Are you considering an invitation to be a part of a ministry to men, perhaps to lead that ministry? If so, give the request some serious thought and prayer. Christian philanthropist, Hugh O. Maclellan has said, “The greatest need we have in America today is to reach our men. Here is a thumbnail sketch of the condition of men in America.
For every 10 men in the average church today:
- 9 will have children who leave the church
- 8 will not find their jobs satisfying
- 6 will pay monthly minimum on credit cards
- 5 have a major problem with pornography
- 4 will get divorced affecting 1,000,000 children each year
- Only 1 will have a biblical worldview
- All 10 will struggle to balance family and work
For the general population the numbers are not pretty either …
- 108,000,000 men 15 or older (est. 2003).
- 66,000,000 men do not know Christ.
- Only 6,000,000 men are in an intentional discipleship relationship.
- 72,000,000 children are under 18. Thirty-three percent of them will go to bed in a home without a biological father.
- Forty percent of first marriages end in divorce affecting 1,000,000 children each year.
- Thirty-three percent of all children are born out of wedlock.
If the men in the church are in the shape described above, how effective can they be in discipling men in the general population?
A Compelling Call:
Commanded. God has commanded us to join the battle for the souls of men’s and turn this situation around. Men in our churches and across America need to accept the gift of salvation and commit their lives to the Lord. They need to become disciples. Paul asks “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” (Romans 10:14, NLT). The apostle Peter states, “He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief.” (2 Peter 3:9-10, NLT). Jesus commands us to “go and make disciples!” Whether they understand it or not, our men need the abundant life. And someone needs to lead them to it.
Commissioned. A commission carries with it the authority to carry out the assigned task. The Great Commission is framed in terms of the transfer of authority from Jesus to his disciples. We often consider that the Great Commission is to those going overseas. However, the nation Jesus wants us to disciple is right here, right now! Dallas Willard has said that widespread transformation of character through discipleship can transform our world by disarming the evils that dominate and now threatens to destroy the world.2
Equipped and Empowered. In addition, the Holy Spirit equips us for the task to which He calls us. He equips each of us differently with the intention that we work together. We are each given spiritual gifts. Those gifts are the motivation and empowerment for our ministry. They are the lens through which we view and the focus for carrying out our ministry. You may not have the gift of leadership but that does not exempt you from the call. Because we bring different perspectives, the Lord calls us to work together as a team. Note that Jesus sent out His disciples two by two. In addition, we seldom see Paul ministering without a partner. Moreover, the Lord gave Isaiah the message he was to preach to Israel (Isaiah 6). So He will provide the vision, wisdom and message to those who step up to lead in the battle for the souls of men. That is how committed God is to this ministry! Someone has said: God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called.
A Compelling Hope:
Hope, in scripture, means the excited expectation of a sure thing. Therefore, we need to move forward in the battle for men’s souls with biblical hope. Why? First, because God has promised to be with us and second is the battle is the Lord’s. Both are sure things!
Scripture is clear. God does not call men to a task because it is something they can do. He calls men only to tasks that HE wants to accomplish. He did not commission His disciples because they were capable of changing the world. He called them because He wanted to change the world through them.
… I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous ... (Joshua 1:5-7)
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:18-20)
He said to them: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
God is committed to this ministry! Are You?
Copyright 2004 Man in the Mirror (www.maninthemirror.org ) from multiple sources of data: including, U.S. Census, Barna Research Group of Ventura California, (www.barna,org ), Family Research Council.
Dallas Willard, The Spirit of Disciplines (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988). xi