I was having a lively conversation recently with a few men that sit at a table together on a regular basis at a local restaurant and enjoy some breakfast together and work through a book together (one win about this is that it gets men to read books!!). Part of that lively discussion was around some of the aspects of church that seem to be good (and really are) but just aren’t going far enough.  The thing we kept looking at was the value of the attractional style church in getting people to come to church services… and maybe even get baptized, but then the struggles to help many of these folks move further on in their walk…


Then I read this important reminder from Robert Coleman in his classic book on discipleship – The Master Plan of Evangelism

  “We must always remember, too, that the goal is world conquest. We dare not let a lesser concern capture our strategy of the moment.  All too many times one has been brought to the place of service only to be discharged with no further training or inspiration.  The result is that the activity becomes localized in a feverish round of excitement.  There is no growth. The potential ability resident in the worker is not developed, and before long a promising leader is spoiled for want of supervision.  Success is lost on the eve of victory. What once looked so good eventually becomes a stumbling stone to the best.
   Undoubtedly much of our effort for the Kingdom is dissipated for this reason.  We fail, not because we do not try to do something, but because we let our little efforts become an excuse for not doing more.  The result is that we lose by default the advantage of years of hard work and sacrifice.
   When will we learn the lesson of Christ is not to be satisfied merely with the firstfruits of those who are sent out to witness?  Disciples must be brought to maturity.  There can be no substitute for total victory, and our field is the world.  We have not been called to hold the fort, but to storm the heights.  It is in this light that the final step in Jesus’ strategy of evangelism can be understood”


As I finish off this year of blogs in which relational ministry including mentoring, spiritual parenting, real life together groups, and all that is included in being pilgrims journeying together has been a theme that I hope you could see running through them.  I feel this challenge and encouragement from Coleman is at the foundation of helping His church move forward.

As I continue to have the privilege to stoke men’s ministry… to and through men… I am continually encouraging and (yes) pushing those seasoned veterans to either get in the game or get back in the game.  Not as men who have all the answers, but rather men who have experienced life and seen God move in ways that so many younger (or less experienced men in the journey) can see and then ultimately move into.  I truly believe if Coleman’s challenge to us of not doing more is to be met, it will need to be met by these men (and women) not who have completed their work on being mature disciples (that work will continue throughout our lives), but are further down the road and can encourage others forward.  In essence many of those who are further down the road and stopped in their development, because they aren’t doing this.

“The greatest need in our world today is simply this:  godly men and women who possess and display a quality of life that reflects the character of God, and that provokes curiosity in others about how they too can know God.”

                                                                                          Larry Crabb  from Men of Courage


If that concept cannot only be grasped but be lived out more and more then Larry Crabb’s dream from the same book could be more realized….

” If we can recognize the path to spiritual maturity, if we can identify and respond to the appetite for Christ placed within us by God’s Spirit, then perhaps thirty years from now my dream for a generation of mentors might come true.  Think of it!!  Spiritual fathers and mothers, godly brothers and sisters, creating communities of people who care about outsiders and draw those outside the circle into something they’ve never known but have always wanted.  Communities of people whose passion for Christ is stronger than their grudges, their competition for recognition, and their jealous feelings.  Christians who have been mentored for long seasons of time by spiritual fathers and mothers, and who – as a result – are so consumed with knowing Christ better that they hang in there through the messiness of community and never give up on themselves or others, because they know that Christ hasn’t given up – and never will.  They have seen him in their mentors.”

                                                                                          Larry Crabb in Men of Courage

The call is out there for His Church!!  and it is coming from many different voices, but it will require listening to, wrestling with, and then putting in motion this effort!!  Not under our own compulsion, but as we partner more and more with the work of Christ.







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