Reflecting over this first year of ministry, I wanted to share with you 13 lessons that I learned in 2013. Some of the lessons were on the list before the list and they will remain on the list after the list. Make sense? The reality is that there are some lessons that we must never forget, especially in ministering to men.
I’d love to have some feedback, so feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post.
Here we go…
1. Men are hungry for discipleship no matter where they are on the planet. Having been in several states and one foreign country this past year ministering to hundreds of men it is obvious that men of all ages want more. I see hungry souls and thirsty spirits whether they are in the north or south and in between, or in the Dominican.
The average man sitting in your church knows, deep down, that he could be more than he has become. What are you and I doing to help him become that man? We need your prayers and with God’s help we can continue to find ways to engage, encourage, and equip men with families and churches in mind.
2. Churches struggle to provide meaningful, transformational discipleship for men of all ages. If we were to honestly evaluate church ministry to men we would have to conclude that a large majority of churches do not value men. Men’s ministry in most churches is an after thought and most churches do not have an equipping strategy to help their men be faithful husbands, loyal dads, spiritual leaders, trustworthy churchmen, etc.
The devil has a much more effective plan to reach men than do most churches.
Patrick Morley brings clarity to the deficiency of church ministry to men, “I love the church, but the church on the whole has not been able to muster an ongoing will or comprehensive strategy to disciple men. Pastoring men is not a top priority in any denomination based upon their actual allocations of financial and intellectual resources.”
3. The most powerful team on the planet is a husband and wife walking in oneness before a Holy God. And men, God has called you to be the MVP whether you are married or not. I really believe this. As much as I love the Georgia Bulldogs and as good as they are (to me) and as hard as I pull for them to win when they play between the hedges or in any other venue… I have come to the conclusion that the team I must be rooting for, praying for, helping, encouraging, cheering, strengthening, coaching with all of my heart and soul is the husband and wife team, beginning with me and Nichole. I long to see families win. Starting with men, we can get on a winning streak that will help thousands of generations be anchored in Christ.
4. Until men submit to God nothing in his family, church, or in this nation will change. Godly male leadership is a must if anything is going to change in this day and time. May fresh wind blow in the heart of every man who is in your circle of influence. Men, it is time to line up under The Lord Jesus Christ and follow Him!
5. Partnerships are powerful. Whether it is our generous donors who help fund our ministry vision and mission for men on a local and global level to families and churches or the like-minded ministries we have partnered with like Ministry Ventures, National Coalition of Ministries to Men, Iron Sharpens Iron, Man in the Mirror and others we understand that for us to accomplish God’s call on our ministry we must work with others. For REAL MOMENTUM to become a movement of men we need men, women, churches, ministries and other organizations to join with us to build into men. Because when men win, we all win.
6. Prayer must be priority. I pray more than I’ve ever prayed, but I don’t pray enough. If there is one area where I need to step up in it is prayer. I need time alone in prayer and I need time with others in prayer. Prayer must become a priority for me and for you.
I will leave this lesson with one of Andrew Murray’s statement on prayer and men, “The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelism in history.”
7. The influence of women (our wives, mothers, and daughters) is key to a movement of men. I am trusting God to move through women who cry out to God in a season of prayer for their husbands, fathers, and sons rather than attending the next bible study. The wife was created to be her husband’s helpmeet. She is critical to any movement toward God in his life and when she lovingly comes under her husband, she not only influences him, but she also influences other women to do so as well. May every wife, mother and daughter do him good by crying out to God for a movement of men!
8. Most men will respond when they are challenged to the core of who they are as a man, but they need help. I am convinced that when the Word of God and the Spirit of God go to work in the heart of a man he will respond. We need to be sensitive as to how to help men when they do encounter God because no man should have to walk through trials and tribulations alone.
9. Men in the second quarter of life (age 26-44) need to reconcile their relationship with their earthly father. The battlefield for most young men today is littered with the broken marriages of their father and mother, bondage to addictions in trying to find relief from their pain, and the ever-reaching tentacles of pride, insecurity, fear, and unbelief that plague their mind and emotions while they contemplate what the future holds for them as husbands and fathers. Most men between 20-40 years of age are hurting and are having a hard time finding help. We all need to step up and help these men!
10. Mediocrity creates misery and it’s a good thing, if you press in and move on with God. This lesson is probably the most liberating reality for me. I want to live unleashed and unhindered for God as a man. And although I saw God do amazing things in my life as a man, husband, and father in 2013, there is still work to do. I’m not where I want to be as a husband nor a father. I’m not where I want to be as a disciple-maker of men.
There is more I need to learn about my wife and children. There is more to discover in how to engage and encourage men and their families. I’ve got desires for coaching churches and helping them be supremely effective in ministering to their most important congregant, the man sitting in the pew this Sunday. I’ve got a long way to go, but help is on the way as my help is from the LORD!
11. We are losing the next generation of men. This one drives me.
41% of millennials (those born between 1980 and 2001) are now being raised by single parents (usually mothers) compared to 5% in 1960.
I so want to reach young men, but to be honest I don’t know how. I have six daughters and all of them may be walking down the isle one day, though not soon, but too soon. I so want my daughters and their girlfriends to walk down the isle and take the hand of a faithful, godly young man who will love and lead her like Christ. However, many of the young men in our culture today come from families that look nothing like mine. Many of them are not even raised by their father.
Reaching the next generation of men is a challenge to say the least. But, I will do what I can while I can, seeking to find ways to mentor the next generation of husbands and fathers. I’ve got a long ways to go but I think I’m on the right track!
12. Men don’t need another conference or program, men need a movement. Don’t get me wrong, I love conferences. There have been many that God has used in my life. I even lead conferences for men and families. But, a conference in and of itself is just another conference. What men need today is a movement.
Movement happens when men move together. I long to see men band together in the common mission of being faithful, trustworthy, dependable, and loyal where they live, work, and play. I look forward to the day when men can share eyeball-to-eyeball about their struggles. I look forward to the day when men can stand toe-to-toe with their issues and another brother can help them win as a man. Until men get honest with God and each other they will keep attending conferences without any transformation and we will not see a movement we all know that is needed.
13. God is moving in men, families, and churches. We must continue to learn how God wants to use us in our homes and churches to create, capture, and sustain momentum. We must not let this opportunity pass us by. Just like your favorite football team, you want them to get the momentum because when they do you know that they will most likely win the game. Let’s do whatever we can as men, women, families, churches, ministries, and organizations to help every man we know find real momentum in his relationship with God, his family and church to the ends of the earth.
Until Men Are Moved,
We depend heavily on the generous donations of people like you who believe in the great need for a movement of men that ultimately transforms families and churches to the ends of the earth.