings a flood of thoughts, memories, and feelings; I thought I had adequate words to describe them. Turns out, I didn’t. But my brother, Dan Gobat, a founding BEB member and a fellow A Faithful Dad board member, certainly did. Earlier this month, Dan and his dear family moved away from our area to the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA: bittersweet for all us. Just before his family’s move, Dan put into words a beautiful summary that so accurately captures the essence of why we men do life together. What follows now is an edited portion of that letter…
Just wanted to send you all a message to thank you for your fellowship over the past 12 years. I truly appreciated all of the wisdom, counseling, humor, advice, scolding, humor, insight, vulnerability, openness, humor and most of all your prayers. You are a remarkable group of leaders, and I am humbled to be your brother in Christ.
We’ve seen it all over the last few years: births, deaths (RIP brother Robert), job promotions, job losses, chronic illness, cancer, retirement, marriage issues, kid issues, incarceration…the list could go on and on. But our prayers have gotten us through these trials and tribulations, and all of our praise goes to Him for the blessings we have been gracefully given. And I speak for myself when I say I couldn’t have gotten through it all without your prayers. It is critical that men participate in these groups because we all go through challenges.
When I reflect on what I’ll miss most about Hershey, I’d have to say that (aside from the chocolate smell) meeting with you all the last 12 years is right at the top. It’s truly been an honor, privilege, and an incredible blessing that I can never repay.
God bless and love you all,
Thank you, Dan; we love you, too!
And this blessing of God is something you can share in, too!
So here’s my CHALLENGE to you…
Join a local men’s group!
- Need help finding one? Ask your pastor or drop me a note at Travis@AFaithfulDad.org.
- Not sure what you want to study? Again reach out to me, and I’d be delighted to share some of the studies we’ve accomplished through the years.
- Or, as God guides, consider starting your own men’s group. You probably won’t make as many mistakes as we did, but the benefits, as you’ve briefly seen here, are lasting!
A Faithful Dad’s mission is straightforward: Follow Jesus. Lead your family. Leave a legacy (1 Corinthians 11:1). God enables us to come alongside men from all walks of life, so we can leave a legacy that reflects Jesus, a lasting legacy that will make Jesus proud.
Want to join us in equipping more men to connect through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Please click HERE.
On behalf of our board and serving Jesus with you,
Travis and Suzanne Zimmerman