The Man Code

Pastor Ed Young - Lead Pastor of Fellowship Church
Ed Young

May 10, 2024

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The Man Code

Read

Acts 2:42 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’teaching and the fellowship.”

Think

God calls us into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, but this relationship isn't meant to be private. We all need the support, encouragement, and accountability that comes from being part of a community. This rings true for everyone, not just those battling addiction. As Alex Lerza, a respected Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, puts it, “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but relationship.” It’s through our connections with others that we find the strength to grow and the courage to confront our challenges.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer sheds light on a common barrier to deep Christian fellowship in his book, Life Together: "The final obstacle to true Christian fellowship is the inability to be sinners together." Often, we shy away from close relationships because we fear judgment or aren't willing to expose our flaws. But it's through embracing our imperfections together that we can truly strengthen our communal bonds and enable the church to make a meaningful impact on the world.

Dr. Dennis Swanberg takes this idea further with his "Man Code," inspired by Jesus’s life. Swanberg identified five key relationship circles: personal time with God (1), a tight-knit circle for deep accountability (3), a small group for regular connection (12), involvement in a local church (120), and engagement with the larger community (5,000). These circles reflect the different levels of community Jesus maintained and show us the value of each in our own lives.

Jesus’s way of life offers a balanced model for community involvement, from quiet moments alone to engaging large groups. By emulating this, we can create a supportive network that spans from our inner circle to the wider community. This isn’t just about growing spiritually on a personal level—it’s about building relationships that empower us to support others effectively, truly embodying the transformative power of community in every area of our lives.

Apply

Identify your own Man (or Woman) Code. Take a close look at your connectedness. Do you spend quality time alone with God each day? Do you have a group of about three others – same sex as you – to whom you are accountable? Are you a part of a small group? How involved are you in your local church? Are you intentionally connected to your community outside of the church?

Pray

Dear Lord, I commit to the Code. I will be intentional to all five relationships: 1, 3, 12, 120, and 5,000. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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