Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Last week I commented on a blog I had been reading recently about the state of male leadership in the Church. I contacted the author, Rev. Mark Brown and talked to him today. In our discussion he asked if I had read the comments in that post. Yes I had, I told him. The vast number of women who responded to his article shocked me. Where are all the men?!
He responded "A whole lot of sad women"
He was right. As I read the comments my heart was torn out by the carnage left. It was like a train wreck with women's hearts laid waste all over the road. A failed marriage, despair, a cheating husband, apathy, ignorance. AGGHHH!
THIS HAS TO STOP!!!
WHERE ARE ALL THE MEN?!
How do we get men to take their rightful role as leaders in the Church?
Well I have a few ideas.
Not ideas exactly more like plays in a field book that has been battered and worn down.
Ever heard the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result...
Honestly I think that is what happens when it comes to men in the Church. We have work parties; we have breakfasts maybe even barbeques. Events!
A Pastor I recently met did a great sermon recently on this. Pastor Bayless Conley called it Process versus Event. We in the Church seem to be event junkies. We go from event to event speaking christianese, trying to look Holy, hoping that the next event will be the mountain top experience we seek so desperately. After all if we can get back to the mountain top we can be with our God, and all will be well, all will be right, RIGHT?
Look following Christ is a day by day, minute by minute process. The important thing about events in my opinion is they mark the mile markers in the journey, that's it. Well yeah they are also times of intimacy with our Heavenly Father and that is a very good thing. But stop, what makes you think that we can only find God on a mountaintop? He is everywhere, he is always and forever, his love is everlasting. He wants us to be in relationship with him.
So look, stop the whole event junkie crap. You might get a man's attention for maybe a millisecond with an event but not his heart.
If you want to connect with the heart of a man you start elsewhere.
Be a Man!
Here is a radical idea treat him like...a man. Treat him with respect, with dignity. laugh with him, cheer with him, sweat with him, stand with him. Here is the most important part, give him permission to be a man.
Yeah I said it. Men are competitive, they are hard on the outside, they love to play hard and respect those who will stand in with them when they do. Don't you remember the schoolyards of our youth? Back before guns and gangs became the rage and fear of the day. What happened when a boy had a beef with another boy? They had a fistfight. Often the outcome of these was not the making of mortal enemies but good and even best friends.
Let a guy be rough, let him be masculine.
Jesus was tough, a Man’s Man
Remove all the crappy expectations that my Hero, the lion of Judah was meek and wimpy. My God is a hero, he is courageous, he is a warrior at heart. He knew how to be a real man. A man who oozed masculinity. ALL the way to the Cross at Calvary.
Don't ask a Man to wear a metaphorical Skirt!
Guys don't want to come to Church and hug like the women do. They don't want to stand around with soft low voices saying bless you brother. They don’t want to stand around with china doll smiles pretending to enjoy the sermon. Nah they want to hug for real, a slap you on the back, shake your hand and laugh at a crappy joke hug that says Yeah I'm here. Yeah I see you. You are alright by me. That is the way of men. Let a man be a man.
WE START THERE…
Father walk with me through this line of passion you gave me. Help me to share the passion for your men that you have burdened on my heart. May your men WAKE UP, may they come to you thirsty, to love you, to follow you.
Let you will be done in your men
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Honestly I believe the Church has done little to engage men in ways that meet them where they are and stay relevant through their healing and growth. Broken men aren’t interested in hyper-spiritual platitudes or seemingly meaningless religious advice nor are they interested in being treated like a pack mule and taking on every service project that requires a strong back, good heart and a pick up truck.
Who can men trust?
That is the relevant question here. Can I get to know you and trust you the man says quietly to himself. Will you get to know me, not judge me in my brokenness, not laugh at me, not send me to a fix it class. Will you know me, stand beside me, play with me sometimes, work with me occasionally, cheer for our team with me, stand silently and mourn with me when necessary. Then I might show up and ask you to pray for me. Then I might take the risk to open my mouth and worship in front of you. Then I might take a first cautious step toward leading something.
Why are there so few male leaders in the Church? I am not convinced we (the Church) know how to reach them…
To those who lead, with diligence
Sunday, March 21, 2010
When I was a young boy my hero was my grand father. My grandpa was a towering man at least to a little guy he was. 6 foot 1 inches tall solid and stoic. He was the kind of guy you read about, the kind of guy you can’t help but admire. My grandpa was a simple guy took care of his family worked very hard to provide. Even in the darkest days of the great depression in the 1930’s he would do what he had to do. Work odd jobs, work on farms, hunt for game whatever it took to provide for my mom and her family. As I was growing up I loved to stand in his shadow, follow him wherever he went. If he fished I was there, if he hunted I tagged along, working the family farm I went along there too. Heads together underneath a car fixing something, cutting wood on the latest project whatever.
I remember hunting with him one hot fall day. We trudged through the woods him with his shotgun me with a stick that I imagined could take down an elephant. I was only 6 years old at the time imagination runs big when you are small. I think we were hunting for moose maybe a deer. I don’t know. I was too busy trying to be brave like my grandfather. I imagined my stick my gun was the most powerful gun that I would single handed take down a deer. All the while I was scared. I had never seen a wild animal up close and never ever seen an animal shot. We didn’t find anything that day and trudged back to our car and back to the cabin. Him disappointed and me thrilled to have spent the day with him
No matter what he did I wanted to do it.
We went fishing a lot spending time on the water waiting for a bite. I actually used to collect earth worms and carry them around in my pockets hoping that I would get to go fishing with him again. That all ended when my mom found a pocket full of worms in the wash one day. MY butt hurt for days after that!
No matter what he did I wanted to do it too.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I would say imitation was the sincerest way I could tell my grandfather I loved him. I learned what it meant to be a man from him in those days. What it meant to be a father, a husband, a family man, a leader. I learned so much from him.
The most significant thing I learned from my grandfather though was a simple idea that seems to be forgotten these days. It is a concept that people for centuries prided themselves on. It encompasses the idea of dependability, reliability, honesty and caring. It is a simple thing yet an elusive thing sometimes as we face the challenges of life.
Do you have a definition for this word? Do you think it is the same for your neighbor? You see this is part of the challenge everyone seems to want to define this word differently. If they do they stand a better chance of living up to the expectation. They can add conditions under which they are no longer required to live up to their commitments
Now I can throw words around like the best of them. I can write, I can argue, I can persuade with words. No problem. I can come up with a really long and complex definition to this word filled with all kinds of escape clauses. I could…
But you know in the end this really matters very little. You see you can put any words you like to integrity but what it really is about the heart of it is very simple.
Do your words match your actions?
When I was a little boy following my grandfather around I was receiving a life lesson in integrity. He was showing me that a man makes a commitment then lives up to it. A man signs up in life for certain responsibilities, to be a father, a husband, a friend, a neighbor, a Christian. With each of these responsibilities he says you can count on me to do exactly what I say I will do. Yes I might stumble from time to time, I might make mistakes and let someone down, I might hurt someone I love. Yes I might do all of those things but in my heart I am committed to the idea that I will keep my word to those around me. And when I don’t I will seek forgiveness and resolve in my commitment not to repeat my earlier stumble.
I used to love to listen to my grandfathers stories. There was one story where in the 1930’s while he was out of work and scrapping to put food on his families table he was out hunting. He managed to get several rabbits that day and was on his way walking home. His family would eat well tonight. On the way he was stopped by a stranger. The stranger a thin tall man looked hungrily at the rabbits. He said I have an offer for you. “I own 30 acres on the hill behind you and I will trade it for the rabbits in your hand.” My grandfather thought carefully on the matter. That was a lot of land, someday he could have been rich even a millionaire if he said yes and handed over the rabbits. But then he, his wife my mother and her two sisters and brother would go hungry. “No deal” he calmly exclaimed. “No deal” His family was too important to him. Here I was over thirty years later hearing the story of how he might have been a millionaire. When I was young this story was about the money for me. It was a story of what could have been. You see there was a big fancy golf course built on hat land he owner had to be a rich man. That could have been my families golf course.
But I had missed the stories real meaning. I hadn’t seen the love, the sacrifice a man had made for his family. Love, integrity that was the story that was the lesson.
There is much to this story I will continue another day...
By the way I have not forgotten the story of Extraordinary. Not at all in fact the last several months have been a study in diving deeper with God, stumbling along the way but not being discouraged or distracted. We will come back to that story as well.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
- In your life now how are you pleasing God? How might you please him more?
- What do you believe is God's special plan for you?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
- Do you believe God loves you unconditionally?
- If you do not is it based on feelings or what God has spoken?
- Make a decision to believe Gods word.