Saturday, January 24, 2009

You should be nervous about following Jesus...

This morning I was invited to teach a workshop - "Designing a Men's Group for the 21st Century" - at the Presbytery of Tampa Bay's "Super-Saturday for Leadership." I led an hour-and-a-half class and was able to form some solid connections with men from a dozen different Presbyterian churches.

Each and every guy who showed up for my class this morning was there because they sense a serious disconnect between most men "in the pew" and the passion and purpose that should define the life of a Christian in their local church. "Is it enough," they were asking, "for men to show up a couple of Sundays out of the month, shake hands, exchange a few anecdotes about their favorite sports teams and return to business as usual the rest of the week?"

We don't have time for an extended in depth "Why men don't get anything out of church" conversation in this space... but there are a couple of things I just have to say.
  • Church is not supposed to be a club for people who want to be "in" with God - The Church is a body of people who have made a commitment to follow Jesus and to let the power of the resurrection transform their lives and the world in which they live.
  • Men who meet together and encourage one another in their faith journeys become a force to be reckoned with.
  • The only possible way to design a men's group for the 21st Century (or at least one that is worth starting) is to begin on our knees, and to begin a more serious spiritual journey ourselves... before asking one, or maybe two, others to join us in humble prayer for the work of our local congregation. Then, when two or three are so gathered and so directed by the Spirit, the small group can begin to grow...
  • It only takes a small group of people, seriously turned on to Jesus and open to the leading of God through the Spirit, to dynamically transform the spiritual core of a congregation...
So, do you want to be that kind of catalyst in your church? Of course another important question would have to be this: "If you don't want to be that person... then why on earth not?" Although I seriously do understand if you don't want to be that person, because Jesus can be very challenging and uncomfortable-making much of the time. I mean, have you ever read the Gospels? Good grief, Jesus is nowhere close to easy.

Now, going back to the question that came from the Atlanta men just yesterday, what on earth does it mean to be a spiritual man in this 21st Century? How is that supposed to look... and how do I get there?

All I can say is this - "Watch this space!" Maybe we'll learn something, together, as I try to be honest about what God is teaching me from day to day.

Love and blessings - DEREK

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