“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Man At Work VI - Friends

So far we have looked at the role of a husband in marriage and also at the sad state of men's ministries in today's world. We should understand that we are called to be more than simply 'macho' men, who are engaged in a royal battle, trying to win a beauty (a rough paraphrase of one of the books that I read). We realize that our model for manhood needs to be found in the pages of Scripture.

So, we know that a man is to be self-sacrificial in his love for his wife, he is also supposed to care for and train up his children (more on that later), and be the provider in the home, both from a physical and spiritual perspective.

Let's look at another observation -- men should have others to which they are accountable -- unfortunately, the word 'accountable' has been so emptied of meaning in many parts of Christendom. We overuse and misuse this word. In most instances, it is only used in a negative sense -- i.e. "I am accountable to some men in the church regarding my addition to pornography".

However, if we look in Scripture, we find that men were accountable, not simply in a negative fashion, but also in a positive way. That is, men loved and cared about their fellow workers in the harvest field, and depended upon one another -- they were 'accountable' in their friendship, and the dependence they had upon one another.

As we read the book of Acts we find that Paul always traveled with men whom he depended upon, as did the rest of the apostles. These men understood that they needed relationships with one another, and even our Savior sent them out two-by-two. This kept these men on task, and provided comfort and fellowship for them as they faced persecution, the rigors of the mission field, and the loneliness of being 'on the road'.

Now we find that, in their humanness, sometimes things got a bit rocky for these men; all we need to do is look at the incident between John Mark, Barnabas and Paul (Acts 15:36ff). Interestingly, later in his life, Paul asked for John Mark to be sent to him 2nd Timothy 4:11, that he was "...useful to me [Paul] for ministry".

So, they were human, and struggled at times with their relationship, however they were in relationships.

Updated: I realized that I did a poor job of putting this post together, and seemed to jump from relationships into a rant about men's ministries. I have updated the post to more accurately and consistently reflect where I was going with the thought.

How different their focus was from the men's churches that have 'sports'-themed everything, and ropes courses! In these types of churches the relationships that are built often have little to do with Christ and our unity in Him, and more to do with a common school, or hobby. Relationships developed in this manner are often not Christ-centered, but rather man-centered.

We somehow believe that, to get men into churches and relationships, we need more 'manly' themes and focus, when in reality what we need is a Christ-centered focus. We need to be teaching men to be the husband, friend, disciple, witness, that Christ calls them to be. When we bring men in with secular, carnal pursuits, the bulk of them will never go beyond that -- we need to call men into relationships with one another that are based upon Biblical principles, and hold our ground against a fast-encroaching worldly mindset that says that what we really need to do is have 'car-shows' and 'football-parties' to 'lure' men back to the church.

How about just preaching the word, holding them accountable as men, and showing them the principles of Biblical manhood? Doesn't that seem like it would be more effective? Why do we believe that we can 'lure' men to Christ using (frankly) deceptive means? God will draw men to Christ -- and He will not use bait and switch techniques! And when men come together with Christ as their focus, we will find our churches revived!

P.S. I am not against anything geared towards men -- we have a motorcycle ministry, and other events, but these are SIDE things, not the focus of our church. The focus is, and must always be Christ.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your last eight words say it all.

daveinlewisville

Even So... said...

We somehow believe that, to get men into churches and relationships, we need more 'manly' themes and focus, when in reality what we need is a Christ-centered focus. We need to be teaching men to be the husband, friend, disciple, witness, that Christ calls them to be. When we bring men in with secular, carnal pursuits, the bulk of them will never go beyond that -- we need to call men into relationships with one another that are based upon Biblical principles, and hold our ground against a fast-encroaching worldly mindset that says that what we really need to do is have 'car-shows' and 'football-parties' to 'lure' men back to the church.

Nailed it...