Yesterday evening two more people made the commitment to join my men's group for the "Quiet Strength" study; it brings the number to 16. It's the perfect number for the mixture of lecture, round-table discussion and break-out groups I'm utilizing for the 8-week class.
Once in a while I get invited to speak at churches, retreats and conferences - it's a direct result of the book-writing thing. A lot of people make the assumption that because I write I can also speak in public. So I accept the invitations to help dispel the misnomer; I'm fairly cheap so it'll save them money in the long run! I like to think of it as a public service.
Anyway, one observation I often share with men's ministry folk is the strong correlation between the visibility of enthusiastic men and the overall health of a faith-community.
A lot of statistics tend to get thrown around regarding church vitality: the percentage of membership in weekly attendance; Sunday-school enrollment; ten-year trends; median age; annual baptisms; professions of faith...
But a key demographic, I believe, is the number of men of work-force age (25-70) who both identify themselves and "live out loud" as proactive followers of Jesus Christ.
I'm not talking about men who "admire" Jesus; I'm talking about men who understand what it means to be a disciple, actively follow Jesus, and who are not afraid to let their love for God be known.
It's one of the reason's I'm so committed to leading my Wednesday evening men's group. It's a place where we study God's word, pray together, talk about our lives, and encourage one-another to live each and every day as Jesus-followers.
What makes this gathering so powerful is - in my understanding - the foundational principle that we were created with a God-purpose in mind. Living God-centric lives is the most natural thing in the world, because kingdom living (see yesterday's post) is written into our spiritual DNA.
Simply put, I'm thrilled to be involved in a ministry that leads men into a deeper walk with Christ.
Any way you look at it, the presence of a core-group of guys who are excited about Jesus is key to the overall health of any faith-community.
If you don't have such a group, start one right away. What happens will in all likelihood change your church for ever.
Love and blessings - DEREK