All Things New: From Pain to Purpose
This week, Area Director Steve Basht shares what his men’s ministry journey has in common with Hair Club for Men; the advice he refuses to give; and how God makes all things new—using even the ugliest parts of our story for His amazing story.
By Steve Basht
Area Director and Pastor
Rising Sun, Maryland
Do you remember the old Hair Club for Men commercials? The ones where all these men were on camera with a head full of hair, and beside them was a “before” picture that showed what they looked like before trying the product? Then at the end of the commercial, the president of the company would appear with his own before and after pictures, saying “I’m not just the president, I’m also a client.”
That’s a little like how I felt coming into my role as an Area Director for Man in the Mirror—not so much with the hair growth, but with the attitude of, “I can be a part of this mission to disciple men because I’ve seen it from the inside.”
An incredibly difficult time in my life brought me to where I am today. Years ago, I was a married, stay-at-home dad going through seminary. Then one day, I discovered that my wife was having an affair, and our relationship completely fell apart. Ultimately, we went through a nasty divorce. I could act like it was all her fault, but the truth is, I wasn’t leading my family well.
I remember vividly the day that I sensed God say to me, You’re not going through all this pain for nothing. I’m going to put you on the frontlines of men’s discipleship because there are men who, like you, have not been leading their families well. And I’m going to equip you to help them.
Ministering to Men
That’s exactly what He did. Over time, I began to get more and more connected to other men through ministry. Fast-forward a few years, and I was running the men’s discipleship program in my local church. In my role, I had become well acquainted with Man in the Mirror resources and the No Man Left Behind Model.
That’s when a Man in the Mirror Area Director suggested that I also apply for an Area Director role. So, upon finishing seminary, that’s what I did. I was already training dogs full-time, so raising funds to help local churches disciple men quickly became my side hustle.
I was determined, because I knew other men were experiencing the same brokenness that had initially drawn me to men’s ministry. And I understood that my pain could’ve easily led me elsewhere.
For instance, I recall the day I met with my pastor at the time who happened to be going through his own marital issues. His only advice to me was, “Get a good lawyer.” What I needed in that moment was someone to point me toward Christ. It’s what all men need.
God has been faithful to put me in the path of men with whom I can build relationship, encourage, and point toward Christ. And as I minister to men dealing with similar situations, I don’t say, “Get a good lawyer,” but instead, “Fight like hell to save your marriage.”
One man I’ve discipled discovered not only that his wife was having an affair, but that she had also become pregnant from a one-night stand. It was a dark time for him, but I kept encouraging him to stay with his wife and to really fight hard—to keep going deeper and deeper with the Lord and to fight for his marriage. He did, and now they have a beautiful daughter and a marriage that’s strong and faithful. God does make all things new.
Psalm 40, verses 1-3, have become my life verses.God has been faithful to put me in the path of men with whom I can build relationship, encourage, and point toward Christ.Click To Tweet
They paint a picture of what I’ve been through and why I do what I do:
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
God used the circumstances of my life to prompt me into a new place with a new song in my mouth. My feet were once in a miry pit, but now I have a rock to stand on securely. And He led me to Man in the Mirror to make new disciples, using the resources and training provided to me.
Beyond the Church Walls
A new resource I used recently with two young men I train dogs with is the Ritual – Assessment, a journal and discussion starter. One man was just about to have a son, and the other was raising a seven-year-old and getting remarried. Both were in the middle of transitional seasons. These young men were raised in the church, but after high school and college, neither one of them saw a need for it anymore. They didn’t see the church or its teachings as relevant to their lives.
But as we walked through Ritual, it opened doors to real conversations about real things they were going through, and in those conversations, I was able to talk naturally about Jesus and what it means for Him to be at the center of my life—and what it means for Him to be at the center of their lives.
My sense of urgency for discipling men is high. We’re living in a time now where people are struggling to get through daily life and they’re questioning everything.
It’s good news that they are asking questions! And the church has the answers, but for years, we’ve just thrown material at men. We’ve held Bible studies, classes, and events—good things, but not if we are substituting material and head knowledge for relationship and mentoring. It may feel easier and safer, but it’s leaving too many men behind.In the church, we can't substitute material and head knowledge for relationship and mentoring.Click To Tweet
In talking with the two guys whom I was meeting with, they shared that those activities in the local church hold little value for them. First and foremost, they want a genuine relationship with someone who cares about them, encourages them, and tells them the truth. Then, within the context of relationships, some of those opportunities to grow become valuable.
And growth is there; what started with a relationship with me has grown into a relationship with Christ.
THE BIG IDEA: Discipleship is inviting someone to walk with you on the path to allow Christ to transform your lives.
Working Together to See Men Changed
If you’ve been around Man in the Mirror over the past year, you’ve no doubt heard about our new 10,000 Spiritual Fathers initiative. We’re raising up spiritual fathers because we know there are other young men out there, like these two friends of mine, looking for the same things they were.
Similarly, there are so many older guys like me who have a huge desire to disciple men, but when you ask them about discipling a younger guy, it can be intimidating. Our goal is to dispel that fear completely. And it’s happening already as we move forward in our beta test with men all over the country who are taking their initial steps as spiritual fathers.
Young men need to see how the Scriptures are relevant to their lives. They want a safe space to ask real questions and get real answers. And they need more experienced men who are willing to be vulnerable, show them that Jesus loves them, and model what it is to follow Him.
Man in the Mirror is working to make that happen inside churches (and beyond) all around the world. I’m excited to be a part of a ministry creating resources and training that help get men connected in genuine relationships.
As someone who has been the spiritual son and the spiritual father, as well as an Area Director and pastor, I can tell you nothing will have a greater impact in today’s church than this: men engaging in vulnerable, authentic relationships with other men based on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
He makes all things new. All things new—no matter how broken your life is. All men, young and old, need to know that. And working together, we have the incredible privilege of making sure they do.