Showing Men a Real God for Real Life
Too many people are white-knuckling it on their own, including many of the men God has placed in your path. This week, we’re showing you how to use an outreach tool that’s accessible for any man who needs to see how a real God impacts his real life.
By Jamie Turco
Director of Communications
Recently, I reached out to a family member who was a former alcoholic. I felt an acute sense of concern, as I’d recognized some red flags. “I’m fine on my own,” he told me. “Don’t worry.”
One week later, I couldn’t shake it. Concern turned to dread. So I sent him some information for a recovery ministry gathering near his new city, 1800 miles away from mine. I encouraged him that it’d be a good way to add people into his life whom he can lean on—not just for support, but for enjoying life in community.
“I have friends,” he assured me. “I’m doing very well here. Moving up the ranks at work.”
Shortly thereafter, when he relapsed and stopped making it to work at all, not one of those friends reached out or even recognized that a rapid downward spiral was underway. And as he was later being evicted, he couldn’t think of a single person to help him pack up.
Yet, just 30 days earlier—“I have friends. I’m doing very well here.”
We know that there are men inside every church community who feel a persistent sense of loneliness; they don’t have a friend whom they would feel comfortable calling at 2 a.m. in a crisis, nor one whom they would open up to about their struggles in the weeks leading up to a crisis.
But outside of church community? It’s an epidemic.
Fewer than 50% of men say they are truly satisfied with their friendships, and 15% said they have no close friends at all—a fivefold increase since 1990. (Read more here.)Fifteen percent of men said they have no close friends at all—a fivefold increase since 1990.Click To Tweet
Too many men are holding too many things inside and white-knuckling their way through life—“I’m fine on my own. Don’t worry.” But we are worried—and you should be, too. These men are our neighbors, nephews, sons, brothers, acquaintances, and coworkers. And God has placed them in our spheres of influence for a purpose.
Do you know what I think makes recovery ministry helpful for so many men like my loved one? Yes, it’s a comprehensive approach with discipline and prayer—all of that is important. But right from the start, there’s a unique assumption inherent to every relationship that forms there: We will talk about real things.
The last few weeks on the blog, we’ve been sharing about our new Ritual journals, designed to guide men into conversations about real things with real friends. We all need this, even if we don’t realize just how much.
But also, for you as a Christian man, these deeper, honest conversations open a door for you to share how your faith has impacted you in a way that feels natural, practical, and accessible to someone outside the church.
It’s an outreach tool, and we want you to use it as a springboard for relational discipleship.
Get StartedRight from the start, there’s a unique assumption inherent to every relationship that forms there: We will talk about real things.Click To Tweet
The Ritual – Assessment journal comes as a set of two. It includes self-reflection and independent journaling and then regular discussions over five weeks.
The first step is to figure out who you’d like to invite to do this with you. Is there an acquaintance you’d like to get to know better? A friendship you’d like to see deepened? A younger man or someone less mature in his faith that you believe would benefit?
Don’t assume that a man won’t be interested. One of our Area Directors who tested the journal was caught off guard by how open guys actually were to this process. “I was surprised that my three neighbors and youngest son all said yes when I asked them if they’d join me in this,” he told us.
“Later, when I asked them why they’d said yes, the answers I got were, ‘Why wouldn’t we? It’s only five weeks,’ and ‘Sounds like a good thing for me and a way to get to know my neighbors better.’”
Another team member who invited a few men in their 20s and 30s to participate put it like this to them: “This is not some Christianese thing. If you want to assess your life and build some deeper friendships with other guys, you should do this.” Each man said yes to meeting.
In short? DON’T overthink it. DO prayerfully ask God to lead you as you choose 1-3 men to invite.
Build a Bridge
Ritual – Assessment is broken up into five sections: health, origins, relationships, vocation, and soul. These key areas of a man’s life—once reflected on—lead to rich discussions.
Another test user, Steve, shared, “The three of us met last night and went through the Origins section of the journal. Wow! Really opened the door to some very deep conversations. Many wounds and questions. These two young men are in pivotal times in their lives. Both were raised in the church but have since walked away. They articulated to me, ‘Church has no relevance in my life; show me how faith pertains to what I am going through.’
“Our conversations—everything from diet and exercise to parenting to marriage—have allowed their guards to come down. We talk about how we have coped through life’s ups and downs, and I have openly and boldly shared my faith in Jesus Christ and how that faith has gotten me through everything I’ve gone through.Before, in their view, Jesus didn’t understand them or their lives. Now, they hear me in a way that they couldn’t before.Click To Tweet
“Before, in their view, Jesus didn’t understand them or their lives. Now, they hear me in a way that they couldn’t before. We need to venture out into the world and put our faith and biblical worldview in front of people, showing them that Jesus is sufficient—better than anything the world offers.”
In the same way Steve did, Ritual allows us to build a bridge—not waiting for men to come to us on our terms, but rather going to them on theirs, and caring enough to share our lives.
Make Him Known
We love the study of God’s Word and offer hundreds of free Bible study messages to help men understand and apply the scriptures to their lives. You’ll notice right away that Ritual is a different type of resource. It’s not a Bible study, by design.
Jim, a test user, expressed his initial reservations: “At first glance, I was rather taken aback to see that Jesus was only mentioned once and there were no Biblical references. I felt very uneasy.
“But as I learned more about how to use it, I began to understand the why. Reaching men who either don’t know Christ or aren’t walking with Him requires us to help them, and ourselves, examine why we need Him. A man blind from birth who has never interacted with someone with sight doesn’t know the benefit of being able to see.”A man blind from birth who has never interacted with someone with sight doesn’t know the benefit of being able to see.Click To Tweet
The Apostle Paul wrote in Colossians:
My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ… (2:2, emphasis added)
Ritual is a resource that feels accessible even to a blind man who doesn’t yet know the benefit of being able to see. Yes, we created it to stimulate free-flowing conversations and introspection—but with intentionality. Because ultimately—we want to help men build relationships that encourage their hearts and unite them in love, so that the mystery of God can be known.
THE BIG IDEA: We want to help men build relationships that encourage their hearts and unite them in love, so that the mystery of God can be known.
Only there—with the gospel revealed and understood in a personal, applicable way—will men experience the riches of a fulfilled, vibrant life.