CEREMONY: An Overview

The Noblemen Ceremony is intended as the culmination of all that Noblemen has taught. It functions as the most significant rite of passage and should be treated with gravity. The goal is to give the men a memorable experience to cement what God has been teaching through the 12 weeks together.

Ceremony starts at sundown and ends at sunrise. If you can find private property that’s got quite a bit of room, at least 5-10 acres, that’s ideal. The men start off the time with 2-3 hours alone with God, preparing for the rest of the ceremony. This is called Time with the Father. Then, in the same small groups they were in during the course, they spend about an hour at each of the remaining 6 stations.

Station 1: Great Commandment

Station 2: Great Commission

Station 3: Commitment to Sexual Purity

Station 4: Commitment to Interdependent Relationships with Other Men

Station 5: Affirmation Stage

Station 6: Destruction of Boyhood Symbol.

There is usually a campfire at home base that the men come back to between each station to warm up around for a couple minutes. From that, the 6 stations go off a couple hundred yards in each direction. The men all have to take a turn carrying one man from their group to and from each station. As a leader, you typically will need to take 3 or more hours setting up the ceremony spot before the men get there. We usually have them drive down together, eat dinner on the way at a restaurant and meet you there. You could also finish the preparations while they do their Time with the Father stage.

The women in our ministry have developed a tradition of surprising the Noblemen by staying up all night, too. They make a huge breakfast feast for the guys and spend time praying for them by name and writing them letters of affirmation. Sometime during the night, they drop off the breakfast at the entrance to the ceremony location. This is usually something like breakfast burritos, monkey bread, juice and coffee.

As the sun rises, the men head to your final ceremony spot. Ideally this is at the top of a summit if your property has one. On years where we have more than 15-20 men, we hire a bagpiper. You can usually find someone within an hour or two on Gigsalad.com or Craigslist. They typically will charge you between $150-$300. This is worth the cost! You can’t imagine the feel that live bagpipes add when you have been up all night long during the ceremony, the sun is coming up, and you hear bagpipes at the top of the mountain! It really is incredible.

The men summit the mountain, or hill or wherever you have chosen for the final ceremony spot. In future years, invite your Noblemen alumni to come back to the top of the mountain to await them.

There you’ll read the Ceremonial Charge. Have the men kneel down, present them with a Ceremony t-shirt and, if you have a sword, tap each guy on the shoulder with it and say, “Welcome to the brotherhood of Noblemen!” Then they head to the fire at the top of the summit for the breakfast feast. (Don’t say things like “I knight you.” Medieval is cheesy for today’s generation.)

 IMPORTANT: Make sure you have alternative drivers lined up as it will be dangerous for them to drive after 24 hours without sleep. This is a liability.

Ceremony Packet: Print one per participant.

Ceremony Schedule:

(This is an example. Feel free to personalize.)

Length – sundown to sunup, 8pm to 6 am

Note: whatever time the weather channel says for sunrise is always about a half hour late. It’s fully light by that time. The closing ceremony is much better in the dark so that the sun rises as you’re finishing.

 

6pm/7pm: Eat dinner/drive out to location

7:45pm: Ceremony Welcome and instructions

8pm: Time with the Father

11pm: Great Commandment (Stage 1)

12am: Transition

12:10am: Great Commission (Stage 2)

1:10am: Transition

1:20am: Sexual Purity (Stage 3)

2:20am: Transition

2:30am: Interdependence (Stage 4)

3:30am: Transition

3:40am: Affirmation (Stage 5)

4:40am: Transition

4:50am: Destruction of Boyhood Symbol

5:50am: Transition

6:00am: Head to Closing Ceremony*

6:15am: Begin Closing Ceremony with the sunrise

7:00am: Breakfast as a crew

8:00am: Clean and depart

*Have Closing ceremony bagpiper show up at 5:30 and be in position by 6:00

Ceremony Items:

  • Student needs:
    • Bible, Pen, Journal
    • Creed Study, Noblemen Binder
    • Boyhood Symbol
    • Bottle of Water
    • Flashlight with Fresh Batteries
    • Socks to Carry Blocks
    • Money for Dinner on the Road
    • Warm Clothes – extremely important
    • Backpack
  • Stage Needs:
    • Overall Needs
      • 16 Tiki Torches (get large kind that hold more fluid) 2 go at each stage and 4 for final part of ceremony
      • Tiki Torch fluid
    • Small Funnel for filling tikis
    • 25 Glow sticks (optional to use to light paths to stations)
    • Flash Paper (buy from local magic store)
    • Firewood (Machete & Bow saw optional)
    • Hot dogs/buns, Chips, Drinks including water, Condiments, Cookies (For Lesser setting up ceremony)
    • Pop tarts – For Affirmation stage (one 2 pack per guy)
    • Mountain Dew – For Affirmation stage
    • Cooler for breakfast if needed.
    • A box for Pop tarts and Mtn. Dew
    • Letters from parents (go through again and make sure every letter is accounted for)
    • Heater
    • Propane for heater and torch
    • Camp stove and propane for affirmation stage to heat water for cocoa and coffee
    • Trash bags
    • Twine (about 2000 yards) for running lines to each station so the guys know where to go
    • Rope (If your final ceremony destination is really steep and you need it to help climb)
    • Blowtorch (this is a small attachment you can buy at Home Depot that goes on the small green propane cans. Consider buying the kind that lights itself rather than having to have a lighter there.)
    • Handheld sledge
    • Axe
    • Stock pot for coffee
    • Coffee cups
    • Work gloves
    • Cards and box or Ziploc for Sexuality Stage
    • A gallon Ziploc Bag (for the letters)
    • Stage names (print 2 of each. Place one at the station and hole punch the other to be hung on the string going from base fire. Print on cardstock as other rips)
    • Print Noblemen charge
    • Bucket to put out fire
    • Shovel and Pick axe
    • 6 hammers (for tapping nail on block at each stage)
    • Wood blocks for each guy
    • Extra nails
    • Hole punch
    • Flashlights for setting up and maintaining ceremony
    • Sword (optional to be used at final part of ceremony)
    • Baggies for each guy to put his flash paper in (Don’t tell them this is flash paper)
    • Couple extra pieces of notebook paper and sharpies. (consider writing directions at a few of the stages if necessary, like “take one 2 pack of pop-tarts each”
    • Sleeping bag for each Lesser (try to get at least a few hours of sleep since you’ll be driving the guys back)
      • Home Base: Wood, matches, Lighter Fluid, Some sort of fire pit
      • Time with the Father
        • Each guy should have a flashlight with fresh batteries, and their Noblemen Binder
      • Great Commandment
        • Hammer for each student to drive in as a stake
      • Great Commission
        • World Map
        • Scripture with instructions for participants
        • Hammer for each student to drive in as a stake
      • Sexual Purity
        • Porn Industry worker Testimonials: anonymous stories
        • Old Computer Keyboards
        • Hammer for each student to drive in as a stake
      • Interdependent
        • Paper strips (ideally purchase flash paper from magic store and put each one in baggies for each guy (they take these and write down ways they are falling short as a man)

Hammer for each student to drive in as a stake

  • Affirmation
    • Fire or propane burner to heat up water if cold out for Hot choc or coffee
    • Coffee/Hot Choc if cold. Mountain Dews for each guy.
    • Letters from Dad’s
    • Snacks
    • A plastic bag for each letter from Parents (to protect from the elements)
    • Hammer
  • Destruction of Boyhood Symbol
    • Axe, some sort of Propane Torch, Sledge Hammer
    • Boyhood symbols
    • Distance: This stage needs to be the furthest away
    • Hammer for each student to drive in nail
    • Water in case a boyhood symbol fire gets out of hand
  • Closing Ceremony
    • Bagpiper, Sword for initiation, Noblemen t-shirts
    • Charge to be read
    • Breakfast!

Make sure you that nobody who stays up all night is driving anyone home. Either set up drivers to come get you, or make sure the drivers get some sleep during the night. No Noblemen who has gone through the ceremony all night is allowed to drive home!

Sexuality Stage Cards

Order of stages:

Try not to have the affirmation stage be the first or second for any group. Give one person in each group a piece of paper that indicates the order that their group will go through each stage. Because you don’t want anyone to go through the Affirmation Stage first, there should be no more than 5 small groups as you will have one group at each of the remaining stages at any given time. If you have more than 5 small groups, You will need to have some stages have multiple sites. Make those sites the ones that require the least materials (i.e. additional Great Commandment and/or Great Commission)

 

 

 

 

Explaining Ceremony:

  • Give blocks. Explain they must keep in sock when not using during ceremony. When you pound your nail be careful. These nails actually will bend. You can do it the rest of the way at daylight to make sure you don’t go too far in or bend it. Have a few replacement blocks in case any crack.
  • Give each man their FlashPaper in baggies. Explain they need to keep it in their baggie after they write on it at the Interdependent stage.
  • Begin the time with 2-4 hours alone with God. This is a time to reflect on your life as a man and the commitments you’re going to make in the areas of the Great Commandment, Great Commission, Interdependent relationships with other men, and Sexual Purity.
  • After the Time with the Father period in solitude, come back to this location at specified time (only use phone for a clock). Reconvene and go through the remaining stages as small groups for the rest of the evening. You have 1 hour at each stage and 10 minutes of travel time to go back to the base fire and warm up for a few minutes.
  • Demonstrate how to use the blowtorch at the destruction of boyhood stage

 

As Ceremony Closes:

  • Just before the spot where they will kneel down, have 2 tiki torches. Tell the guys to take out their flash paper and touch it to the tiki
  • Have each man kneel down
  • Read Noblemen Charge
  • If you have a sword, tap on each man’s left and right shoulder
  • Give each man their Ceremony shirt and tell them to wear it with pride and be reminded of the commitments they’ve made. As you give it to them, say, “Welcome to the Brotherhood of Noblemen”
  • Pray over them (consider inviting a local pastor or respected leader connected to your ministry to do this)
  • Don’t post pics from ceremony that show bagpiper or talk about letters
  • Consider giving each year to help subsidize future NM classes. $10 if still a student, $100 if graduated.
  • For those interested in being a Lesser, let me know by next week.
  • Consider announcing Sexual wholeness studies like Walking In The Light
  • There are more devotionals to keep doing after ceremony. Consider keeping up with a wingman for the rest of the semester and the summer.
  • Recruit and lead your own NM Challenge group or course this summer
  • Give a verse to each man that you’ve selected for them (optional)
  • Head to your morning feast

Ceremony Stage Explanation:

(The Ceremony Packet)

 

Welcome gentlemen. This is the last step in our efforts over the last several weeks to pursue authentic manhood. While it signifies the conclusion of this phase, it is just the beginning of a life of decisions to live as a Noble Man. Each component of the ceremony will represent either a current reality of manhood that we have discussed, or the challenges and honors to come in your future as a man.

 

Each stage will last one hour and ten minutes including travel time to each station.  At each stage, appoint one man to lead the time at the station by reading the directions out loud. After each stage, go promptly to the next.

 

You will be divided into small groups for most of the ceremony. This is because you cannot make it through the ceremony on your own.  Likewise, you cannot flourish in your journey as a man without a band of brothers committed to your success and to whom you entrust yourself.  There are times you will be weak and need carried. You will have the choice to suffer alone and not seek support from other men, or, in humility and weakness, to entrust yourself to other men to help you succeed. Conversely, you will also have the opportunity to live a self-absorbed life as a “taker” not concerned with the well-being of other men, or you can take the time to serve and commit yourself to other men’s success.  To reflect this reality, between each stage, each team will carry one of its members between the fire and the station. Every person will need to take a turn being carried. As you are being carried, ponder the idea of needing to entrust yourself to other men for life. After you are carried, take a moment before you switch men and ask the other men to each pound the spike in your block.

 

 

Time with the Father stage:

Every rite of passage from cultures around the world involves a significant amount of time spent alone. You will have several hours of extended time to connect with God – to pray, read the Word, to think about the commitments you will make tonight and to ponder a continual pursuit of a noble life after tonight.

 

First, read through this whole Time With The Father section and decide how you want to break up your time alone with Him. Spend some time slowly meditating on and praying through the Creed.

 

The Noblemen Creed

 

As a Nobleman I belong wholly to Jesus Christ, who gives my noble identity. I commit to depending on Him, enjoying Him, and submitting to His greater purposes in every area of my life. I will strive to abide daily in the Lord and His Word. I will seek out and entrust myself to godly men through every season of life.

 

I will reflect my new noble identity through a holy life. I may fall in this journey but I will not stay down. I commit to not lying and to coming clean immediately if I realize I’ve done so. I commit to resisting the lure of passivity and to living courageously— doing what is right despite my fear or lack of desire.

 

I will provide vision, direction and leadership for my family, putting their needs above my own and staying emotionally engaged and physically available to them. I will love my wife as Christ loves the Church. I will pursue her heart and receive her strengths and weaknesses until parted by death. I will raise my children in imitation of my heavenly Father as I love, protect and disciple them.

 

I will faithfully serve the Body of Christ. As a spiritual patriarch, I will assume responsibility for the souls God puts in my path, praying for them and making known to them the Gospel of Life. I will seek out older mentors and younger men to mentor, helping them raise up more generations of spiritual patriarchs. I will lead by serving and will seek the honor of God and those around me rather than my own. I am a Nobleman, and in Christ alone I stand. I am a Nobleman, and by His grace I will help advance God’s Kingdom into all the world.

 

 

Creed Bible Study

Though you already went through the Creed study, you now you have some more extended time to revisit the verses and pray through these. Start with the areas that you think you need to grow the most in and spend more time on those. As has been said, though tonight marks the end of the Noblemen course for you, it is only the beginning of a life that will be lived for noble purposes.

 

Think through each part of the Creed.  How will you live these out and continue in them the next several decades?  On the blank page below, write out some thoughts on how you personally plan to fortify the areas of the creed that you expect will be a challenge for you to live out.

 

At the end of your time, pound your spikes into your block as a commitment to living out the creed the rest of your life.

 

Creed areas to be fortified and plan for doing so:

 

 

The Sexuality Stage:

One of your strongest urges, your sex drive, has the potential to bless you with a lifetime of pleasure and pass your line on to future generations. But it also has the potential to destroy your walk with Jesus and devastate your family.

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Gal 6:7-9)

You know very well the battle being waged for the purity of your soul. You will fall in this battle but remember Proverbs: “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.”(Proverbs 24:16) Recognize that you can’t afford to let up in this battle. “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”(2 Corinthians 7:1)This stage is divided into three parts. Spend time moving through each part as a team:

 

Part 1:

Have each member of your team pick a card from the box and read them out loud to the group. Each card is a real life story from a former worker in the adult industry.

 

Part 2:

These keyboards are symbolic of the ongoing decision you’ll face to remain sexually pure or to defile yourself. Have each member of your team interact with the keyboard for a few minutes, following the instructions on them. As you do, consider not just this time but the times in the future when you’ll be by yourself and will decide whether to sow to the flesh or to the Spirit.

 

Part 3:

Spend time in your small group imploring Christ for the grace to say no to sin and yes to holiness. Remember the creed: “I will raise my children in imitation of my heavenly father as I love, protect, and disciple them.”We all contribute to the sex industry unless we assume the responsibility to act against it. Pound your stake as a commitment to live a noble life sexually and to fight for sexual purity for those who cannot fight for themselves.

 

 

The Interdependent Stage:

(Each of you pound the nail of the man who was just carried to this station)

 

One of the keys to you flourishing through the manhood maze of life is the willingness to entrust yourself to other men. In this envelope you will find a small piece of paper. Make sure it doesn’t get wet. Take about 10 minutes and individually write down the ways that you find yourself falling short as a man, don’t feel like a man and the things you ashamedly struggle with. What are fears that you have about not being enough?  What are areas of shame that you have privately been carrying by yourself in the dark. Write all of these down on your small paper. Commit to the Lord to seek out and entrust yourself to a few friends through every season of life. Pound your nail as you commit to this.

 

Then reconvene and spend the remaining time sharing these with one another. Start your time together by someone reading James 5:16. Please bear in mind that a key to your freedom is the willingness to entrust yourself, both strengths and weaknesses to other men. Pound each other’s spikes before you leave.  If there is time, pray for one another. You need to place your small piece of paper back into its baggie and put it in your pocket for later.

 

 

Great Commission Stage:

You have an opportunity to spend the rest of your life giving yourself on behalf of those who don’t know Christ or ignoring them. The norm for Christians around you will be to generally ignore them, occasionally pray for them and maybe do an outreach event or two when convenient.  Yet Jesus says that He has committed to you the message of reconciliation, as though He is making His appeal to them through you.  As you already know, this will be costly.  It will cost you time, challenge your pride, and most of all will cost you your commitment to comfort.  Spend some time as a group reading through the following verses and then praying together, committing yourselves to being available for God to use you to help others come to know Christ.

 

Daniel 12:2

2 Thessalonians 1:8,9

Luke 16:19-31

2 Corinthians 5:10-21

John 12:24-28

Philemon 6

Isaiah 43:8-12

 

 

Pound your nails as a commitment to spending yourself on behalf of those who are perishing.

 

Great Commandment Stage:

As we discussed during sessions, this is where the bulk of your battle is fought.  There is no substitute for regular intimate time with Jesus.  Spend some time reading through the following verses and then spend time asking God to make you a man who loves and seeks Him with all of your heart. Go through the following verses together as a group and discuss them.

 

Psalm 27:4,8

Acts 13:22

John 5:39,40

Jeremiah 3:10

Jeremiah 4:1-4

Philippians 3:7-14

 

 

Pound your nail as a commitment to pursue Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and to daily bask in His Word and His love for you. Pray that the Lord will give you big souls and passionate hearts to know Him all the days of your lives.

 

 

Affirmation Stage

“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.” Proverbs 25:25

 

As you know, we all need others who will cheer us on in our pursuit of being authentic men. You can now open the letters that were given to you (Letters from parents.) Enjoy this time hearing what others have to say about you. If you’d like, share all or parts of your letters with each other. Then, share with each other the strengths that you see in one another.

 

Destruction of Boyhood symbol stage

Jonah 2:8 –“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” 

 

You have each chosen a boyhood symbol that represents something that needs to be left behind in your pursuit of a life of nobility. Take 10 minutes by yourselves to mentally lay this on the altar before the Lord and to sacrifice it to Him.  Then, one at a time, destroy your boyhood symbol.

 

Pound your nail as a commitment to leave whatever this symbol represents behind you.

 

 

 

Ceremony Charge

You are being granted a right of arms. This signifies that you are a man and are the head of this new branch of your family line.

May you love God and others well;

May you enjoy, trust and obey Christ our King by absolute surrender to Him;

May you live in purity and holiness, yet cling to and receive the grace of the cross when you fail;

May you understand the suffering and true costs of being a disciple of Christ – yet choose to passionately pursue Him anyway;

May you find other brothers in Christ for whom you will stand by and fight for their true identities, calling them to live noble lives;

May you resist the lure of passivity at every turn;

May you lead courageously by laying down your life;

May you assume responsibility even when it cost you dearly;

May you live not for this world, but for God’s greater reward and May you believe in and embrace His good plan for your life and live out the noble and glorious purposes for which you were created.