This past Saturday in Columbia, I presented my last men’s conference for 2017 in my partnership with the South Carolina United Methodist Men’s Ministry. Why South Carolina, you ask? Easy, that’s who invited me. Why the Methodists, you ask? Easy, that’s who invited me. Because of the response, we’re now planning to continue this ministry into next year.
After doing 4 events for them the past 7 months, today, I’d like to share some observations regarding the state of men’s ministry.
Men today are desperately searching for real, practical answers for their temptations and sin. They’re sick of being sick while acting like they are fine and telling everyone they are.
It doesn’t matter the color of their skin or their income status, no matter where I go, after I speak on the tough issues regarding purity in this Internet age, I have men from 19 to 83 and all ages in between thank me for speaking openly about these topics. It’s like passing out cold water bottles in the desert. So many men walk in hopeless, defeated, and beaten up from their own guilt and shame and are grateful to hear that Jesus’ words in Mark 10:27 are indeed still a reality today—“with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Men today are no longer interested in going to a church to eat pancakes at 7:00 on Saturday morning, even though it still happens every week all over this country.
Most of the guys I talk to know IHOP is a better meal and there’s no guilt there. And they also aren’t interested in just going to another event that feels like a different version of the Sunday morning service. They don’t want more surface talk in the sanctuary. One of the biggest ministries I see at my events is a guy realizing for the very first time at 35 or 45 or 55 or even 65 that he is not alone in the battles. It is simply amazing how isolated and alone the average American Christian male feels.
Men today at every age desperately need to be reminded, encouraged, and inspired that God wouldn’t have given them wives, children, grandchildren, careers, finances, gifts, and talents if he didn’t believe they are worth it and capable of leading in their circles of influence.
It is a privilege to tell them, “God believes in you, regardless of your level of faith in Him.” It is always amazing to look a very diverse room full of guys in the eye, remind them who they are in Christ, that they are His sons so the sky is the limit on what they can accomplish in His name, and then watch them act like its a brand new message. Why? Well, because for far too many, it is the first time they have heard it, or maybe just the first time they have listened.
When you watch the news in these deeply troubled times, the vast majority of the chaos being caused today, nationally and internationally, is by young men desperately looking for a purpose for their lives. Many are willing to die for a lie. So they must be told that they can live for the truth.
Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it.” It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.” But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? … But not everybody is ready for this, ready to see and hear and act. Isaiah asked what we all ask at one time or another: “Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?” The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to. —Romans 10:12-17 MSG