Are You Reaching Men’s Heads, Hearts, and Hands?
Today, there is a lot of discussion about what it means to be a disciple. At Man in the Mirror, we use this simple definition: a disciple is someone who is called to live in Christ, equipped to live like Christ, and sent to live for Christ.
But we also want to help you think about your ministry’s approach to the ongoing process of discipleship. Ultimately, a man is not a mature disciple until the truth of the gospel is understood, believed, and lived out in his life. In No Man Left Behind, we use three key words to help us remember this concept:
Head (The Intellectual Level)
Men must first understand the truth of the gospel. Recognizing the Bible as their source of truth, they need to grow in their knowledge of God’s character and how He wants them to live.
Sometimes, a ministry puts all their emphasis on head knowledge. While having a firm foundation and good theology is essential to the Christian life, if every discipleship opportunity offered only has a teaching focus, we may produce men with “big heads” but very small hearts and hands—men who understand the gospel at a head level but haven’t allowed it to penetrate their hearts or impact their behavior.
Heart (The Emotional Level)
Men need to have a growing conviction that the gospel is true and that God can be trusted. Real trust requires more than just knowledge; it comes from an emotional connection to Christ.
Think about those whom you trust the most. Do you just know about them or do you truly know them in relationship and have an emotional connection with them? It’s the same with Christ.
For men to become disciples, their knowledge has to then impact their worldview, causing a shift so that they begin to see things from a biblical perspective, based on what they believe and where they place the core affections of their hearts.
Sometimes, a ministry puts too much emphasis on emotion. In this case, men can come to God mainly for an emotional “fix.” Instead of serving God with all of their lives, they base their Christian experience mainly on their feelings, which quickly prove unreliable.
Hands (The Behavioral Level)
To really understand the truth of the gospel at the deepest level, you have to put it into practice. For example, it would be unlikely that we could really understand Jesus’ teaching about the poor until we do something to help a person in poverty.
To help men live as disciples, we must always strive to give them the opportunity to live out what they are learning through our ministry.
Sometimes, however, a ministry puts too much emphasis on performance, behavior, or duty. When this persists, men will define Christianity mainly in terms of whether they are fulfilling a certain set of rules or expectations. This easily becomes a “works-based” righteousness that will eventually alienate a person from God and His grace. It’s what Paul warns the Galatians about again and again—trading the beauty of the gospel of grace for the law that only brings death.
The Head, Heart, and Hands of a Disciple
In your ministry to men, strive for a balanced approach so that men learn the truth at all three of these levels.
Take a minute to consider all of the ways your church interacts with men. Make a list of all the opportunities they have to grow as a disciple of Jesus in each of the three ways above.
Here are some examples to help you brainstorm:
- Head: Sunday School, New Members Class, Apologetics
- Heart: Small Groups, Application-Based Bible Study, Sharing of Testimony
- Hands: Jail Ministry, Habitat for Humanity, Youth Mentoring Program
Now look over your list. Are your ministry’s current efforts balanced? In which of these three ways do you need to offer men more opportunities to engage with the gospel?
Pray that God would lead you in helping men grow in what they know, what they believe, and how they live it out—becoming spiritually-mature disciples who then help other men become the same.