A Church’s Example of Targeting Men

If you have followed me for any time, you will know I often talk about targeting men in the local church. Well, recently, I was invited to attend a one-night men’s conference, and I want to give a shout-out to Temple Baptist Church in New Bern, NC, for being about targeting their men.

From the time I walked in the door to the time I left, Temple was targeting me as a man. Everywhere I looked, I saw indications they believe men are important in the church’s life.

When I walked into the lobby or vestibule, as known in some churches, I saw two large TVs with slides on the walls on each side of the doors leading into the Worship Center. One had information about a men’s retreat the church was encouraging men to attend in a month.

The other TV had a large title on the screen that said: “Men Getting Connected.” It listed studies men could participate in, such as a Deep Bible Study Group, Mixed Issues including Pornography, and Chemical Dependency. They also listed activities men could be involved with, such as a Men’s Work Day and Sports ministry. Then the screen listed several coed classes men could lead their families to attend.

Another TV on the other side of the lobby had information on another conference men could participate in case they couldn’t participate in the one mentioned earlier.

They didn’t stop there. When I walked into the restrooms, they had signs displayed predominately at any place a man may stand, providing information encouraging men to participate in activities.

I often ask leaders when men visit your church how would they answer this question about men, “Here men are (Blank).”  When I left Temple Baptist Church that evening, it was no doubt in my mind I would answer that question with “Here, men are important.”

I asked the Men’s Ministry Leadership Team Leader Jerry Ramsey why it was essential to target and engage the men. He stated, “God expects us as men, whom He has ordained, to step forward and lead. I want to help men realize their rightful place in their family, the church, and the community through the example in Jesus Christ and God’s Word.”

Leaders, if you truly want to target and engage your men, you not only need to have discipling opportunities for the men to partake but everywhere they turn they need to see something about men displayed. They need to hear the pastors talking about men and they need to be reading about men.

You can have many men participating invisibly in various ministries of the church, but if men do not visibly see the church speaking to men, they will walk out the door after visiting, saying, “Here, men are not important or just a nuisance.”

Another observation I had while visiting Temple Baptist Church was when I sat at a table with five men from the church. I asked them two questions. What drew them to the church, and what has kept them here? To a man, their answer to both questions was the men’s ministry and small groups.

When they walked into the church, they saw the church was about connecting with men.

I want to encourage you to evaluate how your church connects with the men who attend the church? Is it visible? Or do the men have to decide to attend regularly before discovering how the church connects with men?

My prayer is that from the moment they walk in the door, men feel valued and important to the church’s ministry.

I pray you will join me in the challenge and adventure to disciple every man.

What Are You Conformed To?

This week I have been reading in Ezekiel 11.  It is a continuation of the episode titled, “Are You Hard-Headed for the Gospel?” but with a different perspective.

In chapter 11, we see that God is speaking to Ezekiel about the people of Israel and shares some observations and warnings. In v12, God reminds the Israelites they have not followed Him by keeping His laws and have conformed to the standards of the nations around them.

How many of us – men – have allowed ourselves to be conformed to this world in many areas of our lives. We have not followed God’s instructions and trained ourselves in righteousness, allowing the Holy Spirit to conform us into the image of God.

Our spiritual growth is referred to as the process of sanctification. This includes two aspects, 1) becoming less like what we were before we came to Christ and 2) becoming more like Jesus.

The Bible says in Romans 12:2,

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

If you are not changing but continue to conform to this world, you need to evaluate yourself to discover where you stand in your relationship with God. The Bible says in Lamentations 3:40 that we need to examine ourselves and return to the Lord.

We should strive to be more like Jesus every day, follow His instructions, and apply His teachings to our lives. The Bible says in John 14:15 that Jesus said,

If you love me, you will obey my commandments.

God told Ezekiel that after scattering the Israelites because of their rebellious and obstinate ways, He will gather them back. And when they return, they will remove all the vile images and detestable idols. Do you have any detestable idols in your life? And recognize that an idol does not have to be a stature, it could be your job or any processions you may have.

God said He would give them an undivided heart or a heart of unity. He will put a new spirit in them or a sensible spirit. And He would remove the heart of stone and give them a tender and reponsive heart.

Then they will follow God’s decrees and be careful to keep His laws.

The Bible says in Ezekiel 11 20 that God said,

They will be my people, and I will be their God.

Men!  Are you still being conformed by this world, or are you being transformed by the renewing of your mind?

Are you putting away vile and detestable acts, or are you holding on to them, resulting in a stunted spiritual growth or possibly no growth at all?

The bible says in Ezekiel 11:21 that if we continue to hold on to these things, it will bring about destruction on our lives.

Will you hold to the promise of God in Ezekiel 3:19, giving you an undivided heart, putting a new spirit within you, and softening your heart so that you can follow His decrees and be careful to keep His commandments?

The Bible says in Joshua 1:8,

Do not let this Book of the Law (the Bible for us) depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.

I pray, men, this is your desire. The only way we can follow God’s instructions and to train ourselves in righteousness is to be in the Word of God.

Well, I pray that you will join me in the challenge and adventure to disciple every man.

Are You Hard-Headed for the Gospel?

This week I have been reading in Ezekiel 3. There is a word here for men as they continue their walk with the Lord and want to live the life that God desires for them.

God had called Ezekiel to be a watchman for the nation of Israel while in exile and had given him a word to preach. God told Ezekiel in verses 8-9,

8But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house.” (NIV)

First, we need to understand who they are, who apparently has a hard head. God is talking about the nation of Israel and their rebellious attitude. The Hebrew word used here for “hard” means “strong, usually in a bad sense, hard, bold, violent.” The people in exile were being stubborn in their behavior.  God was sending Ezekiel to the Israelites to warn them of their behavior, both those who were being wicked and those who were righteous.

God told Ezekiel He would make him as unyielding and hardened as they are in his mission to warn them of their behavior. In other words, God was making Ezekiel as hard-headed as those he would be speaking.

Men, what I take from this is that we, too, need to be unyielding and hardened toward the gospel message. We need to be like Ezekiel in our mission to warn this world of their behavior and how it has separated them from knowing God.

It first begins with our family. As Dad’s, it is our God-given responsibility to train our children. The Bible says in Ephesians 6:4,

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (NIV)

The word exasperate is also translated as “provoke,” which means to anger or enrage” your children.

The Bible also teaches us that the words we speak to our children will determine their destiny. Proverbs 18:21 says,

“The tongue has the power of life and death.” (NIV)

So are you going to speak life in your child’s life, or are you going to speak condemnation? I cannot imagine any Dad as a Believer who would want to speak anything but life, training them and instructing them in the Lord.

Then we need to be prepared to speak to those we meet in our daily endeavors. The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:15,

“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.” (NIV)

I pray you are hard-headed for the gospel, and you will not allow anything to deter you from speaking the truth of the gospel. Starting with your family, then into the world.

Ezekiel was assigned the responsibility to warn the people of Israel while they were in exile. We are given the responsibility to tell those we meet daily about God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ.

God told Ezekiel that their blood would be on his hands if he did not warn the Israelites about their behavior.  If he did, he was not responsible for their demise if they chose not to turn back to God.

All of us will eventually answer to God for what we say and do. That means we must take responsibility for our actions rather than blame others or make excuses.

So, men stand for the truth of the Word of God and be hard-headed – but in a gentle and respectful way.

Remember men, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 16:13,

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (ESV)

To the challenge and adventure to disciple every man – Mike

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