Fifteen years ago I made a decision that I had no idea would have ramifications to this day. I made a decision to walk life with a group of 7 other guys. A “covenant group.” We meet every November the weekend before Thanksgiving. One guy missed one time as his new little baby had a very serious cancer surgery – other than that, we have been 100% in attendance. What we have today is far deeper, richer, and far more life-giving than what it was in the first few years. It seems it gets better each year – as our hair either escapes us or turns a different color seems to represent how good this gathering is.
I have attached a sample packet of one of our weekends that both our group did, and another group that helped ours in our launch – it’s from 2008, but it will give you a good sense of what we do on the weekend.
Five Powerful Ways You Can Start Your Own Covenant Group:
- Pray about who could be in your group. It might be 2, it might be 7, or somewhere in the middle. I was recently sharing with someone who was starting a group that it does not have to be your “best friends.” It would be a group of people that want to move life in the same direction you do. Think of how well you will know these people in 5 years. We have 8 in our group. We lived in different places, we had different jobs, and we knew each other from our 20’s. Where we really saw the trajectory of what we wanted in life was when we kept showing up at the same weddings.
- Set the first meeting! We didn’t know we would meet the same time every year. We just got the first one on the books and then it worked out that way. You can fill in many of the details later after you decide a few of your folks and your dates. I believe we had your dates set before we had all 8 determined.
- “70% aligned, 100% committed!” What you will do at your first gathering, where you will meet, who will be in it. You cannot possibly be 100% aligned. I picked a few guys… and we talked about others who could be in the group. We had opinions about the right number, and we had thoughts how long we should gather. We wondered how to do the finances and all types of other discussions. We were 70% aligned. We never got this perfect. BUT… we always knew we were 100% committed. And even to this day, we are in same boat!
- Prepare before the first meeting — and prepare well. If you want the most out of 2.5 days together you all have to do your “homework.” I will tell you, to come in prepared, is hard work. You can see through the packet and the questions that you have to do some good thought-work in preparation. It is so worth it! Even if you don’t hit all this in conversations it is good just for you to do a personal 360 degree look at your life and your goals.
- Have monthly check-ins with a smaller group. We come out of our weekend each year with what we call, “intentions.” We called them this so we don’t feel pressure to HAVE TO accomplish, but rather, best we can tell we intend to strive for accomplishing. There is a difference. I will say that as I have 2 of my guys that I talk on the phone with every two weeks and we keep our intentions in front of each other. “What have you accomplished in the last two weeks toward your intended goals?” It is a good thing – you cannot expect what you are not willing to inspect!
Here is a picture from this year’s gathering…. You just need to know we don’t look like we think we look playing beach volleyball. I think I saw a few snickers… but… if they only knew how we were doing and living intentional lives – we are match point, our serve!
Packet here: Packet