As a part of our Soulutions series, Third Option Men is interviewing Christian leaders across the country, asking them five critical questions the Church in America must answer if it is to become the influential force that reverses the moral and spiritual decay overwhelming our nation.
Dave Reddel is one of the founders of the Band of Brothers Network. Band of Brothers Network originated at King of Kings Church in Omaha, Nebraska more than nine years ago. It is now a regional network ministry to men in the Midwest region of the country and beyond. They are “a community that is committed to challenge and raise up men to be warriors and disciplers for Christ, for their families, as single men, in the workplace, and in their community. Men need other men to stand strong and lead courageously, reject passivity, and be physically, mentally, and spiritually trained to engage this world with the power of Jesus Christ. God wants DANGEROUS men. Those are Biblical values. Those are the values of Band of Brothers.”
”Men have become passive. Just as Adam was passive in the Garden of Eden, men today have also become passive.” Dave believes this is the complete opposite of what Jesus has called men to be. “Men must become ‘taste-changers’ in the culture. We must live missional lives that change the appetite of other people.” This is how he defines being “salt”. As for being “light”: “We must reorient the vision of other people, and bring men and their families alongside us to be the floodlight in the darkness that reveals the true path.” And Dave is convinced that this means more than learning about what Jesus says; it’s about doing it. “James taught that if all we do is listen to the Word without doing what it says, we’re only fooling ourselves. (James 1:22)”
Band of Brothers intentionally works to help men move beyond being “hearers,” to becoming “doers.” “Two years ago we began a project in North Omaha. Most people don’t realize this, but the African-American community in North Omaha is the most poverty stricken African-American community in America. We came alongside a ministry that purchased a house there, demoed and rebuilt it, then moved a Christian familiy into it for the specific purpose of being ‘salt’ and ‘light’ in the neighborhood.” Band of Brothers Network also hosts Peak Challenge, where adult men bring young men who may not have a positive male influence in their life for a week in Colorado each year. During this week, more than 200 men from across the country gather together for intense discipleship and activities that include hiking a number of 14,000 foot high mountains. “This week really serves as a transformational moment in mens lives – both young and old.”
When asked what the Church in America is doing right, Dave said, “Many churches have begun to recognize the dire need to move beyond ‘consumer-centric programs’ – the ‘What’s in it for me?’ approach – and to begin to answer the crucial questions of what it means to be a disciple; to be great at the Great Commission and the Great Commandment; to revisit the importance of teaching and training the Word; mentoring and challenging and empowering other people to move beyond the ‘Sunday Morning experience’ into ‘Faith lives’. Many Christians and churches have begun to sense a ‘holy discontent’ – that there must be something bigger for the Church. And they’re striving after that.”
But Dave also sees a real challenge with the Church. “The Church has become great at being an entity. The Church has become a place to go. But we’re not just supposed to be the ‘gathered Church’, but to also be a ‘scattered Church’ as well. We call it the ‘622’ – the 6 days and 22 hours outside of the Sunday morning experience – that we’re supposed to live the life of Jesus. Churches need to understand that too. They need to engage, empower, and then release people to go and be incarnational without micromanaging what they’re doing. They can’t try to contain people inside of programs. They need to encourage people to get out of the seats and into the streets.”
When I asked Dave why church leaders have often found it difficult to release their members to go do the work in the community, he said: “There’s a couple of reasons. One for sure is that their background and training in seminary didn’t prepare them for that. It prepared them for an institutional-style collection of Believers on a Sunday morning, and then to take care of that ‘gathered’ church. The other is that pastors may be worried that they’ll lose control of the message. But when these leaders see passionate people who aren’t on staff, but are just passionate people for Jesus who are doing whatever they can for Him, they begin to understand that God is moving outside the walls of the Church. That encourages them to release and empower others to do that as well.”
“I believe we’re on the edge of an awakening in the North American Church. I see the Church in ten years really becoming a Church that is more focused on the time outside of the Sunday services, and empowering people as missionaries here in America. I see them out in our neighborhoods making a difference. The Church will morph into a more ‘Acts 2:42’ model, where we are sharing our lives together not only in the Temple, but in our homes as well.”
Band of Brothers Network has network allies leading gatherings and experiences in the following locales: Omaha, Nebraska metro area; Kansas City, Kansas metro area; Des Moines, Iowa metro area; Houston, Texas metro area; as well as Norfolk, Nebraska, Sioux City, Iowa, Bloomington, Illinois, Phoenix, Arizona and Anchorage, Alaska.
Men from all across the country are joining in on God’s mission. “The mission He has for us is to love God – love people- and bring more to know, love and follow Jesus Christ, that His Kingdom will be advanced.”
To learn more about Band of Brothers, please go to www.bandofbrothersusa.net