Everyday I view life through the eyes that have been focused on why and how churches must disciple men. Here’s what I’ve seen in the past week…
A front page article in the Richmond Times Dispatch by Mark Holmberg entitled My Dad Died, This Week: Here’s Why He’s My Hero.
It sounds like Mr. Holmberg was an amazing man. While I’m certain I don’t agree with everything he stood for, he did stand for something and he pursued life vigorously. But here’s what caught my attention in the article. Near the end, son Mark says the following:
Friends, I’ve had a lifetime to reflect on what drove Bill Holmberg.
Aunt Ruby answered part of it when she tearfully told me Friday that “he wanted to be better than his dad.”
I couldn’t help but think how many men are driving hard to make money, compete at higher levels or go farther just to prove a point to their old man. Too many adult men are looking for affirmation and identity. The church has the answer for those men; it’s new identity in Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Next is this from John Stonestreet, who writes Breakpoint Commentaries…
The Measure of a Man: What’s Missing from The Masculinity Debate
John commented on two articles about how males today are weaker physically than generations past but also lack the moral fortitude of their forefathers. Too many young men today are sadly lacking in both of these areas. Here’s a quote…
“Most men today aren’t just physically weaker than previous generations. They’re weaker as people: guys stricken with “Peter Pan syndrome” never leaving adolescence; “safe spaces” on college campuses protecting perpetually fragile constant-victims from serious debate: the hookup culture and porn addiction replacing chivalry; and the sexual revolution promulgating through media, education, and now law that there’s no such thing as male and female. What we’re seeing isn’t a different expression of masculinity adapting to new cultural realities. What we’re seeing is no masculinity at all.”
Again, the church has the answer. True manhood was modeled in the leadership, service and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. There is no better model of manhood. (Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 12:1-2)
Following close behind this article is one from Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, titled Rescuing Men from Fake Love and Fake War. Here Dr. Moore affirms the fact that too many of our young men have given up on real life relationships and worthwhile conflict to engage as lovers and soldiers in virtual reality. They’re never rejected and never wounded. Really.
“The porn addict becomes a lecherous loser, with one-flesh union supplanted by masturbatory isolation. The video game addict becomes a pugilistic coward, with other-protecting courage supplanted by aggression with no chance of losing one’s life. In both cases, one seeks the sensation of being a real lover or a real fighter, but venting one’s reproductive or adrenal glands over pixilated images, not flesh and blood for which one is responsible.”
So, while the images are fake, the long term damage to men, marriages, churches and the community are real. Some fear we’ll lose an entire generation of potential men because they’re consumed by the pursuit of fantasy. (Ecclesiastes 2:1, 12:13)
Finally, I’ll share one point, ironically the last one, offered by Jay Dennis in his recent article 20 Church Growth Principles for Maximum Impact. There were 19 other principles and finally this one…
- Go after the men. More churches already have an established women’s ministry, but men must step up to the plate of spiritual leadership. Intentionally develop programs to gain men’s attention. Engage fathers in the student ministry. Equip them to parent their teenage sons and daughters. Constantly look for ways to involve men in ministry.
I’m hoping that Dr. Dennis put this one last because of it’s extreme significance rather than just one more to round out the 20. I admit clear bias, but I’m convinced that if we don’t invest heartily in men, we’ll never have strong healthy leaders, marriages, children, teenagers, families, churches, communities, etc. (Mark 3: 14-15; Acts 4:13)
Wow! So there you go. This is the stuff that catches my eye, stirs my soul and invigorates me for the ministry of helping churches reach and build men. My guess is that almost no one who reads this post in its entirety will disagree with the message. So here’s my question. What’s stopping you from stepping up to lead your church to make a difference by investing in men? Maybe it’s time for you to get in touch with our team and learn how to invest strategically in men. Let’s follow Jesus’ example and minister counter culturally to everyone but invest strategically in men!
Joining us for Leading Noble Men in January could be a great start!