The Journey is a personal progression into intimacy with Jesus Christ, rather than a study about Him. We believe our primary objective is not to lead a man in a study about God, but rather to walk beside him as we use foundational, biblical revelations that lead us toward a close, abiding relationship with Christ. It is only from this abiding relationship with Jesus that true life transformation takes place. Transformation means to change in character or condition or to convert. In spiritual discipleship terms, it means to change the man supernaturally into a better, more spiritual Man of God that God intended him to be.
This kind of transformation comes through proximity to that which the man seeks to become. A man who wants to become a mature Man of God, conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, must spend time in His presence. There is no other way to become like Jesus Christ. In our view, a man must learn to become what we call a “self-feeder.” That means that he has learned to spend time alone with God in a way that connects him with God at the heart. Real, genuine, authentic, transparent relationship is developed.
This doesn’t come easy for most men. The average man has a natural aversion to spending time in God’s presence. There are several reasons for this, but let’s try for a short explanation. Most men have been taught to live their Christian lives on a performance/work based system of “sin management,” rather than the grace based life that Jesus modeled and came to give us, which is rooted in dependence, trust and the freedom that can only be found in Him. The devastating results of this works based system is that men become cynical, tired, lonely, superficial, guarded and full of compromise. They struggle constantly with guilt and shame, blame and anger.
They try to be “good Christians,” but can’t seem to live the Christian life with any consistency. Since the normal reaction to our sin is to hide from God, rather than run to Him as He has invited us to, we resist Him. We resist, rather than seek to eagerly come into His presence to find the grace, mercy, forgiveness and unconditional love that he longs to give His men.
We use the name "Influencers" because we believe that is what God calls each of His men to become. Jesus tells us that we are to bear much fruit in our lives for the glory of the Father. But He also tells us that we can only bear this fruit through a continuous, abiding relationship with Him. During The Journey, we follow a series of steps designed to help us discover this abiding relationship with Christ. It is this relationship that will begin to move us forward in becoming a man of influence.
The Journey lasts for nine months. The groups meet together as a group once every two weeks for a two hour session. The groups' Journey Guide will also meet one-on-one periodically with the men in the group to get to know each other better, and to encourage each other on our journey. However, the heart of The Journey is the fourteen days between the sessions. This is when the participants will truly experience The Journey as they follow the steps laid out for them. The time needed for this is not burdensome, but it must be consistent from day to day. The participants are also helped to learn to journal, as we believe this is a key tool as we learn to connect with God on a deeper, more intimate level.
The Journey is a safe place in that each participant and Guide covenant with each other that all conversations are confidential. During The Journey trust is developed among the group, and we believe this helps a man understand better how to trust God.
Men who are going on this Journey need the help and support of their wives, friends and families. The Journey Guides understand that their role is only that of assisting each man in his personal journey towards intimacy with God. We understand that authentic heart change is the work of the Holy Spirit, and because of that, we also believe that one of our most important roles is to continually pray for each other during The Journey.
Paul Dubell & Pete McKenzie
The Journey is a tool designed to accomplish a specific purpose. The purpose is to know God, to populate heaven, to see men come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and to prosper the gospel of Jesus Christ in our generation. It’s about accomplishing the Great Commission that Jesus gave us using the same plan and method He used when He came 2000 years ago—MEN!
He came into a fallen world that was much like ours today. It was in turmoil politically, culturally, socially, and spiritually. Men saw His power and supernatural authority and they all had their particular plan for His life. They wanted Him to be a guerilla warfare general of an army of zealots, or to take sides with corrupt politicians, to be a religious guru, or to be their King.
He, of course, would have none of that. He told them His kingdom was not of this world, and that His ways were much different from their ways. He demonstrated that by choosing and calling 12 of the most ragtag, unqualified group of ordinary men together to accomplish the extraordinary mission you could ever imagine; he entrusted them with His great mission of redeeming lost mankind back to God. He commissioned them to be His emissaries in going after His men. What a plan! What a mission! What a life!
Jesus did this by starting the first men’s ministry. He created men to be leaders, to take risks and to get things done. So, He took them on a journey to intimacy “with Him.” After all, he was unlike any leader they had ever seen, and they were attracted to this Rabbi who seemed to know where He was going and who found a value and worth in them that no one else could or would. He took lots of risks and did things in unorthodox ways, and that attracted them to Him even more. He was bold, hard to threaten, tough, gentle, strong, loving and risk taking in a way that gave them the idea that this man had nothing to lose. He was fearless, and He definitely got things done.
The Journey is an attempt to do the same thing that Jesus did when He was hands-on ministering to His men. It’s goal is to produce the same kind of men that He produced who basically, after the time they spent with Him, were equipped, ready and willing to spiritually turn an upside down world right side up.
Our world, nation, families, churches and culture desperately needs men like these today.
The Contents of the Journey
The Influencer Journey is a nine month small group process that encourages men to come along on a journey to intimacy with Jesus Christ. The curriculum is divided into three, three-month phases:
Phase one: ENLIGHTEN: A Man Can Absolutely Trust God
Phase two: ENABLED: A Man Can Totally Abandon Himself To God
Phase three: EXPRESSION: A Man Can Influence His World Around Him
Men can embody Gabe’s principles:
JOURNALING: The wonderfully effective method that God has given us to help men learn to hear God’s voice for themselves is JOURNALING. Journaling is a method of prayer that allows a man to talk with God through the scriptures, and to listen as God speaks back to him. It is a stretch for most men, but the ones who stick with it have absolutely amazing breakthroughs in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
Why is This Journey to Intimacy with Christ Needed?
Most churches have good, if not great, children, youth, women’s, and family ministries. But again, it is a rare occurrence to find a healthy, challenging men’s ministry in any of these same churches. This is curious, because we believe that the best thing we can do for women is to help their husbands grow in their relationship with Christ. It follows that the best thing a church can do for children is to minister to their fathers. Men need to be led specifically to a closer, more intimate relationship with God in Christ. We’ve found that many men want to be led and they want to be men of God, but they don’t know how to get there from here.
Consider these statistics that have been revealed in recent surveys from The Barna Research Group:
On any given Sunday in the average church, 61% of the attendants are female and 39% are male. (This means that nationwide, there will be 11 million more women in church on any given Sunday than men.)
Then consider statements like these:
“Without masculinity, there would be no civilization as we know it.”
“If any civilization is to survive and prosper, it needs men who will act like men when the need arises.”
“The sons of Issachar understood the times and knew what Israel should do, for such a time as this.”
“When the crisis comes and courage is required, God expects His men to have such confidence in Him that they will be the dependable ones.”
Many of our churches are big, but are they strong? We believe that a church cannot call itself strong, no matter what its size, without a solid group of strong men spiritually and sacrificially leading it. These men are found to be strong the same way that they always have been, by spending time with Jesus. This is beautifully described in Acts 4 after Peter had preached an incredibly powerful sermon. And it says there, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” For a church to be strong, it needs strong men who are spending much time with God, and then courageously go out to change the world for Him.
As a former missionary for 16 years and a men’s and senior pastor for 14 years, I have tried many Bible study tools to disciple men. Most started with the disciplines of the Christian life, such as scripture memory, bible study methods, evangelism, and accountable relationships with other men, hoping to get men to a more intimate relationship with Christ.
While we saw some good results using these tools, we also were left feeling that there was still much to be desired in seeing men become what we call “self-feeders.” We observed that after the studies were completed, men seemed to stop applying the disciplines. In other words, if they were memorizing scripture in the study, they stopped after the study was over. If reading a certain book, they no longer read. If studying the Bible, they didn’t keep studying after the study was over. This indicated that they were not developing a lifestyle of spending time with God, but were only actively involved while the study was going on. The disciplines would basically lie dormant in them until the next study started, and during that time their love for Christ would naturally grow cold.
The Journey comes at discipleship from the opposite approach. It takes a man right to the source of intimacy, to “the inner chamber,” as Oswald Chambers called it, into God’s presence where we place a journal in his hands and point him towards spending personal time alone with Jesus. It has been amazingly effective in helping men go to the disciplines from time spent in God’s presence rather than trying to get into God’s presence by disciplining ourselves, or by having a leader discipline us.
Jesus made this clear in John 14:15 where He said that if we loved Him, we would obey Him. Most of us performance-based men read this and start working harder at trying to be obedient. We want to prove that we love God by our obedience, but that is not what He was saying in this statement. Jesus knew that we could never be obedient consistently enough to merit His love, approval, and acceptance. We cannot be perfect by our own self-effort. He was saying that if we start by loving Him, it will naturally result in us being obedient to Him because we love Him and want to obey Him. In His presence, we learn that we are loved, approved of, and are definitely accepted. We find that we’ve been knocking ourselves out trying to earn and merit something we already have. Love begats love, and as we spend time in His presence learning to love Him, the natural fruit of that is an obedient life.
What Are the Proven Results?
The Journey is not just effective and helpful. In my humble opinion, it is also anointed! It is anointed more than any tool outside of the Holy Scriptures that I have ever used or seen. I cannot explain it in any terms other than the changed lives I constantly observe in the men who are learning to spend time with God through the Journey process. Over and over again, I see men change and hear them talk about being taken to a new level in their experience with Christ. I see them becoming more confident, adequate, secure, open, and more involved and willing to be vulnerable than anything I have ever seen. I also hear their wives commenting about the changes they are seeing in their husbands, and the prayer that is being answered in their lives.
And most certainly, in light of the dangerous days we live in, it is time for God’s men to come alive, and it is imperative that they have these kinds of breakthroughs. The day requires it and the times we live in demand it. Our families will not continue to survive without strong, godly men. The church will continue to sink into oblivion in our culture without strong, godly men leading it. While churches look for better ways to attract more and more people, God is looking for better men. We believe that any encounter with Jesus Christ makes a man a better man, and The Journey helps men encounter Jesus Christ personally, intimately and powerfully.
What Is Our Vision?
God has given us a vision for thousands of men. These men are being found in every culture, ethnic group, neighborhood, church and community. They are out there, they are hungry, and God is going after them. He has always been the Initiator in His relationship with His people, and He is still relentlessly at it. But in our day, when men have been emasculated by a culture that has neutralized and devalued them, and has chased them to the sidelines and out of the game, He is calling them to Himself and back into the action.
In our culture and communities they are coming, but by the hardest. Men have been dormant, under-challenged, distracted, stressed, and busied so long, that we are concerned that most are beyond recovery. They are so used to giving themselves to lesser things, the “seed that fell among the thorns” if you will, that the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things has choked the word and hunger for the word out of them. It is a serious question as to whether they can be rallied to this great eternal cause and mission.
However, God is giving us such great opportunities and breakthroughs, that we cannot help but to stay the course. It is a battle and a war, but He is calling His men, and because it is Jesus calling, we believe that as difficult as it may be to accomplish, they are coming—and they will come—by the thousands.
Another generation of men of whom the world is not worthy is being raised up in America and around the world today, for such a time as this.
You can order Journey books and manuals here.