Does Men’s Fraternity Belong In a PCA Church?
Interview with TE Pete Deison, Park Cities PCA
Article originally part of “Get in the Game”
a periodic email communication from CEP
(Note: Men’s Fraternity Is a 3 year men’s discipleship curricula, designed by Robert Lewis, pastor-at-large of Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, Arkansas and author of Raising a Modern Day Knight. The first year curricula is entitled The Quest for Authentic Manhood. The material, which includes a weekly video clip, can be taught by the local church pastor in a large group setting, can be taught in a small group setting by watching the DVD, or can be listened to on CD by individuals. Pete Deison has been on the staff of Park Cities PCA in Dallas for over 10 years as the Minister of Discipleship.
GITG: Tell us about your experience with Men’s Fraternity.
Pete: It has been great. Just last week we ended the fourth year and we’ve had over 200 of our men involved. We started with The Quest for Authentic Manhood, and then repeated that a second year, which is what they suggested. Then we went on to Authentic Manhood: Winning at Work and Home, and concluded with The Great Adventure series. This is excellent material, which addresses topics men are interested in from a Biblical perspective.
GITG: How was the material presented?
Pete: We met at 6:30-7:20 AM Tuesdays in a large group setting but then broke into small groups for a 30 minute discussion. Tim Tinsley, our Evangelism pastor, and I have shared in teaching the material, with Tim covering the majority.
GITG: On a continuum of spiritual maturity, where is this material targeted?
Pete: We had men of all age groups and spiritual maturity participate. But it is especially helpful as a pre-evangelism tool. The material starts out man-centered as a pre-evangelism door to attract men, but then takes them to the gospel.
GITG: What were the weaknesses of this ministry?
Pete: “The program doesn’t provide material for training the small group leaders in follow-up.It is designed for the leader to facilitate only. In my opinion some follow up material would be helpful. It was left up to the discretion of the leader.”
GITG: What about the strengths?
Pete: We have seen many men come to faith in Christ, many men’s lives changed, and many marriages saved. In fact, when we put Robert Lewis’ lecture up on our website, we found that many of the wives were going there to find out what we were talking about. Also, Lewis’ discussion of the “Father wound” gave our men a vocabulary to start to talk more about some of the wounds to their hearts that are obstacles to whole- hearted surrender to Christ.
GITG: This material is broadly Evangelical, but not particularly Reformed. How did you deal with this issue
Pete: First, anytime you use anyone else’s material you need to present it through your own Biblical lens, which in our case is Reformed. Second, we actually met with Robert Lewis to gain his permission to teach the material from a Reformed point of view. He was very happy to do that. Third, we made adjustments at a few points along the way-but had no problem with the core of the curricula. Fourth, we realized that though initially the material seems man-centered, because it is targeted to lost men, the material is quite God centered.
Believe me, we had our skeptics when we started-but just last week, one of our elders came to me and said, “Pete, I’ll admit that I was skeptical about Men’s Fraternity coming into it. But coming out of it 4 years later I’m looking forward to continuing because I’ve seen so many lives change.”
(If you have further questions, Pete can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)