In 2008, I was speaking at an event in Southern California. The setting was magnificent! It was an incredible open-air amphitheater surrounded by palm trees and cobblestone paths and drenched in sunshine. As I was preparing to speak, I watched as the worship leader led the nearly 1,000 people gathered in a series of familiar songs. Then he introduced a song that he had written- one that would eventually become very popular. It was about falling in love with Jesus, singing and dancing for Him, and being captivated by my romance with Him. Now, hear me, I love this worship leader and the song for that matter. I just hate to sing it. I have no issue with the melody or more importantly, the theology. I am simply uncomfortable singing songs about my romance with a dude—albeit even if that dude is the Son of God. It’s weird.
I’ll bet if you’re a man, you can relate. And you and I are not alone. This experience illustrates what many men face when they walk in to a local church on any given Sunday. David Murrow says, “the church’s thermostat is set to feminine and it is suffocating man.” When it comes to ministry to men, rather than unleashing the power of the masculine spirit to lead the church into the front lines of battle for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Churches have somehow been more inclined to tame the hearts of men—to make them sweet, nurturing, and clean. We try to make them, well… feminine.
One can learn a lot about the values and priorities of an individual, a family, and a church by examining where the money goes. If that is true, let’s face it, ministry to men has become practically non-existent. In most churches more of the budget is spent on students and children than any other age, and it’s not even close. Think about your own church. How much budget allocation is given to ministry to men? If anything, probably about enough for a pancake breakfast, a wild game dinner, and a Bible study once or twice per year.
What if the tables were turned? What would happen if a significant part of church strategy (and budget allocation) was given to discipling men to understand who they are in light of the Kingdom of God? This was Jesus’ model of discipleship. He spent 90% of his time pouring into 12 dudes. Why? Because Jesus knew that as go the men, so goes the family, the church, and the culture.
My boss at the first church I served told me, “Kris if you want to reach the whole family, you have to reach the children.” It sounded good to this 21-year-old youth pastor. But the statistics prove otherwise. In fact, when a child comes to faith in Christ, the family will only follow suit 3.5% of the time. The probability is a little better when women are reached. 17% of the time, the family follows. But when a man comes to faith in Christ the rest of the family follows 93% of the time.
In talking to pastors and leaders in churches all around the country, I have come to realize that not every church’s model of discipleship needs a formalized “men’s ministry.” But, every church must have a clearly defined “ministry to men”. In a culture that is trying to redefine what is a man and what is courageous, wise churches will rethink their disciple-making strategies in order to intentionally and clearly call men to be men. If the American church is to recapture the passion and velocity of the the first-century church, she must recapture Biblical masculinity.
Originally posted here.