Why do I do it?
I wonder if Jesus would look at the spiritual condition of men in our churches today and say, “Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones…” Matthew 23:27
Men’s ministry is hard… But it’s worth doing. Read this quote from David Murrow’s book, Why Men Hate Going to Church.
Dream for a moment. What would church be like if the majority of the worshippers were men? Not just males taking up pew space, but strong, earthy men who were truly alive in Christ. Men who were there not just to please their wives, to fulfill religious tradition, or go on a power trip, but men who were there to rock their world. Can you even imagine what it would feel like? Imagine what such a church could accomplish for the kingdom of God!
I don’t have time or space here to tell you all that comes to mind when I think about the challenges of men’s ministry. I want to tell you why the challenge motivates me. Jesus poured his life into men. Sure, he ministered to the women and children but he discipled men; imperfect, tarnished men from various walks of life. Jesus invested in men who would take what he had taught them and build the church that exists even now.
You don’t have to pay attention very closely to realize that men today are struggling spiritually. Not just the men outside the church; many who are part of the church are just going through the motions. But listen to this… women are surging ahead spiritually. Nobody likes to think or talk about it but its true.
I’m sounding the alarm. Many churches that I encounter have thriving women’s ministries, Bible Studies and special events. Women can’t wait for the next spiritual opportunity. So, the faith of our women is growing… but our men are floundering… and families are suffering.
Most of you who are interested at all in what Noble Warriors is all about would agree that the spiritual health of our families is dependent upon the spiritual health of our men. Therefore, I find it amazing that when it comes to setting priorities, most of the Christian community places the spiritual development of men near the end of the line.
I think Satan is thrilled with scenarios such as this hypothetical…
Spiritual Sally is enthusiastic about her faith and attends church with great enthusiasm. She gets the kids ready on Sunday mornings and drags them and Reluctant Ralph to the local evangelical Christian church. She enjoys Sunday School, worship, women’s Bible Studies and special women’s ministry events. She’s growing spiritually. The kids participate in Sunday School, and mid-week activities. They go to VBS in the summer and are memorizing Bible Verses. They love church…(until they become young adults). Reluctant Ralph endures it all. He goes to church with Sally to keep her happy but really isn’t engaged.
Sally is dying for some help with the spiritual development of the kids and has, through tears at the women’s events, said that she wishes her husband would lead their family. She wishes some other men would encourage him. Honestly, Ralph knows he’s not where he should be spiritually but he’s not sure how to move forward. He’s not getting much out of the pastor’s sermons and he’s tired of being asked to cut grass and paint the church.
He needs some help with his marriage and parenting. And on top of that… things are tough for the family financially. He can’t find any answers for his questions with a mulch rake in his hand. He needs help to be the husband, father, friend, employee, business owner, spiritual leader he’s pretty sure God wants him to be.
Folks, this scenario that I’ve just painted is not anyone’s particular story… but it is typical. I’ve heard all these elements before… many times. We lament the fact that our men could use some help but when there are opportunities for them to move forward in their faith journey we let them slip by while we focus on things that really are less important than equipping men to walk with Christ and lead their families.
Let’s get back to the issue at hand… Why do I do what I do? Because seeing Reluctant Ralph wake up spiritually and get some real practical instruction about what it means to be a Christ Follower and how to live as the spiritual leader of his family positively impacts more marriages and father child relationships than women’s ministry events or children’s ministry programs. And then, seeing Reluctant Ralph go after his buddies in a effort to help them find value in walking with Christ and lead their families is even more amazing.
This work is hard, challenging, frustrating and discouraging…. But I love it. Why don’t you join me and other Noble Warriors in Calling Men OUT and UP? We have two more Iron Sharpens Iron Conferences on our calendar for this season. There will not be better opportunities for men to get the encouragement and equipping they need to walk with Christ and lead their families. Let’s invest in the men who will lead the families that build the church… instead of building the church that must serve the families because the men are failing.
….you cannot have a thriving church without a core of men who are true followers of Christ. If the men are dead, the church is dead. David Murrow Why Men Hate Going to Church pg. 8.
What are your thoughts? Could I challenge you to forward a link to this blog entry to some of your contacts? Better yet, think of a Reluctant Ralph who could use some help and invite him to join you for an Iron Sharpens Iron Conference.