Where Men are Learning to Fight for What Matters
When Georgia’s son was young, she and her husband did the best they could to set his life on the right path. Even still, he made his own choices as he grew up and not all of them were for the best: “When he was just getting ready to go into Jr. High, we pulled him from the public school and put him in a Christian school. He had some of the best Bible teachers, and he just chose not to follow what was being taught. He chose the world instead of God’s way.”
Of course, this troubled Georgia, but thankfully her now 38-year-old son has begun to turn things around, thanks in large part to a new group called Fight Club. “Through this Fight Club, he has been able to kick his alcohol addiction. He has been able to turn his life around and follow the Lord and make God the priority in his life instead of the afterthought. He is making his family the priority instead of doing things that aren’t family oriented. It has been an amazing change. He is an entirely different person.”
Jeff Tinsley understands just how powerful Fight Club can be. “For me, I think Fight Club is a return to the discipline that God expects from us anyway, but so many men fail on that daily – that having accountability and the brotherhood of men who are all walking through and trying to live the life expected of us, helps us get to the next step, whatever that is.”
So what exactly is Fight Club? It’s a new offering for men at Grace Community Church in Goshen. It is a 12-week course where men come together in small groups to learn and grow together, keeping one another accountable along the way.
“Fight Club was born out of a desire to see men come alive,” explained Jim Brown, pastor of Grace and creator of Fight Club. “It has been brewing in our hearts for the last 10 years. I have personally had a desire to reach out to men. I knew that men needed a forum and discipleship method. After prayer and doing what we’ve been doing for a while, we finally developed the Fight Club discipleship journey.”
To kick-off the first Fight Club earlier this year, Jim made a simple announcement that a new offering for men was going to be available. Those interested were to meet at the church at midnight. That first night, nearly 400 men showed up. “It has been electric what has happened,” Jim said.
The idea came about when Jim noticed something was missing in the lives of men. “I think for far too long men have sat on the sidelines in the local church. These are high capacity men who have sat on the sidelines. They haven’t had a calling and passion to get them excited. They walk in on Sunday mornings and nothing is calling them to come alive.”
The goal of Fight Club is to light that passion by helping men strengthen their relationships, get in physical shape and get right with God. Each week, men have assignments to complete, such as showing their wives they love them, helping a neighbor in need, memorizing scripture or running eight miles in a week. “It’s basic discipleship stuff we should be doing,” Jim said. “If we aren’t being nudged by another brother or sister, we will default to mediocrity. There is something about achieving something and the reward that comes at the end of this.”
In the end, 145 men completed the full challenge and graduated from the course. Now, 185 are enrolled in chapter two, including Jeff once again:“There really wasn’t any decision. It was kind of a given. It was a great walk and a great journey to take. I couldn’t come up with a single reason to not do it again, at least none that weren’t excuses.”
The core message and purpose behind the club deeply resonated with those who took part and touched not only the men, but also their wives, children, friends and more. As Jim said, “All in all, it’s lighting a fire in men’s hearts. I could tell you the hundreds of stories from wives of how their men have radically changed. Women and men have been in tears. They realize that for so long they have been sitting on the sidelines.”
The impact Fight Club has made has been noticed not just locally. “I have been contacted all across America by church leaders who want something for men,” Jim said. In response, he and his team are developing Fight Club to make it available through the Web beginning in July.
Jeff is a true believer in the program and hopes others will discover it for themselves. “I would recommend it to any air-breathing man who wants to take a better walk. There isn’t anyone who wouldn’t benefit from more discipline in their life.”
After the transformation she witnessed in her own son, Georgia whole-heartedly agreed: “It really made a big difference in my son’s life. He allowed the Lord to use it and turn his life around. It has just been totally amazing.”