Give me 60 seconds…
Simon Sinek in his Ted Talk (viewed over 34 million times), says your why makes all the difference in the success of your company, movement or other pursuits.
I have spent a lot of time this summer thinking about the why of NCS. Why does it matter? Why should we put so much time and energy into it. Why has it lasted and why has it grown like crazy when there are so many options for men? Church men’s groups, accountability groups, prayer groups, business networking groups, CEO groups, addiction and recovery groups, and all the way to poker groups and groups focused on hobbies from fly fishing, cycling, golf and Harley Davidson riding (that might be covered under addictions). If you are like me, you have some experience with these options and have drifted in and out of many of them. And then there is the New Canaan Society.
One the unique aspects of NCS is the word “Society” in our name. This in itself defines us as community, a part of something bigger. Society has been used throughout history for many groups. Societies were movements to accomplish great tasks. Societies are communities with a common core vision and belief. Societies have distinctive rituals, language and customs. Society is a distinct group of people living together with a distinct culture. Society is fellowship, friendship, companionship and camaraderie.
It has been an amazing fall – NCS has a lot of energy and momentum. I have been around to the NY/NJ Metro regional retreat, the Bay Area regional retreat in California and the New England regional retreat. There is such an evident pride in the network of NCS. I have been out to see our brothers in Portland, Seattle, Dallas, Albany, Denver, Winston-Salem, East Winston, Grosse Pointe, Manhattan, and Princeton. We have a great network of committed guys. It was a great reminder to me that we have something special in NCS.
Tim Keller has spoken to NCS on multiple occasions about the beginning of friendship and how it starts with “You Too?” A commonality as simple as where we grew up, what college we attended, or sharing hard parts of life that have deeply affected us. “You too?” starts a bond that connects us and offers a way out of isolation.
Tim’s message is available in the NCS101 section of our website.
Why does NCS matter? Because we don’t have enough brotherhood and true friendship in our lives. We are alone, isolated, disconnected – all opposites of Society. NCS exists as a movement of change, camaraderie, and fellowship. It exists because we all need it, can’t get enough of it and can’t find it elsewhere. We do it because other offerings for men leave us wanting. They are fun but don’t touch the core of us and what we wrestle with every day.
But why do it? Because it is rare. We gather under the banner of New Canaan Society because we believe our why is necessary in our lives. We hunger for the need to find a “You too?” We do it because we believe being together is more important that DOING something together. We do it because it has proven to be a critical part of our lives, one thing that really does change our lives.
Why has it lasted and grown? Because grace is a commodity that is endlessly needed. All the time and everyday. Each one of us is broken and there is power in being broken together. You and I have enough voices telling us what is wrong or what we deserve…or how stupid we have been. We are the Society of grace – a society of equals, a society of those being redeemed. We don’t emphasize programs, content, or speakers. We prize grace, fellowship, and the change that occurs when we are together.
You are likely not familiar with the Monastic discipline of the vow of silence, but it highlights something profound. This vow often lasts for a couple days and when you gather with others under the same vow, perhaps for a meal, you will sit across from each other, making eye contact and you can’t say a word. No questions to break the ice or questions that might reveal commonality. Eye to eye in silence. This moment forces you to dismiss the usual ways we connect to each other. Instead you are forced to make a simple decision to accept another at truly “face value.” Your relationship begins with a simple and unspoken belief, “You too?? You value the same thing as me, this discipline and vow. And I have decided to like you, accept you without a word. We can just be together.”
NCS has had a long time motto, Live Grace, Speak Truth, Right Wrong, Follow the King…. It is a lofty goal. But worth it. Why? Because we need each other to do any of that. It has been a reminder for me of how bad we need each other – I know I do. Let us gather together in a rare society – the brotherhood and community. In the grace of fellowship and in the name of this crazy guy named Jesus, who changed everything.
I am all in – and all for one…You too?