Why NCS Exists: A little bit of history…
Around 1995, a twenty year Goldman Sachs veteran, Jim Lane, realized there was something profoundly lacking in his life.
“I was a mess. With every success I had really ever dreamed of, in a lot of other ways my life was a wreck…my marriage, my kids, my faith. I was isolated and alone, and when I looked around I saw a lot of guys like me.”
“Frankly, I was being spiritually selfish when I started this…I needed this and a lot of others did too.”
Jim saw more clearly than most the need to belong to something bigger than himself.
He recalled how men like William Wilberforce and the Clapham Group in early 19th Century England had forged deep and lasting friendships built on a true Christian faith and transformed the whole of English society of their day. He recognized too that he needed — and wanted — a better family reality, a deeper relationship with his wife of many years and his three daughters. He wanted to spend real time in seeking to follow Jesus and experience a more personal and genuine friendship with Him.
Jim saw that there was a lack in his life — and the lives of other marketplace men as well —for true, deep friendship. He realized that other guys in his position already understood the stress, the struggles and isolation of the marketplace. He craved to be with brothers like that who could be relied on to be there in times of personal need and family struggle, guys he could open up to and honestly share his life.
Jim knew that the conventional “fellowship” gatherings of churches, typical spiritual retreats or the worn-out fraternal orders held no appeal. He also recognized that men in the marketplace did not make deep and lasting relationships often or easily — especially with other guys. For those at the top, the feeling of being alone, of “no one really understands my circumstances” was particularly strong.
The men that he knew worked hard, played hard and they had little time for growing relationally. Most, deep down, carried concerns, fears and secrets they felt they could share with no one. Jim saw that if men were going to succeed at being better husbands, better fathers, and better members of their community, they needed God’s help… and they needed the help of other men just like themselves who struggled and could share their victories, their failures and their life learning.
Jim concluded one thing: if a men’s group of the kind he had in mind had any hope of succeeding, it had to be a place where men could be men; where being open, honest, transparent and vulnerable could happen in a place of safety and real trust.
Jim invited a small group of men into his New Canaan home and into his life. That small group of guys included BJ Weber, Eric Metaxas, Bill Jolly and others… many of whom, twenty years later, remain active NCS’ers.