21 August 2012
Mining for men
My name's Paul, I'm a follower of Jesus, and I'm a man. I'm also a pastor. Oh, and I'm an ex... (add drugs and crime and other nasty stuff to that). But I've changed. Now I'm one of God's men. I'm fortunate that I've been trained by men who knew what it took to mine for men. Follow me here - look what a miner does. He goes into dark places looking for raw materials that have the potential to become objects of value. That's what Jesus did, and that's what we have to do today.
You see, while people are tripping on the "decline of men in the Church", men are being reached in the unlikeliest of places. The problem is that too many observers have a consumer mindset. They're looking for the finished product - shiny and well-set and packaged just right. And they overlook the bits of rough, dirty rock that are pulled out of the inside of the earth. But it is precisely these rough diamonds that will bring value to the church. First, however, they must be cut and polished. This is the trick, and this is where things get uncomfortable. But don't worry. The thing is, men like getting trained. But only if there is something worth training for. Men love adventure. They love the sense of achievement that comes from applying themselves to something and stretching and growing, and the feeling that comes from overcoming and being victorious. Men love getting smacked between the eyes by the truth of the Word of God. They love reality. They want to stand for something and reach for something that is worthy and noble and worth their time. I believe the Christ-life is the best life and my fulfilment comes when I find that earth-covered bit of treasure and start the training process. Sure it's a challenge. But that's what catches men. And it's so worth it.
Put the challenge back in church and men will be confident enough to ask their mates to come. Challenge men to create an environment that will attract other men. Atmosphere is key. Create a space for men where they can hang out. Put a big TV in it to watch football matches after the service. Sing 'anthem choruses' in worship. Men love rousing singing - just go to a football or rugby match. Always use every opportunity to encourage growth. Set targets - men love that stuff. Preach and teach about Biblical men - about loyalty and courage, responsibility and gifting, honour and commitment. Enable them to grow and become strong, effective men of God. Equip them to succeed and you'll be giving them a good reason to stay. And then the more men you have in the house, the more men will want to come.
by Paul Lloyd.