History & Background

 

The genesis of the 10:10 initiative was a men’s boot camp run by the Ransomed Heart (RH) team in Wales in May 2010. RH is led by John Eldredge and is an international ministry based in Colorado. The event in Wales was so profound and touched men so deeply that a number of them determined to found an initiative in Winchester to push further into what they had encountered. We’ve been living in this now for over 7 years.

 

I’ve been asked many times what it was and is that those men, and many before them in Colorado on similar boot camps, encountered in Wales that moved them so deeply. In some ways we’ve been trying to discover that for ourselves as we’ve journeyed together in 10:10 in 21st century Winchester.

 

If I had to say what I’d learned so far it’s that we encountered the true gospel, which we’ve discovered really is good news! We also encountered the real Jesus, and we started to awaken to who we are as men. There’s so much more to say and it’s almost impossible to sum up, just as God is, but let me try to just add a bit more flavour to what John and his team brought to to us and which informs our DNA so to speak.

 

The Four Streams

 

In Waking the Dead, John credits Saint Bonaventure with identifying an “ever-flowing fountain as a ‘great and living river with four channels to water the garden of the entire Church.” These life -giving streams are: Walking with God (Discipleship), Counselling, Deep Holy-Spirit Healing and Spiritual Warfare.

 

The phrase that I remembered most from my first boot camp in Colorado in February 2007 was this “daily conversational intimacy is a normal part of the Christian life”. I didn’t just hear it, I saw it modelled by the men on stage as they told story after story of God’s involvement in the minutiae of their lives. This has become one of my biggest passions, helping people to believe that God is a speaking God, right here, right now, and then to experience the sheer joy of that as well as the learning and developmental opportunities it brings. As John says, what father would give his children a book of stories where he was speaking to his children, actively involved in their lives, then say “you can’t have that”? He wouldn’t and He doesn’t. This is the stream of Walking with God and it’s fundamental to 10:10. We have evolved a practice we call listening prayer, it’s very simple and non-threatening. It involves 2 or 3 simply listening to God speak to them about another. This of course is intended to open people up to pursue this communication outside of 10:10 and to expect God to speak to them.

 

Jesus came to free the captive and bind up the broken-hearted. From what? Aren’t we all slaves to the background scripts that run in our lives?  – the woundings we received as children, the decisions we made as to how to make the world work for us, decisions on our identity – the list goes on. The stream of counselling is a way in and we believe God wants us to partner with Him in this stream, helping men and women to start to glimpse the truth of who they are, who they are not and what is getting in the way. We push into these areas in 10:10.

 

Sometimes, however, the stream of counselling can only get us so far. When this happens we need the sovereign power of the Holy Spirit to heal us. We have had dramatic instances of this and it’s so humbling to see God at work in this way.

 

Finally, there’s the category of Spiritual Warfare. As John says, it’s not always warfare, but at least you need a category for this as you navigate life. The Epic story of history may be looked at as a play in 4 acts:

 

ACT 1 Eternal relationship (the Trinity)

ACT 2 The entrance of evil (the rebellion by Satan and his angels)

ACT 3 The battle for the heart (humanity’s entrance, the fall and the battle for restoration)

ACT 4 The Kingdom restored

 

We are in Act 3 where the battle rages and it’s a battle for our hearts. We push into this in 10:10, recognizing that we are opposed and we are needed!

 

Other hallmarks of 10:10

Learning from Ransomed Heart, we have established certain principles that we try to keep sacred. Some of these are listed here –

·      Authenticity – we try to create a safe space and model vulnerability and honest conversation

·      Eliminating the Poser – linked to the above

·      No space for the Religious Spirit – the Religious Spirit killed Christ and it is not tolerated in 10:10

·      Not coming under any specific church or denomination – trying to remain open to all – some ask whose authority are you under? We believe it’s Christ’s

·      Small groups – we love to encourage men and women to band together in small (3-5) groups where we fight for each other, share each other’s struggles, victories and life stories – not to do so risks being taken out in the battle

·      We have been keen to explore the concepts of True and False Self – the false self being described as “the container for the separate self” and the True Self as “ our unique place in God and God’s place in us” – this is such a rich area.

 

 

Our monthly meetings

 

As men we meet monthly in Winchester in business premises, consciously. The monthly meeting is open to all and we often get new people join through word of mouth. Meetings are typically attended by 12-15 men, from a database of over 40. Hearing from God in the early days, we haven’t sought to grow through promotion, trusting the Holy Spirit to bring men along, but we sense we may be on the cusp of a new season.

 

The meetings are very safe spaces and there is absolutely no pressure to speak at all, there is no “right” way of being, no religiosity and actually usually no worship either. We adopt a listening prayer model in which men listen for each other in a very non-threatening way.

 

The typical monthly meeting runs something like the following (times are broadly indicative):

 

19.30  Drinks and socializing

20.00  Check-ins from those that wish to

20.25  Talk    

21.15  Group response

21.30  Prayer triplets – listening prayer model

22.00  End

 

In addition to the usual monthly meeting format we try to have a Christmas Social, a summer BBQ and a walk guided by Brian Draper in around April.

 

Annual Retreat

 

Once a year we retreat from 5pm on a Friday evening until Sunday lunch at a retreat centre not too far away. It doesn’t sound long but we’ve had some of most profound moments at these events, they really have been beautiful.

 

Here Come The Women!

 

And owing to the success of the men’s retreats we started a women’s retreat in 2016 and have now held 2, which were both as spectacular as the men’s. This ministry seems to be on the rise. The attack against women is alarming and we intend to play our part in standing against the enemy.

 

The Future 

We don’t yet have monthly meetings for the women and we haven’t yet held a mixed event. We’d like to investigate both.

 

And we are discussing holding a larger meeting some time in 2018 where we can get the word out to a wider audience as to what 10:10 is and maybe inspire men and women to consider joining men’s or women’s groups. 

Other than that, we are open to where the Holy Spirit may be leading us.

Andrew Walsh