This is a feature Guest post by a great friend of mine, Ryan Evans. If you are interested in writing a Guest post for Manturity, please visit the Guest post tab and contact us.
If you’re anything like me, you are exhausted from the attempts of church leadership and connoted supposed religious duty to oversee the genesis of an authentic men’s ministry. No doubt you’ve heard, or even given, pep talks to the fellow men of your church consisting of numerous references to warrior, sword, mission or duty in an attempt to generate interest and bring men together. You may have even been part of a men’s ministry, as I have, but become frustrated because genuine and honest masculine fellowship gives way to sports watching or other thinly disguised worldly activities with a pasted on Christian label.
Let’s evaluate, with no religious pretention but rather with brutal honesty, why we should spend our time being a part of a Christian men’s ministry.
1) Jesus did it.
- Since Jesus is our example of manliness and the representation of unreserved devotion to the Father’s will, it’s important that we use him as the model of masculine social interaction and ministry.
- Jesus repeatedly said he was doing only what the Father was already doing. (Jn5:19, Jn5:30).
- Jesus learned from the Father and implemented those directives/messages in his human life. In turn, he taught his fellow men. He freely gave to men the true revelations of the Father’s character, just as he freely received them during his alone time fellowship with the father. All who were willing to hear the truth heard the truth from Jesus and he did not withhold any answers or ministry opportunities for those who were honest seekers of the Truth.
- He lived life with other men; he kept some very close and kept others as friends.
- He only refused fellowship and ministry to those who grieved or blasphemed the Spirit.
- Men’s ministry doesn’t mean you have to be the most outgoing or gregarious man in your fellowship… The only prerequisite is that you’re genuinely seeking the Father and allowing your character to be molded in Jesus’ likeness.
2) Older men’s duty to raise up younger men
- Repeatedly and forcefully the bible gives direction with regard to multi generational fellowship and ministry. The last analysis arrives at the conclusion of older men having the duty to model godliness for the younger men and the younger men having the duty to give respect, remain humble, and honor the older men. (1Tim5:1, Tit2:2,6-8).
- Just as Paul said to use him as a real world example of Jesus character, the older men should be able to provide the same type of godly example as Paul to the younger men. (1Cor4:16, 1Cor11:1, Phil3:17, 2Thes3:9)
- Most men learn how to be a man from their father. What happens when the father isn’t around? What happens in if the father is anti-Christ and blasphemes God? What happens if the father pretends to be a Christian but acts much differently?
- How will a man learn a mature Godliness without the seasoned men in their church to impart wisdom and life lessons?
3) Men don’t like to admit need for help
- How often do men pretend to have everything together while their life spirals out of control?
- How easy is it for us to put on our “spiritual leader” mask and head to church once a week while we secretly question the Truth and foster our desires to live as successful American men?
- If we’re involved in men’s ministry, and actually listen to and engage honestly with brothers and exhibit no judgment, we will become safe in our fellow men’s eyes.
4) Men need accountability
- Most Christian men are obsessed with exuding the image of godliness. With an almost sociopathic ability, we “turn on” the charm and throw the Christian buzzwords into our vernacular with an attempt to seem beyond reproach.
- How many men do you know of that leave church on Sunday and guzzle beer at home watching the NFL?
- How many men do you know that have separate groups of friends, church guys and the good ol’ boys, depending on the type of activity involved?
- How many men do you know who have come close to, or even proceeded with, divorce due to lust of the eyes and flesh?
- If we are not real with our fellow men, admit our own mistakes and failures, and use the lessons that God has taught us and testify to the works he’s performed in our lives, any lesson we attempt to give will seem disingenuous. There is a reason why God doesn’t let you forget the past… it’s his greatest glory to be honored and thanked for relying on his strength when we’re at our weakest. He uses the worst of us to prove that no man is beyond redemption.
- The defensive barriers of American masculinity can only be broken if the first step of humble and sincere honesty starts with our own bravery in Christ. We must first move past the shame of our past activities and be ready to counsel those about to make the same mistakes.
5) Men need reassurance of their gifts
- How many men do you know who do not ever reach their potential in the Spirit because they are paralyzed with doubt or fear?
- If a regular man, aware of his daily shortcomings (1Jn1:8), compares himself to the innocently smiling and seemingly perfect model of a man in his pastor, he may begin to think there is something wrong with him. He may realize that he cannot pray as well, derive as much joy from serving, or speak as eloquently as the church leaders. Subsequently, most men will shut down out of guilt or shame rather than press through and earnestly desire the higher spiritual gifts (1Cor14:1).
- Real and authentic Christian masculinity is exhibited in every type of manly personality. Take a minute to remember the various personalities of the apostles; from defending Jesus with a sword like a true warrior to begging to sit near to Jesus at dinner – the apostles were accepted by Jesus and demonstrated that there is no “right way to be masculine”. Even Jesus was fearsome while whipping around change collectors as well as crying over Jerusalem and comparing himself to a mother goose (Mt23:37). The point is that we need to move past using our societal lens of masculinity – strength, confidence, power, charm, etc – and recognize that God has created every potential permutation of masculinity. Therefore, if anyone has a desire to be like God and ears to hear his wisdom, it is our responsibility to recognize their value and offer unreserved fellowship and ministry.
6) Men need time away from the family
- In our daily lives, we cannot escape the constant awareness that we have expectations placed on us by ourselves, our jobs, our families and our friends.
- Periodically, we need to remove ourselves from the situations where we’re required to fulfill expectations and be free to pursue the passions and desires which God has given us as individuals. We need to communicate with people like us and who face the same struggles. We need camaraderie.
- If we can develop a men’s ministry that tolerates no pretention or judgment then we can be very free and honest about our struggles with life. We can create a place of freedom where we are able to share the movements of God in our lives and learn from the movements of God in other’s lives.
- There are simply some things that your wife cannot understand about being a man – we can choose either to repress those concerns or talk about them with trusting brothers.
7) Men need real fellowship with Jesus
- In all sincerity, I appreciate the aspects of church and life which are designed for couples. There is a benefit to being able to worship next to your elders, brothers, sisters, wife and children in a worship service. It is a blessing to be a part of a life group consisting of other couples in a similar age range. It is wonderful to take part in a type of service which you can minister concomitantly with your wife.
- However, nothing compares to the life giving atmosphere of being around other men who share the same life desires, character goals, and struggles.
- It is an undeniable fact that you cannot achieve your spiritual goals if you’re not walking in accordance with God’s will. The will of God is clear: to love him with your whole being and to love your neighbor as yourself.
- If you’re not even attempting to minister to your neighbor, or even to engage in fellowship, are you walking in the will of God?
Question: What are your experiences with men’s ministry? What has worked for you and what hasn’t? You can leave a comment by filling out the form below.