“…each part… helps the other parts grow..”. Ephesians 4:16
We have all heard the term “beating around the bush” to describe someone who is not straight forward in what they say. Part of the impetus for change is the wish to clearly help men to become the men that God intended. And that means being honest and transparent with ourselves and others. It is not about confrontation. It is about being honest and direct. I suspect that one of the reasons that Jesus, with little fanfare, was able to recruit four fishermen at the very start of His ministry [two were brothers nicknamed “Sons of Thunder” which today would sound like a motorcycle club] was His clear and unmistakable way of laying it squarely on the line. These were hard living men who worked hard to make a daily living. Words such as tenderness, diplomatic and tactful would not be very accurate in describing their personal communication style. In their world men screamed and chewed each other out; communication was verbally abusive. I have first hand knowledge, I worked in that world as a young man. Look for avenues open that provides us men the unique opportunity to communicate directly and honestly with the One who wants to speak to our hearts with love and transparency. That was one reason that those fishermen over 2,000 years ago dropped everything to follow Jesus. They recognized love and transparency without an attitude of judgmental condemnation. Jesus is committed to having us ‘be all that we can be.’ Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.
“No man cared for my soul.” Psalm 142:4
Men come to church for lots of reasons but deep down they are looking for acceptance. They want to know that other men care for them. It is the relationships that are forged that will keep being them back no matter what they are doing in the church. And relationships do not happen overnight! The Bible teaches that if a man is to have friends then he must be friendly toward those around him and some would put the burden of relationships on the men coming into our fellowship to check things out. But the Bible also says that men bring with them some deep wounds from their past … failures that are not easily talked about … and some unspoken anxieties about their future. What men want to know is simply this: “Will you guys still accept me even if I do not fit the mold? Will you guys still accept me even if I am unable to change as quickly as you may want me to? Let us not have such a rigid structure that it prevents things from happening. Is our greatest concern on Tuesday night “How many men will we get this evening?” One of the constant barometer checks we as leaders have to make on our hearts has to do with pride. Pride insidiously wants us to be more concerned with our own image than meeting people’s needs. Men are warriors but they can also have a side of them that is shy, distrusting or they are just plain relational impaired. Our mission is to make friends of them. Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians Church to “Bear one anothers burdens …’ [Galatians 6:2] In a nutshell, that is the essence of a men’s ministry. God’s love and miraculous things happen to men when they find acceptance amongst their peers.