But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. – James 1:22-25
Enough with the excuses!
I’ve just about “had it” with all this talk, all these articles, all these books, all this excuse-making about: “Why men don’t go to church;” “Why men hate going to church;” “The feminization of faith;” “When women lead, men recede;” “What the church needs to do to ‘attract’ more men;” etcetera, etcetera, etcetera….
I’ve thought about this trendy way of thinking, and I’ve prayed about it, and I’ve engaged in conversations and debates, and – more and more – I believe it’s nothing more than excuses. Here’s what I believe: If you are a Christian man, and you have stopped going to church, then what has happened is, quite simply, that you have declined the invitation to be a disciple of Jesus.
Think about that for a moment. You have declined the invitation to be a disciple of Jesus.
The key idea in a faith that has traction is intention. The most important element in discipleship is practice. The place where the rubber meets the road for followers of Jesus is daring, action, the courage to actually put one foot in front of the other and to live faith out loud.
It’s not the fault of whatever church you’re not attending that you have made such a poor decision. You won’t be able to stand before God one day and say, “Well I would have followed Jesus, but I didn’t find the preacher’s messages entertaining enough.” Or, “My church was too liberal (or too conservative).” Or, “If they’d had a biker ministry going on then maybe it would have been worth staying.” Or, “Those ministry initiatives were being led by women, but I’m sexist so that wouldn’t work for me.” Or, “I don’t agree with their stand on divorce/social justice/gays/women in leadership.” Or, “I’m a man of action, they weren’t giving me anything interesting to do…”
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah….
Do something already!
- Following Jesus is a choice.
- Being a disciple is a series of daily, sometimes hourly, decisions.
- Serving God in the context of the local church means listening, and then responding to God’s insistent call to ministry.
- And – just maybe – your dissatisfaction with the ministry offerings and service opportunities at your church is in fact God’s call for you to step into leadership and make something happen!
At our church, when someone comes into the senior pastor’s office and says, “Why don’t we have such-and-such going on?” she typically responds with, “It sounds like God is calling you to make that happen.” And then there will be prayer, training, support, and resources to go along with the challenge.
Imagine what God will do when, instead of blaming other Christians, more men showed some manly initiative and followed God’s consistent calling to get involved? That’s what men are doing at WFPC, and it’s inspirational!
- So you think that you know a few guys who would enjoy riding their Harley to a men’s Bible study? Bring the idea to your pastor, or an elder, get yourself trained to lead, and personally invite those men to follow Jesus with you.
- You’re tired of that men’s breakfast with nothing more than a blessing and sports talk? Invite two or three of your friends to launch a Bible-study group with you, hook yourself up with small group training, and make it happen.
- Is God challenging you to take a risk and get involved with the homeless? Do what one of my fpcBrandon friends did and make some lunches, invite someone to go out with you, and meet these folk where they live. This evolved into a vibrant weekly ministry involving 10-15 church members willing to work hard, get their hands dirty, and be the presence of Jesus to those in need.
In other words, stop being so negative, and take a few steps forward to follow Jesus. But don’t do this by yourself, invite other men to join you. Pray until the knees wear out in your pants. And then that church you were going to walk away from, and like to bad-mouth so much, will have become a different place – not in spite of you, but because of you.
Be a disciple already! – DEREK
Read more about men’s ministry by reading any of Derek’s books: Books by Derek Maul
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.