Leading Men to the Truly Abundant Life
Will you partner with us to bring hope and life to men and their loved ones? Here’s what P.T. Barnum, COVID shutdowns, and 35 years of ministry have taught us about the key to living an abundant life in Christ.
By Brett Clemmer
President & CEO
I went to a small liberal arts school outside of Boston that had a very strange mascot. We were the Tufts Jumbos. As in, Jumbo the elephant, from the Barnum & Bailey Circus. We were the Jumbos because P.T. Barnum was actually one of the early patrons of our school.
Ol’ Phineas T. Barnum was famous for many things, not all of them noble. Legend has it that inside one of his attractions he set up a booth next to a flap in the tent. For ten cents, you could step through that flap and see the strange thing on the other side. The sign said, “This way to the egress.”
When customers paid their dime and stepped out into bright sunlight, they found out that “egress” means “exit.”
They had paid to leave.
There are a lot of men today who are paying a price for leaving as well—leaving the church, leaving the faith, leaving their most important relationships, leaving their hopes for the future.
But in John 10:10, Jesus says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
We don’t have to look far to see that most men are not experiencing an abundant life. Too many are falling for the lies of the master conman. Much is being stolen, lies are believed as truth, and their lives—that Jesus meant to give them to the full—are being destroyed.
We see this in our ministry when we hear from men like Jeff*, who wrote to us:
“I am 53 years old, and stupid, useless, worthless, and hopeless. I am isolated from other Christians and at a point where I can’t move forward. Even God remains silent and distant. No wonder so many turn away from God. Neglect doesn’t supply anything. It all leaves me just waiting to die.”
We acutely felt the pain in his words. This is not the abundant life.
The last 20 months have made things worse. In the early months of COVID, we saw not just a major decline in church attendance, but a decline in mental and relational health as well—as substance abuse, suicide, and domestic violence increased. Men—and their families—faced a rush of new stressors brought on by the trifecta of crises: health, social, and economic.
In many ways, these crises didn’t create the issues in men’s lives, but instead, they were like gasoline poured onto a smoldering fire.
In truth, the blaze started long before. Men, already prone to isolation, too often lack what’s needed for an abundant life—things like friendship, guidance, purpose, joy, and peace.
But we have also heard many stories of men around the world kneeling down and stepping up—for their families, for their hurting neighbors, and for their communities. With a spirit of love, power, and self-control, they were voices of calm in the storm that was raging around them.Men, already prone to isolation, too often lack what’s needed for an abundant life—things like friendship, guidance, purpose, joy, and peace.Click To Tweet
One of the men’s leaders we serve, Mark, shared:
“All that Man in the Mirror teaches, our ministry has incorporated. We have had our highs and lows, but 2020 only tightened our relationships and forced us out of our comfort zones to do more discipling with our men in our small groups. We have witnessed miraculous physical healings, marriage restorations, men getting free from addictions, and so much more. Most men do not even realize how hungry they are for this ministry—until they are in it.”
So what makes the difference? These two men—Jeff and Mark—are both believers. They both have put their faith in God; they both believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. They both earnestly desire to live full lives and sense there is more out there. So what brings abundant life for one and not for the other?
THE BIG IDEA: Men need other men to disciple them into the abundant life.
Changing Lives in Christ
At Man in the Mirror, we say that discipleship changes everything, because we’ve seen 35 years of ministry prove it to us.
When men are connected in intentional, spiritual friendships, living vibrant lives in Christ, it transforms everything around them. This organization exists to see every man discipled so that he can have life, and life abundantly.
Life-changing discipleship is the aim of everything we do—
Through our No Man Left Behind training, for example, we’ve equipped more than 17,000 leaders in local churches to build a sustainable, disciple-making ministry for men.
Dozens of Man in the Mirror Area Directors around the country are serving as coaches, consultants, and confidants to church pastors and leaders. It’s changing the way churches engage men! Last year, our survey of these churches showed that the percentage of men engaged in discipleship increases the longer an Area Director works with them—more than doubling after just two years.
Of the more than 120,000 men who have participated in our interactive men’s events, 40,000 surrendered their lives to Christ. And more than 80,000 joined a follow-up small group where they could build the relationships necessary to truly live out their faith.When men are connected in intentional, spiritual friendships, living vibrant lives in Christ, it transforms everything around them.Click To Tweet
Our weekly video Bible Study is watched by thousands of men and groups around the globe—from Canada to Indonesia, New Zealand, to Uganda. They are growing alongside others as they learn to apply the scriptures to their everyday lives.
Each one of our books and workbooks—whether they’re about spiritual disciplines, work, marriage, fathering, or identity—is designed to get men into practical conversations and spiritual self-reflection. Pat Morley often says, “Sometimes a man will get hold of a book, and God will use the book to get hold of the man.”
I’ve seen the Holy Spirit move through a book countless times in the lives of men—I was one of them.
When I first read The Man in the Mirror book more than 20 years ago, before I ever knew about this ministry, I was a workaholic and inadvertently neglecting my family. That book, along with a group of brothers in Christ, changed the course of my life. And since then, we’ve gotten literally millions of books into the hands of men.
As a ministry, we thank God for all that He’s enabled us to do. And yet, we are focused far more on where we’re going than where we’ve been. We believe the same can be said for you in your own faith journey.
The Best is Yet to Come
We believe in the local church more than ever and recognize churches are facing various complex challenges today. To this end, we are ramping up our recruitment efforts to grow our team of Area Directors who help churches thrive.
To widen our impact, we want to disciple men not just in every community around the country, but around the world. Efforts are now underway on four continents, and we are in the early planning stages of a global conference and curriculum.
We want to bring fresh, new voices on men’s discipleship into the conversation, alongside the faithful voice of Patrick Morley through establishing our own publishing arm, MIM Press.
We’re also addressing the reality that millions of young men are leaving the church—they have found their way to the “egress.” We want to go after them. To this end, we’re committed to learning and leading, and we have launched our research and development division, Mirror Labs.
These initiatives matter—not just to men, but to all of us. That’s why it’s a privilege to partner in the incredible adventure of reaching men. We believe that nothing else has the power to make a greater impact—on women, children, the culture, the world, and the future.
Would you consider joining our team of partners with a donation to the ministry today to support this work?
In It Together
I love the old hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness. There are two lines in the third verse that really resonates with me in this moment. The first: “Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.”God is calling us to share that incredible offer—strength and hope—with every man, everywhere.Click To Tweet
I think this represents what God is doing in us as an organization right now, and how God is calling us to share that incredible offer—strength and hope—with every man, everywhere.
The second line is this: “Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.”
The truth is we have been richly blessed—not just as a ministry, but as individuals loved by a God who gives us a future that is, indeed, bright.
With your help, we can walk with men who desperately need to know the One who is their hope for a more abundant tomorrow.