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  • Writer's pictureJohn Blevins

Strengthening the Bonds of Brotherhood at Christ Church Presbyterian

Strengthening the Bonds of Brotherhood at Christ Church Presbyterian

We live in a world that often promotes and values individualism and vain attempts at self-sufficiency over community and mutual support. Yet, as Christians, God calls men to a higher standard of friendship, community, and Christ-centered brotherhood. This calling is not only a command we pursue by God's grace; it's also a blessing. Our aim is genuine, godly friendships that reflect the unity and love the Lord gives us in the body of Christ. Recently, in a sermon I quoted from "Got Your Back" by Dr. Gary Yagel, he wrote, "Today's Church is experiencing an epidemic of male isolation. Research reveals that nineteen out of twenty Christian men have no best friend, no one helping them fight their spiritual battles, much less a brother who has their back." Dr. Yagel is a pastor in the PCA who has labored for many years to help churches equip their men to grow as brothers in Christ. His observation is a timely reminder of the Lord's calling to Christian men to pursue brotherhood. It presents a compelling case for the importance of close-knit Brotherhood Groups within our church. Men, by God's grace, we must grow as brothers in Christ!

The Biblical Mandate for Brotherhood

The Scriptures are clear that no one is to live the Christian life alone. Jesus' people need each other. Christian men need one another. God designed His Church to function together as the body of Christ as we read in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together." 

The Christian life takes place in the community of the local church. Proverbs 27:17 highlights the importance of mutual encouragement and growth when it tells us, "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." Similarly, Galatians 6:2 commands Christians to look around at their fellow believers and "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." These verses aren't suggestions but imperatives that underscore our responsibility to support, uplift, and love one another.  

The length of this article doesn't allow us to expand upon God's command for His church locally in each congregation to have Elders and Deacons. These officers have important roles of service and leadership in the church. The Bible clarifies that every Christian is to be an active part of a local church, growing through God's means of grace, Word, Prayer, Sacrament, and the labors of the Elders and Deacons. A few verses to get you started in reading about this truth are 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9, Acts 20:28, and Hebrews 13:17. 

Along with the work of your Elders, the Holy Spirit grants you spiritual growth and maturity through relationships with fellow believers. Through Brotherhood Groups of two to four men, we can foster an environment where honesty, accountability, and spiritual growth flourish. 

The Practical Benefits of Brotherhood Groups

  1. Deepening Relationships: Brotherhood Groups provide the opportunity for men to grow friendships with trust that allows them to share their struggles, victories, and everyday challenges. In a smaller setting, trust is built, and deeper relationships can form, allowing for genuine support and encouragement. These are the men you can honestly answer the question, "How are you doing?" These brothers will be there when you need them to be. These are men who will look out for you as you look out for them. 

  2. Spiritual Accountability: Brotherhood Groups help keep us accountable in our walk with Christ. Regular check-ins and discussions about personal spiritual disciplines, such as prayer, Bible study, and resisting temptation, ensure we remain vigilant and committed to our faith. 

  3. Overcoming Isolation: Research and experience point out many men struggle with feelings of isolation and loneliness, even within the church. Brotherhood Groups combat this by creating a sense of belonging and brotherhood, reminding us that we are not alone in our faith journey and life. 

  4. Encouragement and Prayer: Brotherhood Groups are the setting for men to share their victories and challenges with men they trust. Sharing our burdens with a trusted group of brothers means we have people praying for us, encouraging us, and walking alongside us in both good times and bad. This mutual support is invaluable in navigating life's challenges. Along with the regular meetups, these are the brothers you can text or call when temptations, suffering, and challenges hit. 

What Does a Brotherhood Group Look Like

Brotherhood Groups are not Bible studies, as great as Bible studies are. There not meetups for casual fellowship, as great as it is to hang out. These are small groups for men of all ages who have graduated high school, men who are married or single men, fathers or not, really any Christian man at Christ Church. You will commit to praying daily for the other men. We will set up a messaging group for each Brotherhood Group to ease communication of prayer needs and encouragement throughout the week. The initial stage is a season of building friendships and trust. When trust has been established among the men, the mainstay of the Brotherhood Group is a regular (goal is weekly) in person or virtual meeting. The meetings are focused and to the point, so they may fit in during your lunch or before your work day begins. The goal is not to detract from your family time and evening commitments but to benefit you and your family. Each time the group meets, a different man will open and close with a brief prayer. Most of the time is spent with each man answering the following questions adapted from Dr. Yagel's book "Got Your Back." While this is the typical pattern, if providentially, the time needs to focus on one or two particular challenges or struggles, the meetup should be flexible enough to accommodate while respecting all the brother's time.   


  1. What encouragements or successes have you had this week?

  2. What biblical insight from your Bible study and church attendance has stood out to you recently?

  3. What has been the most difficult part of being the spiritual leader at home lately?

  4. (Choose what you want your brothers to ask you about and hold you personally accountable for in your life.)

  5. What non-believers are you building relationships with, and how can I pray for these relationships?

  6. How can we encourage and support you this week?

  7. What spiritual battles can we help you fight through our prayer for you?

Join a Brotherhood Group Today

Men of Christ Church Presbyterian, the time to act is now. We are not creating a program, which is another thing to force into your busy schedule. We're striving to help foster godly relationships between brothers that the Lord will use to grow you in every area of life, whether as a husband, father, employee, boss, student, church member, disciple of Jesus, or any other area of your life. By joining a Brotherhood Group, you are investing in your spiritual health and the health of our church community. These small Brotherhood Groups provide the context for the "iron sharpening iron" we all need for the Lord to continue shaping us into the men He has called us to be.

Take the first step today. Connect with a few brothers at Christ Church to create a group of two to four men. Commit to regular meetings. Reach out to your Elders and let them know about your group so they may support your efforts. If you want help connecting with a few men, ask Pastor Blevins for assistance. Once your Brotherhood Group forms get logged into your message group in the church app. Pastor Blevins will help the group launch and share more resources with the men. Pray. Then, watch as God works through these relationships to strengthen your faith and our church!


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Knoxville, Tennessee

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