‘Each next risk is the biggest one’: James MacDonald talks with Mark Driscoll
Wed May 22, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
From prison to ReTrain: Russell’s story
Mon May 20, 2013
9 types of leaders in Scripture
Mon May 20, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
5 bits of wisdom for the professional Christian woman
Sun May 19, 2013
by Shandel Slaten
Men: Bucking the Trend, Part 1
I ended my last post with the following bold suggestion: we have created church environments that are effeminate-positively off-putting for most real guys. Let me look at a few ways in which we have allowed this state of affairs and then propose some moderate steps of improvement (though the real men will despise my moderation; here's hoping anyway).
Do you have a church prayer meeting? Who comes? Are there lots of men? Would you go if you weren't the leader? Often these are attended by women (whose husbands "sent" them), a few faithful men, and a handful of "eccentrics." I am extremely glad for all the women attending our weekly prayer meetings, but I am haunted by Paul's words: "I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling." (1 Timothy 2:8) A robust prayer meeting is a place to see true masculinity on display. If that seems unlikely go back and read Acts. In fact, I was so eager to aim for this that when it came to launching our Saturday morning prayer meeting a couple of years back, I started with just men. I wanted a manly meeting, so I handpicked some blokes to join me each week at eight o'clock in the morning-about 25 to start with. For a while it grew unofficially under the radar, like a Gnostic cult (except the pastor was running it). I'd have guys in their twenties trembling and whispering the request, "I have heard about this prayer meeting. Do you, ahem, mind if I join?" I'd say, "Who told YOU about it?!" It felt like the movie Fight Club where the one rule is, "No one talks about Fight Club." Some called the meeting "Prayer Club!" It was perfect: a testosterone-fuelled and Holy Spirit-filled set up for the weekend, and when we got the momentum we wanted, we knew we were ready to invite the whole church. Now, I am usually confident that guys will take a strong lead, praying for the gospel to be successful every week in our city (we barely ever get knocked off this focus). And if key guys are not vocal, they get mercilessly picked on afterwards! Intentionally gather guys to seek God. They will rise to it, and the church will follow.
Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was asked publicly why the churches of his day had so few young men in the pews. He instantly shot back, "Because there are so many old women in the pulpits." Preaching should either send men away angry or turn them in heartfelt repentance. The one thing it must not do, but too often does, is dull them. Jesus gathered men by preaching straight, and so did Chrysostom, Luther, Wesley, Spurgeon, Moody, and Billy Graham. If you want to reach men, follow their example and preach boldly. Men get nauseated by preachers who apologize for every point they make, sharing platitudes and leaving sinful get-out clauses for every application. My favourite encouragements come from guys who spend the first two-thirds of the sermon wanting to hurt me, and then come to repentance before the day is over. It means a great deal more than, "That was a nice talk."