The challenge of the Great Commission is to preach the gospel to all creation. This includes the young and the old, rich and poor, male and female. The love of God is generous enough to encompass the whole world. With all of humanity in mind, God is looking for men who will lead His Church and advance His Kingdom. It has been said that the church is the hope of the world. If that is true, then men are the hope of the church. This is not a chauvinistic sentiment; in fact, my wife gave me permission to write this! The question before every church is “Where are the men?”
Even a cursory reading of Scripture reveals that God is looking for men. Consider the following passages: Ezekiel 22:30 “I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land that I might not destroy it but I found no one.”
1 Timothy 3:1 “It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.”
2 Timothy 2:2 “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
God is looking for men with humble hearts; men who will sacrifice everything for the cause of Christ and who will stand in the gap as servant-leaders for their families and for Christ’s Church. Robert Coleman put it this way in his book, Master Plan of Evangelism: It all started by Jesus calling a few men to follow Him…His concern was not with programs to reach the multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would follow…Men were to be His method of winning the world to God. (Master Plan of Evangelism, page 21) The Church needs an intentional strategy is to reach men because if you reach a man, you reach his whole family. A changed man will influence a marriage and a family. A changed family will influence a neighborhood and a community. A changed community will influence a state and a nation. A changed nation will help change the world. It all begins with a changed man.
What kind of a church reaches men? Though certainly not perfect, at Crossline Church, where I am the Senior Pastor, our vision is to reach men for Christ. How do we do it? We are a masculine-oriented church. We live in a culture where men are increasingly marginalized and feminized. Unfortunately this assault affects many of our churches. The music, programs and ethos are more in line with a feminine mystique than a male orientation. As a result, few men attend and fewer are actively seeking to be potent spiritual leaders. At Crossline we are intentional about reaching men for Christ. I am not talking about trying to be “Rambo for Jesus” or being hyped-up on steroids. What I mean is that we proactively seek to reach men and create a culture where men feel understood, at home and challenged. I personally believe this begins with the senior pastor.
To quote a good friend of mine, Steve Farrar, “The key to an effective men’s ministry is to have a masculine pastor: a man who thinks like a man, acts like a man and fulfills his God-given calling to be a man.” The role of the senior pastor in affecting a church’s culture is singular. His teaching, vision, modeling and prayers influence the church more than any other. I encourage senior pastors to preach sermons that call men to fully surrender to Jesus Christ. Churches need to promote events where men feel connected and develop “iron sharpening iron” relationships. Pastors would do well to use stories, illustrations and language that relate to men and tangibly sends the message, “You fit in here, I am one of you, and follow me as I follow Christ.” Above all else, preach Jesus as the ultimate masculine role model. If the men in your community want to know what it means to be a man, point them to Jesus. We are a prayer-covered church. I assume that prayer plays a significant role in your church.
Psalm 127:1 states, “That unless the Lord builds the house, those who build, build in vain.” Prayer invites God to build His Church. My question is, “Are your prayers targeting the salvation, deliverance, restoration, discipleship, and leadership-multiplication of men?” Praying for revival among men needs to be a contagious effort.
Recruit a dedicated band of men to join you in praying for the men of your church. I lead a weekly gathering of prayer warriors who focus on the men of our church. We are convinced that the spiritual condition of our men affects our entire congregation. So we pray regularly and passionately for the Lord to anoint His men with the Spirit and raise them up as warriors for Christ. We are a gospel-centered church. The gospel is the power of God for salvation. What men need most is salvation from sin’s consequences and dominion, and only the gospel can deliver this. The gospel is the message that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. This message must be preached over and over again. At Sunday services, small groups, retreats, BBQs, poker nights, sporting events, fishing trips, anytime we gather men, we preach the gospel.
Healthy and growing churches are gospel-centered. Ask yourself and your church, how often and how clearly do we preach the gospel? Do we see an ever-increasing company of men being added to our church because they heard the gospel, believed its message and were saved? We are a discipleship-targeted church. Discipleship is calling lost people to salvation in Christ and equipping them with the Biblical tools for spiritual growth and multiplication. Our ministry philosophy has three discipleship phases: winning, building and sending men for Christ. This means we need to have specific pathways for each phase of discipleship. Men need both a goal and a plan to reach the goal. The goal of the “winning” phase of discipleship is men coming to salvation in Christ.
Does your church offer multiple pathways for a man to connect with other men and hear the gospel? Do you have a strategic plan that answers the question, “How are we engaging lost men in our community and leading them to Christ?” The second discipleship phase is “building.” The goal is teaching men to obey the commands of Jesus so that they grow to spiritual maturity. Does your church have multiple entry points where a man can get into the Word of God, join a small group or be mentored by another man? Building men in the faith involves teaching the Bible basics and practical transferable concepts for being a self-feeder in the Word. The third discipleship phase is “sending.” The goal is for a man to discover his spiritual gifts, develop a heart for evangelism and be empowered to reproduce himself spiritually.
Men must be called and equipped to be spiritual leaders if the church is ever going to fulfill the Great Commission. How are men in your church recruited, trained and deployed to change the world? As senior pastors, we need to ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest. Alongside of our prayers, we need to develop strategies designed to win, build and send men. The Church is the hope of the world and men are the hope of the church. God is looking is for men. God is looking for you. Will you be like Isaiah, in Isaiah 6:8 and say to the Lord, “Here am I, send me!”