Excerpt #2. Our Marching Orders
NOTE: In conjunction with the release of our new book about men’s discipleship ministry, No Man Left Behind, we are going to publish 12 excerpts to give you a taste of the book. This one is from the middle of Chapter 2.
The Numbers Aren’t Pretty
There are 108 million men in America over the age of 15. Of those, 66 million – 61% – make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ whatsoever. Therefore, barely more than a third of the men in America indicate they are followers of Christ.
So is the church doing a good job with the men who are there? Of the 42 million men who profess faith in Christ, only an estimated 6 million men are involved in any kind of ongoing or intentional discipleship program. That’s one in seven of those who profess faith in Christ, and only one out of 18 men in America who are learning about the truth of the gospel.
Figure 1- 1 – Approximate Breakdown of American Men By Level of Spiritual Development
Imagine taking 18 men down to a ball field and giving them helmets, bats, balls, and gloves. Now imagine that only one of them had ever seen a baseball game. It would be chaos! Men would be sword-fighting, throwing balls at other men, and chasing one another around the field. That’s what is happening in our culture today.
Start With the Men
Reducing divorce, fatherlessness, crime, and other societal problems will not come from social reforms alone. They will come from spiritual reforms. What we need is nothing less than a moral and spiritual reformation of society.
Think about this for a moment: is there any way we can get society right if we don’t first get the church right? If that is true, then is there any way we can get the church right if we don’t first get families right? And if that is true, is there any way we can
gathered around himself twelve regular men, and together they changed the world.
The Mission: Our Marching Orders
Matthew 28 contains the single most effective speech ever delivered. More millions of people and billions of dollars have been mobilized by this speech than any other in human history:
Who would have thought this brief speech, given to a ragtag group of men, most of whom had probably never been more than 45 miles or so from their homes, would have resulted in billions of people following Jesus Christ? Who were these guys? They were men just like the ones you have at your church:
Jesus discipled these men and they changed the world. If you will disciple the men of your church to follow Christ, what will happen? Marriages will improve, then families, then the church, and finally the world.
The church is already lacking men. In most churches, women outnumber men by as much as two to one.1 Think about it: why would God give us more men when we are doing such an inadequate job of discipling the ones we have? And why would a man want to go to a church where the men he sees look almost identical to the ones who don’t go?
We need to start with men. They need to be discipled. If they aren’t, they will eventually find something else to hold their attention.
For the glory of Christ and no other reason,
1 “U.S. Congregational Life Survey: What Are the Major Challenges That U.S. Congregations Face?” 26 October 2002, www.uscongregations.org/key.htm#congregations.