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Huddle with Friends with Jeff Kemp | Podcast Episode 013

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About This Episode - 

Men need friends in their life. One of the easiest way to get sacked is to not have a huddle of friends to share life with. Jeff Kemp talks about why friendship is essential and the impact in has in a man's life. In part two of our three part series with Jeff Kemp, Executive Director Warren Mainard talks to Jeff about what level 5 friendship means and what deep friendships truly look like.

Jeff is the author of Facing the Blitz: Three Strategies for Turning Trials Into Triumphs and Receive: The Way of Jesus for Men (releasing November 1st). He is the leader of Jeff Kemp Team and helps churches and organizations build a team ready to fulfill their God-given potential.

To find out more about IMPACT Players, visit www.impactplayers.org.

Listen: Apple | Spotify | Google


Show Notes -

Transcript -

Warren Mainard: You mentioned another real problem for men in the world today, and that is the problem of isolation. I've heard it said that, that every man has to answer three questions. And you kind of touched on this already, but every man has to answer the three questions of "Who am I?" That's the identity question. "Why am I here?" That's the purpose question. And "Where do I belong?" And that's the community question. So take me through a little bit of what it looks like for you when you think about overcoming this just prevailing issue of isolation with men and your secret of gathering men into huddles to experience level five leadership.

Jeff Kemp: Level five friendship.

Warren Mainard: Oh, sorry, excuse me. Level five friendship. Yes.

Jeff Kemp: Level five leadership came from Jim Collins in the book "Good to Great," who said that level five leaders are the most humble and they're the most doggedly focused on the main thing in that business. And their businesses transform and go from good to great. Okay. What if you were thinking about your career, your confidence, your security, kicking that alcohol problem, getting rid of porn and taking advantage of girls, turning around your marriage, bringing a smile to your wife's face, making her want to make love to you because you treat her so well, you know. Build a legacy of security and love in your son or your daughter. Where they actually want to hang out with you after college. The way to get there... the way to get there is in a team of friends who can process their life and know objectively, "What kind of guy am I?" How's this gonna work? Am I changing? Gosh, if you have five great people around you, you're the product of those five people you spend the most time with. If you got one or two really good friends, but you never talk to 'em and you hang around five other guys, and it's mainly about what you drink and the games you watch, and maybe the gambling you do and the stories you tell. I mean about your accomplishments. You'll not be turning into a better and better version of you, right? But men today don't talk about the important stuff 'cause they're not sure they can trust a guy. They feel compared. If they drop their guard and admit what's really going on in their life, they think that they'll lose respect. There was a 2021 perspective survey on the Survey Center on American Life. 76% of men in America don't have a close trusted friend that they can talk about on any topic at all. So what that means is men have friends at level one and level two. Which is like, I know their name. Level two - maybe we make deals together, you know, transactional friendship. Level three - good friend, we hang out, see each other. You know, work, school, sports, whatever, but I don't know your story. You don't know mine. I don't know your secrets. You don't know mine. We haven't built a trust level or as a 2:00 AM friend. A 2:00 AM friend who you'll call when you're in a crisis. Talk to 'em about something important. Problem is guys are mobile. Busy.

Warren Mainard: Yeah.

Jeff Kemp: And they come up with excuses. Oh, I'm married, I have kids, a job. I don't enough time, you know, to go out with the guys anymore. Well, you don't need to have time to go out drinking with the guys, but you need time to talk on the phone for an hour at least once a week to your best friends. So look at this. Here's a chart showing those shallow levels of friendship.

Warren Mainard: Yeah.

Jeff Kemp: One, two: normal friendship that doesn't go to the deep stuff. Level four that can talk about deep stuff and be there at 2:00 AM in a crisis. You trust him. But look at how deep level five is. Read those words off okay, Warren?

Warren Mainard: Yeah. Trusted, loyal, confidential, intentional, committed, consistent, self disclose, no secrets, confess, pray, transforming. Those are the kind of characteristics of a level five friendship that we all are seeking and looking for in our lives. And like you said, guys don't find it. And I tell guys all the time that when you get outta college, friendships with other men don't just happen. You've gotta get out there and really be intentional about it. And the four words that changed my life when I was 28 years old and I had been outta college and out of seminary for a few years. I was in the middle of my career. I was a young dad, a new husband, and I was going through a really hard season. And I realized, Jeff, I don't have any friends. I don't have any friends. I've got, you know, people that I work with. I've got people that I lead. I have, you know, the congregation that I'm serving, but I don't have any friends. And the four words that changed my life are, "Pick up the phone." And it was just this realization that friendships aren't just gonna drop outta the sky. I've gotta make them happy. I've gotta go after them. I've gotta pursue them. Carve out time for them. So...

Jeff Kemp: Your breakfast, what date is your breakfast? October 12th?

Warren Mainard: October 12th at SAMBICA in Bellevue. That's a place where we're gonna dig into this deeper, but yeah.

Jeff Kemp: We are gonna dig into it. I want to give a couple practicals to guys right now. First of all, you're saying, "Hey, I've been burned before. How do I know who I can trust? I don't have time for this. I can't find a guy that'll go deep and honest with me like I'd like to. Someone might really look down on me if he hears my whole story and knows how jacked up I am." I wanna reassure you, every guy's jacked up.

Warren Mainard: Yeah.

Jeff Kemp: CS Lewis said, "True friendship is born at the moment when one guy says to another, 'Wow, I thought I was the only one with that problem.'"

Warren Mainard: Yeah. That's so true.

Jeff Kemp: Now other guys need this friendship too. The key is we men typically don't define what's confidential and what's loyal and that I got your back. If we do define that, kind of put the terms around the relationship, then you could shake hands and say, "I'll go there. I'll be honest with you." 'Cause men will go deep. They do so at the campfire many times, but that's once every six years, right?

Warren Mainard: Yeah.

Jeff Kemp: They did it in the Army. They might have done that in their football team. They want that camaraderie and openness again. But you need to have the terms defined. So that's what level five friendship does. It defines the terms. And then you say, "Well, where am I gonna find these guys?" First of all, ask God to guide you to the right dudes. A, who need you and B, who you need. Affinity helps. Shoot, I did this with a friend I haven't even met for two years in San Francisco. We were talking on a business call and I explained level five. He said, "I love that. I help a lot of men." I said, "Well, why don't I not explain it? Why don't we just do it?" And so we started huddling for 30, 40 minutes every week for the last two years. I just met him this last month.

Warren Mainard: Wow.

Jeff Kemp: And he's Korean. He's five six, he's great at bocce ball. I'm white. I'm not good at bocce ball. I threw football with his friends. They had a blast. But we have a ton in common now that we've been sharing our lives. He knows everything about me and I know everything about him. I just made that friend in the last two years with a phone call. So once you kind of think, all right, who would like to go deep and who'd I like to go deep with, and then you define the relationship. And I have a playbook for level five friendship that any guy could get free at menhuddle.com. Menhuddle.com, just click and you'll download the PDF. It'll walk you through the steps. It's really short, but you define this friendship and that we're loyal, we're confidential. No one's the leader. This isn't a Bible study, this isn't a curriculum thing. We ask three questions every single week. What's the most important thing you need to talk about? Either something coming up, something like last week that went on. Number two, what's the most important thing I can support you in and pray for you? And then I pray for my guys right then. And I don't get long. I just say, "God, answer his prayer. Do it your way."

Warren Mainard: Yeah.

Jeff Kemp: "Give him strength to improve his marriage. Amen." And then the third thing is, what's Father God showing you in his word? Men fail to look to the word of God, but the word of God comes alive when you read it as a son. So this just reminds us that, you know, we're not the source of wisdom, God is. So go back to that source. So those three questions, sometimes we don't even get to the third one.

Warren Mainard: Yeah.

Jeff Kemp: They open up and create amazing conversations. And we know each other, we know each other's secrets. I told a friend one time on a Monday after a weekend speaking trip that I confessed something to God and I felt forgiven, but I knew that I might have the problem again so I wanted to tell him about it. So before even having a chip at the taco restaurant, I said hey, I heard a couple having sex in the hotel room next to me and I listened. Instead of putting on my headphones, I didn't turn on the tv. I zeroed in on this auditory porn. I wasn't at fault for hearing it, but I was for focusing on it.

Warren Mainard: Right.

Jeff Kemp: I even listened last night to see if they're doing it again. That wasn't helping my marriage, that wasn't helping my character. That wasn't bringing me closer to God.

Warren Mainard: Yeah.

Jeff Kemp: It's like a shortcut, but as soon as I said it to my friend at lunch, and I didn't say it loud so the whole restaurant could hear.

Warren Mainard: Yeah.

Jeff Kemp: He leaned across the table ,and I'd been worried what he'd think of me, and he said, dude, that's what I love about you. You're always honest about your life. And then he said, there's been something I struggled with for the last three weeks. I haven't told anyone and then he told me. All of a sudden, Warren, we walked out of that lunch so much stronger because I confessed my struggle and my mess up and my sin horizontally to him even though I'd already confessed it vertically to God, and I knew I was forgiven, but there was a good chance I'd probably fall into a pattern like that again if I didn't have a buddy.

Warren Maianrd: Right.

Jeff Kemp: All right. Same thing with bothering things I'm gonna do or things I'm gonna try with my wife. I run 'em by my huddle ahead of time and the guys say something like, do you have credibility on that? Do you think it's gonna turn out very well? And I might say, uh no. It protects me from stepping in the dog crap.

Warren Mainard: Yeah. And I mean, and that's the power of that level five friendship is that on the one hand, it gives you the power of accountability because when you know that you're gonna be accountable to a group of guys, that's going to guard you from going down path that may have been a source of temptation for you in the past. But the other source of power is the power to have victory over shame. And when we talk about isolation, one of the reasons why men pull back in relationships is exactly what you're saying in that they don't want anyone to know about the thing in their life that they feel shame over. And when you can speak it and you can confess it and get it out of the darkness and into the light, that shame does not have any more power over you anymore.

Jeff Kemp: Disarm the shame.

Warren Mainard: Yeah. It disarms and...

Jeff Kemp: Disarm the shame by putting it out there, not with the world, not on Twitter, but with your two level five friends.

Warren Mainard: Right.

Jeff Kemp: And I call this not accountability group, not small group. You can join accountability groups and you can unjoin 'em. You can join a small group and you can unjoin 'em. You don't unjoin friendship.

Warren Mainard: Right.

Jeff Kemp: This is friendship. This is what Jesus did.

Warren Mainard: Yeah.

Jeff Kemp: He turned a bunch of dudes, 12 of them, into friends. Sent 'em out as friends. They changed the world. Friendship changes the whole equation. So I urge men, go to menhuddle.com, grab that playbook, share it with a buddy or two. And again, huddling is a verb every week huddling to process your life. It's not a group you join. You can do these friendly things to guys and they didn't even know that you're huddling with 'em. You know, call a guy up and say, let's check in. What's the most important thing going on? Here's what it is for me.

Warren Mainard: Yeah.

Jeff Kemp: That, that'll deepen your friendship.

Warren Mainard: We're gonna have, printed copies bound of the Huddle Playbook at our breakfast on October 12th. That's gonna be a gift to us, to any man that signs up to be a part of an IMPACT Player's coaching cohort this fall, because we are that serious about seeing men get into environments where they can build relationships that can be transformed from level one to level five friendships as that trust is built and the intentionality is established.

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