I am going to shift my focus in my posts for a little bit toward an area of ministry that I was called into a number of years ago. It is a ministry to and through men that I have been involved in for 30 plus years. I feel privileged to have worked (and continue to work) with a number of fellow brothers in Christ in this ministry, but us men are not always an easy target to attain related to walking with and encouraging men towards maturity in their spiritual life.
An area of ministry that God called me into way before I even went from the world of horticulture into ministry was that of ministering to and through men. I have been encouraging and challenging men to step up to their role as Christ’s men through small groups, small accountability “table” meetings, one on one interactions, and now most recently through my position as a men’s coaching pastor for a regional men’s ministry organization. Part of what helps me in that role is to stay connected to that ministry at the local church level. So I have the continuing privilege to engage men at our church in important discussions as to how to continue as men seeking God and growing in our purpose. However, one of the ongoing frustrations is that it feels like a continual chasing men down to get them to avail themselves of this in their life… kind of feels like one of those times when driving somewhere before the advent of the gps and I got lost (and of course it hardly ever happened), and the hardest thing to do was to pull over and ask someone for directions. Think about that in the spiritual or relational aspect of a man’s life… how many men are lost but are not willing to ask for directions?
Let’s think a little more about that driving and getting lost thing (from the few times I can remember) what typically happened is that after wandering for a while we would get to the point (and of course came to that point through a very controlled conversation) where we had exhausted all our options and were still lost(or at least I had… Cindy had probably already suggested an obvious way to resolve the problem). Yes it was the stopping at that local gas station (or whatever place of business) and go (dare I say it) ask for directions. But, of course, I would often plead with Cindy to be the one to go in and ask. Now for this scenario the downside was either being late or never getting to where you were headed. But what are the spiritual or relational implications of this? How many times is the marriage already too far gone?? Or maybe the negative impact of a father’s lack of a spiritual walk, already have his children heading in a wrong direction.
Why is it, that asking and seeking direction, in our lives can be such a difficult process? What causes us (and maybe more so men) to want to have all the answers first before doing and finding a place of obedience, or in effect to go it on our own. Now, of course, we are taking a look at the bigger picture of life. For those who have bought into and become part of following of Christ, we need to look at this in the realm of spiritual direction. I am not suggesting that we don’t do some work on this direction thing on our own… but God has also provided this wonderful thing called a community … to explore with (and wrestle if you will). And in fact as Christ followers, as we are called into Christian leadership, we are reminded in Christian maturity we will be led into places we would rather not go (which definitely suggests we can’t have it all mapped out). We need to simply be obedient and follow the master!! And He counsels us through His word… as well as through people He puts in our lives.
From His word in Proverbs 1 we hear this warning about not listening to that counsel……
Since you laugh at my counsel
and make a joke of my advice,
How can I take you seriously?
I’ll turn the tables and joke about your troubles!
What if the roof falls in,
and your whole life goes to pieces?
What if catastrophe strikes and there’s nothing
to show for your life but rubble and ashes?
You’ll need me then. You’ll call for me, but don’t expect
No matter how hard you look, you won’t find me.