I’m going to try real hard not to step on toes today. That’s not to say that I won’t. Actually, if God leads me to step on a toe, please realize that I’m doing this out of love, and not to be spiteful or hateful. I’m going to point out a few things that need to change when it comes to the church and the men who should be leading inside it. Men have a specific calling, and I want to make sure that we realize just what that is.
1. Step Up and Be Counted. It’s amazing to me that when I look at the landscape as it stands in many places and see just how obvious our absence truly is. Nothing speaks louder than our silence. In a time such as this, when we need leadership and guidance, those most qualified in many cases are not to be found. It’s time for the men to step into the gap where there is no one and be used, be activated, be involved, and be invested. How can we look at the obvious needs and assume that someone else is supposed to step into that role? Hear me; if you see the need, God gave you the vision to see it. He put it out there for you to notice. It’s no coincidence. It’s not a passing gesture or thought. That’s God putting that issue on your heart and your mind. He wants you to see something and do something.
Have you noticed that those who volunteer the most seem to be the women in the church? Or have you noticed that the most active participants in any church function are the women? Why? Why is that? Why are the men inactivated and unmotivated? Often it can actually be what the church actually offers men to do. Aside from asking them to work in the parking lot or to set up chairs, what else are they asked to do? What roles are they recruited into? Is it the youth? Is it in the nursery? Is it greeting? Here’s a thought; if there’s nothing there for the men to do, make a suggestion. What is it that stirs you? What is it that you’d actually want to do if the opportunity was presented? Suggest it! I can’t imagine many, if any, pastors who would be dismissive of the requests from men who wanted to be involved.
2. Create Events They Want to Attend. Here’s where we have to be creative. It’s also where tend to use the least amount of brainpower. What kind of events does your church generally have for the men? Let me guess…the men’s breakfast? This long-standing staple of men gathering for breakfast one Saturday a month has been going on longer than Gilligan’s Island reruns. Does it get the men activated and involved? Probably not. It only motivates a group of them cook, and the other group to eat. Sure, there’s a message and or devotional time. I’m not discounting how God can move in that time frame. He is certainly capable of working miracles, and He does. But, let me ask you this; is this breakfast for those who are already in the church? How many new people show up to the breakfast because they heard someone at work talking about it? How many show up because they are a HUGE fan of breakfast? I mean, they have a breakfast burrito hoodie and a fried egg tattoo on their shoulder. Seriously? What is it that you like? What would you show up to and be excited about being there? Football game? Gun show? Demolition? You know what gets you going. You also probably know a few other buddies who like it, too. What if the church sponsored something like that? What if you were able to invite your buddies because of this event, and know that they would think it was stinkin’ awesome?
What if they realized that the men at the church could rock? They could be normal guys like you who dig something and dig God at the same time? They were afraid of showing up at the breakfast and having to hold hands and sing a song they didn’t know. But, they could tell you everything there is to know about 47 different guns. Guys you don’t know would want to come to it. That makes some people nervous. Good. They shouldn’t be comfortable, but always stretching and striving to reach those who need it.
Jesus, in the book of Matthew, was in this very scenario.
Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?”
Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” (Matthew 9:11-13 The Message)
3. Keep Them Involved. It’s one thing to get the men to the event; it’s another thing to get them to come back, to look for more. If they see the event was a farce, or if it feels forced, they can tell. You have to give them something to come back for, something to pursue. What is it that the men in your area, the guys around you, deal with daily? Do they have anger management issues? Road rage? There’s a class for that. Are they having trouble figuring out their wife? Yeah, a lot of us do. There’s a class for that. Are they working shift work, and they can’t figure out how to be the dad they’re supposed to be? There’s a class for that. Meet these men where they are. Meet them with what matters to them! Advanced Bible Studies 101 and 102 is not going to get them come back. They aren’t interested in Basic Bible 1. But offer a class on how to spend more time with your kids and teach them how to fish, and I’m there. Bob’s there. I bet Larry would like that one. Offer a class that teaches how to be a better husband and date ideas while working shift work, and I know a couple of guys who were just talking about that the other day. We have to meet our guys were they are. It’s what Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians.
Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it! (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 The Message)
What do you think? What events would you want to go to even if it were at a church? Where are some places that a church could schedule an event away from the church? What do your buddies want to know more about? What would get them interested? What have you seen that’s already working?