It’s such an amazing privilege to be involved in the spiritual healing of other people.
All I do is to share a handful of stories, and read some out-of-this-world-beautiful scripture passages, and share some honest observations from my heart. And people listen. They listen and sometimes they laugh, and sometimes they weep – often at the same time.
The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. – (Romans 8:26)
So I’m here, at the United Methodist Men’s conference, and the leaders are concerned because men aren’t coming to the event in the kind of numbers that they used to. You know, “back in the day.”
WHERE ARE THE MEN? People are worried. They want to know about something that’s going to attract a larger attendance. Maybe some marketing strategies. You know, “Something that the younger crowd can relate to…”
Now I’m no consultant (or maybe I am?), but I told them my 2-cents worth and it isn’t about facebook or “hip” speakers, or even the music (because, while the praise band this weekend may all be significantly older than me, they do rock).
Here’s my 2-cents. This group is, quite simply, aging out. Seriously, most of the decline in attendance is due to funerals and failing health. And they’re not growing because – by and large – I believe they stopped reaching out.
EACH ONE BRING ONE: Somewhere along the way the guys in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s forgot that the key concept in sustainability is replication. I wonder – and I think I’m going to ask this question sometime later today – how many of the men attending this conference have any “spiritual children?” Because – and this is a no-brainer in sociology, when the birth rate falls below a key number, then the population begins to spiral down.
How many of us know someone who is either out of the spiritual loop completely, or hovering on the periphery, ready to either fall off or fall back in? So what are we doing about it? You gave their name to the pastor? Really? Surely you can do better than that!
- One of the most important elements of being a disciple is discipling someone else.
REACH OUT A LITTLE: A recent study demonstrated that the quality of the preaching or the friendliness of the congregation or the energy of the music may possibly get a visitor to return to church once, or twice. But the only factor that consistently leads to long-term commitment of newcomers is the encouragement of in-the-pew peers who are willing to come alongside, and “do life” together.
If every man who voiced concern about men’s ministry followed up by intentionally and faithfully discipling a younger man, then the ministry would grow.
If every disciple encouraged a discouraged church member they saw falling away, or introduced an unchurched friend to Jesus, then the Kingdom that Jesus talked about with such passion would flourish.
ENCOURAGE: I’m going to have a great weekend. I’m going to inspire and encourage and hopefully bless these men. But the future of the men’s ministry, if they want one at all, is going to have to be an inside job.
I like this post of encouragement! It’s a matter of implementing of love and faith through our actions; taking our positive commitment of following Jesus by sharing it with other men of all ages, all backgrounds…and all faiths; making ‘extreme faith-bold action’ a daily part of ‘the life-charged life’!
Nice bringing together all the good buzz-words in one sentence!