Mark Warren was at an event 18 years ago when he was approached by someone asking about his network of friends and how he creates accountability in his life.
That question spurred Warren to get together regularly with a small group of friends for breakfast, where they talk about what’s going on in their lives—the good, bad and ugly.
He calls these gatherings the “Power of 4,” a concept he encourages other men to embrace. Warren, along with friend Steven D. Bagley and writer Michael Ashley, wrote a self-help book about this idea called Power of 4: How Christian Men Create Purposeful Lives By Not Going it Alone.
“The Power of 4 concept is—generally speaking—as men age, they start to lose relationships and friendships. They also lose the opportunity to be vulnerable with others,” said Warren, who lives in San Juan Capistrano and has worked in the financial services industry for more than 30 years. “Because of that, it puts them in the position where they can get stuck and they can’t change, or they don’t have the opportunity for change or growth as they’re aging.”
Warren and his friends modeled their dynamic after Jesus’ group. Though Jesus had 12 disciples, he also had an inner circle of three other men with him, Warren said.
“What we call it when we’re together is coming ugly. We have this opportunity to just discuss what’s going on in life,” he said. “Because of that, it’s helped us become better husbands, better fathers and better stewards of the community.”
Warren and Bagley began writing the book during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, because they thought about other men who weren’t able to meet then.
“What about other men that made connections that just kind of withered away with COVID?” Warren said. “We just worked on it during the two years of the COVID epidemic and published it (in November of last year).”
Warren and Bagley drew on their own experiences for the guide, because they’ve dealt with divorce, addiction and “other trials of men.”
“Our prayer would be for men to get into groups with other men so they can share what’s going on in their lives in a healthy way on a consistent basis to create deeper relationships and bonds,” Warren said. “Also, because it’s a Power of 4, it gives you a chance to have other men to look at you from different perspectives—how to solve problems and identify challenges and blind spots in your life.”
Warren feels such connections are missing for a lot of modern men.
As for his own background, Warren came to California from Baltimore in 1979 for college and started his career in the financial sector afterward. In his spare time, he is one of the lacrosse coaches at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School and even helped start the program 22 years ago.
“That’s a real joy for me there, because I get to speak with high school kids about leadership and character development,” Warren said. “I love that part of my life. Twenty-two years, we’ve impacted a lot of really nice young men and women at St. Margaret’s.”
Like many other South Orange County residents, Warren also enjoys surfing.
“My family and I have been really blessed, and we just want to help other people,” Warren said.
Power of 4 is available for purchase on Amazon.
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