Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. – 1 Peter 3:15
Well that was fun! Yesterday evening I “guested” on The Catalyst, a “BBM Global Network” satellite/Internet radio show that airs Wednesday evenings at 9:00 EST.
I enjoyed a one-hour live conversation with show host Katie Alexander. Katie is a Christian Church/DOC pastor in Texas who has taken her passion for “the art of civil conversation” to radio. Here’s how she describes the show:
“Each week we will address a new topic … a hot topic … ripped right from the headlines … but with a different purpose … we are going to tackle tough topics and strive to play nicely with others. In a society and culture wrapped up in winning, that’s difficult and almost impossible today. Folks, we have lost the art of civil conversation and the ability to agree to disagree … which is ironic, given that we are a people committed to the freedom of speech.”
Katie invited me for the interview because she is familiar with my work, enjoys this blog, and really likes my books. She scheduled a show focused on “Real Faith For Men,” and my theory that what churches widely advertise as “manly” (and that characterizes many men’s ministry resources) often has little to do with “the image of God” we were created to carry.
She asked good questions, demonstrated a real understanding of my writing, and let the conversation chart its own course. The hour turned out to be much shorter than I had imagined, and – probably depending on audience response – I believe we still have a lot to discuss.
OUT THERE: For me (as a writer who spends a lot of time tapping on a keyboard in my quiet study) getting in front of real people, and having the opportunity to talk about living faith in real-time, is the fuel that gives meaning to my work, and keeps me grounded in reality.
And this week has been full with such opportunity:
- Tuesday evening’s “virtual” group, meeting on the phone with men’s ministry leaders from Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina.
- Wednesday evening’s Bible-study covenant group, with ten men from WFPC.
- Wednesday evening’s talk-radio interview.
- This morning’s coffee and conversation meeting with one of the men at our church…
This is where “the rubber meets the road” in men’s ministry. We have to be in dialogue in real-time; we must “do life” together; we need inviting questions, vulnerability, open hearts, accountability, and deep discussion; growth demands constant engagement, invitation, listening, love, belonging…
Katie asked me about the difference between membership and discipleship. I mentioned some of the principles I covered in “How Ministry is Different to Volunteering” – But then another thing I could have said was that, “Member points to an organizational affiliation; whereas disciple describes who we are, what we are doing, where we are going, and who is our Lord.“
Following Jesus really isn’t something that we can do alone – and that’s especially true for men.