The Band of Brothers: Influencers–Long Beach

Crowd from the front BestTeach Us to Pray serves an important leadership role in Band of Brothers, Influencers in Long Beach CA.  Ken and two other TUtP board members serve on the overall leadership team and comprise the prayer ministry team for this outreach to men.  Ken speaks periodically on prayer at BofB weekly gatherings, leads the opening hour of prayer, and prays with those who want prayer after each meeting is over.  He also helps develop and implement BofB prayer strategies around Long Beach.

The Influencers

The Influencers is an exciting new ministry to men that officially began in January of 2005. In 2001, our founder, Rocky Fleming, gathered a group of men, offering them this invitation: “I’m going on a journey to intimacy with Jesus Christ. Why don’t you come along?” The journey that these men went on together was one that saw them develop a nine-month process allowing each man to genuinely connect with God at the heart, through journaling and considering the timeless biblical truths about God, His character, and nature. The process helped these men not only make significant, life-changing breakthroughs in their understanding of whom God really is, but it also helped them become “self-feeders” in their relationship with Christ.

These men’s lives were changed and impacted so much that they encouraged Rocky to start a ministry that would offer this opportunity to thousands of other men hungry for more of God.

Since that time, this group has grown into involving hundreds of men who desire a deeper walk with Christ in:

    • Northwest Arkansas
    • Tulsa, Oklahoma
    • Orange County, San Diego, and Sacramento, California
    • Munich, Germany
    • Cairo, Egypt

The Journey to the Inner Chamber, the book by Rocky Fleming relating his personal vision experience for ministering to men, has been translated into Arabic, is currently being translated into Spanish, and is being considered for translation into French, Swahili, and several other languages. Each of these ministry locations have their own personality and model, but the one thing we all have in common is our use of and commitment to going through the process that we know as “The Journey.”

The ministry began by ministering to men in the marketplace and has now spread to men’s ministries in various churches who are interested in helping their men grow in their intimacy and closeness to Christ.

The Mission of The Influencers:

To invite all of God’s men into a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Vision of The Influencers:

To invite all men to go on the Influencers’ Journey.

We’re going on a journey to intimacy with Jesus Christ. Why don’t you come along?

Scope of Influencers West Ministry:

      • Weekly Band of Brothers morning meetings in Irvine, CA (Fridays), Fullerton, CA (Wednesdays), and Long Beach, CA (Thursdays)
      • Yearly men’s and couples retreats
      • Workshops
        • Journaling Workshop
        • Spiritual Leadership Workshop
      • Marriage classes
      • Speaking at men’s events, including retreats, breakfasts, evening dinners, BBQs, couples retreats and events
      • Mentoring, coaching and counseling
      • Consulting churches to help inspire, motivate and encourage them in their desire to intentionally and strategically minister to their men

The Journey

The Journey is our nine-month small group process designed to help men grow in their desire to become more intimate with Jesus Christ

        Meeting with interested church leaders

      • Overview sessions with their men clearly explaining the process
      • Training facilitators and guides who will lead the groups
      • Coaching, mentoring and encouraging the guides and men as they participate in the process
      • Guiding and encouraging church leaders in seeing second generation leaders and groups develop with other men in the church

Influencer’s West has three Southern California men’s meetings we call our Band of Brothers—one in Irvine, one in Fullerton, and one in Long Beach. We believe every Christian man has a desire to be in a group of men that share their values, goals and vision for what a man who has given his heart to Christ can and should be. Guys want and need relationships with other men, and we believe that a man cannot fully become the man God created him to be in a vacuum.The Scriptures teach us that there are no Lone Rangers in the body of Christ. We were created for fellowship and relationship, and we are the most healthy and balanced when we are around healthy, balanced men who are closely following Jesus Christ.

We gather each week to be inspired, encouraged, taught, and to worship. We also gather to be with the guys. Our Friday group in Irvine, which has been meeting since 1991, has an average attendance of about 240-250 men from over 100 different churches. Our Wednesday group in Fullerton, which has been meeting since 2005, has 65-75 men each week from over 25 different churches.

David Murrow in his insightful book, Why Men Hate Going To Church, calls these kinds of groups “Men’s Church.” This means we strategically, intentionally and unapologetically fashion our worship and messages to directly minister to men and their needs in our culture and world today. Our theme for last year and this year is: “The men of Issachar understood the times and knew what Israel should do, for such a time as this.” (I Chronicles 12:32, Esther 4:14)

Our focus is on helping men understand what it means to be a Man of God in this generation, for such a time as this.

We believe these things about men:

      • We see men not as they are, but as they will be when Jesus Christ is truly Lord of their life.
      • We see men who have the mind of Christ, who know their purpose in life, and who make all of their decisions with the gospel of Jesus Christ in full view.
      • We see spiritually hungry men who are eager to grow to become the Men of God they know God created them to be.
      • We see men who understand what it means to be a Man of God, and who are secure in that identity, knowing their adequacy comes from Him.
      • We see men who are not insecure or fearful to embrace their role as spiritual leaders with their wives, children and in their church.
      • We see men banding together to finish strong by helping each other reach the “well done good and faithful servant” finish line.
      • We see men who understand what it means to be free in the grace of Christ who are helping other men become free as well.
      • We see men who are focused, prepared, on their guard, and standing firm in the faith.
      • We see men who spend much time in the presence of Jesus Christ, and out of their intimate relationship with Him, exercise their God-given gifts and passions in the service of their local church.
      • We see men influencing their world for Christ because they have spent time with Him and have become like Him.

Jesus started the first ministry to men. He stepped into a world that was in as much chaos as ours is today. Everyone had a cause or a plan to make things right. The politicians tried to get him to join their party. He declined, making the obvious unspoken statement that while politics has its place, for what he came to do, politics was not the answer. The Zealots sought to get him to join their band and run the Romans out of Israel. That wasn’t his purpose for coming. They tried to persuade him to be their king. He told them that his kingdom was not of this world. He didn’t come to be their earthly king.

What was his plan? A band of brothers! He called a ragtag group of twelve men to follow him with the offer to make them fishers of men. He recruited them not based on their gifts or appearance; not based on their financial or social status; not even based on their religious training or position. He recruited them not based on their abilities, but on their availability to leave everything and follow him. They came from varied and different walks of life, and they came because they had gotten a taste of his love, grace, power and authority and they wanted more.

We invite and include men whether they are affiliated with a church or not, regardless of their ethnicity, age or any other factor. We are committed to meeting as men in the Spirit of Christ to build up and encourage each other as men born in this generation for such a time as this.

 

The National Day of Prayer

The National Day of Prayer

NDoP People Gathering 1The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. Our Task Force is a privately funded organization whose purpose is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families. The Task Force represents a Judeo Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible.

Since 2013,TUtP has provided the leadership to plan and produce the National Day of Prayer gathering for Long Beach. In 2013, the Long Beach event was the third largest gathering in the nation with over 1,000 participants. In 2014, though our gathering was somewhat smaller than the prior year, we were still among the top 10 in size in the nation. Ken directed the onsite prayer and prayer booth during both of these events. One of TUtP’s other board members was the master of ceremonies for both events.
Because of the faith of many of our founding fathers, public prayer and national days of prayer have a long-standing and significant history in American tradition. The Supreme Court affirmed the right of state legislatures to open their sessions with prayer in Marsh vs. Chambers (1983).
The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863. In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual national day of prayer. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations.

Significance of the National Day of Prayer

The National Day of Prayer has great significance for us as a nation as it enables us to recall and to teach the way in which our founding fathers sought the wisdom of God when faced with critical decisions. It stands as a call for us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people. The unanimous passage of the bill establishing the National Day of Prayer as an annual event, signifies that prayer is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning.
Like Thanksgiving or Christmas, this day has become a national observance placed on all Hallmark calendars and observed annually across the nation and in Washington, D.C. Every year, local, state, and federal observances were held from sunrise in Maine to sunset in Hawaii, uniting Americans from all socio-economic, political and ethnic backgrounds in prayer for our nation. It is estimated that over two million people attended more than 30,000 observances – organized by approximately 40,000 volunteers. At state capitols, county court houses, on the steps of city halls, and in schools, businesses, churches and homes, people stopped their activities and gathered for prayer.
The National Day of Prayer is Ours

The National Day of Prayer belongs to all Americans. It is a day that transcends differences, bringing together citizens from all backgrounds. Mrs. Shirley Dobson, NDP chairman, reminds us: “We have lost many of our freedoms in America because we have been asleep. I feel if we do not become involved and support the annual National Day of Prayer, we could end up forfeiting this freedom, too.”

 

Last Feb/Mar 2015 Fiji Report

Friday, Saturday and Sunday went by very quickly at the end of my Fiji ministry planning trip. On Friday I went with Ratu Osea to look at a possible site for our August Youth Leadership Camp. Unfortunately the site does not have adequate facilities for cooking. In addition the person who helped coordinate our camp last year is not going to be available this year because of family responsibilities.

As a result, we will move the camp to Vanua Levu Island and Aisake Emmanuel, GIFT general secretary, will do the preliminary coordination and planning with local churches. This will actually work out better because Aisake and his wife are taking over responsibility for TUtP involvement with Community Bible Study International activities in Fiji. The Pacific coordinator for CBSI and his wife will be training students at our August camp, so having the camp in the Savusavu area where Aisake lives seems logical. In addition our August outreach will be on Vanua Levu. Keeping everything on one island makes logistics much more manageable.

Saturday Ratu Osea and I worked out the details of the new memorandum of understanding for our beekeeping projects in the Lomawai area. The beekeeper who will supervise the project came down from Lomawai to Nadi to meet with us. He was able to examine all of the beehives and give us a full report on their condition and on what we need to do to move the project forward. The hives are in remarkably good condition. The beekeeper will immediately extract honey from them and then split the hives that are ready for splitting. Only 18 bee boxes need to be replaced due to deterioration. We already have 6 new boxes on hand that were built for the project. We have sufficient timber to build the remaining 12 boxes. Eight need to be requeened. Our beekeeper is trained to do that and will begin that process after he extracts honey.

Sunday morning I went to church, had lunch, checked out of the hotel and went to the airport for my return flight to LAX. The Nadi airport is undergoing extensive remodeling. Is there any airport in the world where that is not happening? As a result, most of the lounge area was not air conditioned. I found the coolest spot I could and sat and read until my flight was called.

There was much more turbulence during this 9 ½ hour flight than I’ve ever experienced. Even the flight attendants commented on how unusually bumpy things were. A massive hurricane was due to hit the main Fiji islands on Monday or Tuesday. I’ve not heard what happened yet, but that may have accounted for some of what we experienced during our flight out of the area.

I believe I accomplished all my goals during this trip. It was interesting to see how the Lord orchestrated the many contacts I needed to make. Face-to-face meetings are essential to the Fijian culture and to our ministry. It was great to renew relationships with ministry partners I’ve worked with over these past 12 years.

Jetlag is. I didn’t sleep well the first night home, for whatever reason. Last night was much better. Appreciate your prayers as I settle back into responsibilities here at home.

Thanks and Blessings!

Fiji Report March 4, 2015

Today, Thursday, I took a cab back to Lomawai Secondary School to meet with the parties who entered into the original memorandum of understanding with TUtP regarding our beekeeping project. Ratu Osea joined us from Suva. When I conducted the youth leadership camp at Lomawai last August, one of the teachers indicated to me that the school wished to withdraw from our agreement for various reasons. Turns out that person was not authorized to speak for the school. There is a new agriculture teacher who has extensive training and experience in beekeeping and she definitely wants to move the project forward.

As a result of our conversation today, TUtP will draft a new memorandum of understanding to include the PTA, which has a number of beekeepers, as part of our agreement. These beekeepers will supervise the project for the school. There are still details to work out over the next two days, but we have a basic understanding of how we will move forward.

Tomorrow, the vice-president of the PTA, a trained beekeeper, will get into all the hives at the school and do an assessment of their condition to determine which boxes need to be replaced and/or re-queened. Once t this assessment is completed he will come to Nadi town to meet with me, We will determine how to refurbish the boxes and start the process of growing the number of hives to a base of 50 double hives. We also need to get the table saw motor and two sewing machines repaired for bee box building and bee suit sewing. There is some money from the sale of honey to help with this.

This was a good meeting that could have been quite difficult. I believe we have cleared up a number of important issues and can make this work for the benefit of the community we are trying to serve. Ultimately we hope to establish an entire bee industry in this area that will employ graduates of the program, many of whom are part of the Christian community that surrounds the school.

I still need to meet with my camp team to determine where we will hold our camp next August after our outreach. If that does not happen tomorrow or Saturday, I will have to implement alternate plans with other trusted ministry partners.

Thanks so much for your prayers.

Blessings!

8th Fiji Report March 3, 2015

On Sunday I was able to meet with the last two individuals I needed to connect with while in Suva. Peter Schulz directs the prison ministry TUtP has had contact with over the years. Things are going very well. The ministry is expanding as the government has asked them to put together a program that will assist former inmates after release. Halfway houses have not worked in Fiji, for whatever reason. Peter is trying to establish a non-residential, staffed resource center that can provide released prisoners with ongoing support in a variety of areas.

I was instrumental in connecting Peter with the Freedom-in-Christ ministry some years back when I brought three key FIC leaders over and they provided a week of training that impacted the prison ministry in a positive way. It may be time to bring FIC leaders back into this new phase of activity. That will be Peter’s call and I will provide such help as I can to make it happen if that is his decision.

I had dinner with the Dean of the Anglican Cathedral in Suva. He wants to strengthen and encourage an evangelical, Biblical presence within his diocese and among his clergy. Prayer is a key component in making that happen. We will maintain contact to determine how TUtP can contribute when I’m here next. There are some real obstacles.

On Monday, Elizabeth Clayton, Ratu Osea and I drove to Cuvu village to present to the villagers the proposal that Sujit Kumar (see my previous report) might move into the village. That meeting went very well. Elizabeth was most impressed with the village and with the possible accommodations for Sujit. She will bring Sujit to the village sometime later this month to see how he likes it and how the villagers respond to him. Then plans may go forward to renovate one of the village houses for his use during the remainder of his life. This was an immensely rewarding meeting. There is already one special needs young adult this village is caring for. It was fantastic to see how he is being loved.

I was supposed to meet with our beekeeping partners in Lomawai on Monday. That meeting was postponed to tomorrow to enable more people to attend. We have some very delicate issues to deal with. One of those involved in our original agreement has died and another has moved to a different location. This has changed the dynamic regarding what we are trying to accomplish. We are assessing the deployment of assets to enable this project thrive. Is this still the best place for that to happen? If not, how and when do we shift assets? We have very strong new locations available as a result of contacts duringmy first week of meetings.

I caught a bus from Sigatoka, a town near Cuvu village, and arrived in Nadi in the early evening and settled into my hotel. I have made contact with Seniloli, a friend who is a very gifted artisan. She trains Fijian women to revive and continue much of their traditional cultural art forms. In fact she travels the world to help indigenous artists revive their art to make a living. Students at Azusa Pacific University want to make contact with specific women they can help to secure a stable income from their products. This will be the second time I’ll be taking items back to APU for these students to sell. Hopefully we can expand this over coming years to make a real impact in the lives of these struggling women.

I’m having difficulty making contact with my partners in the camp ministry. Hopefully this will be resolved over the next two days. If not, there are alternatives I will have to put into place before I leave on Sunday.

Yesterday and today I am fasting and praying, doing a kind of mini-Lenten retreat. I have a very lovely place to seek the face of God.

So appreciate your prayers.

Thanks and Blessings!