Last week Justin Buzzard started a conversation about the lack of men pursuing godliness in churches today. In the post Justin thanked God for his godly sisters in Christ but expressed a concern that often men are not nearly as committed to or as passionate about godliness as their sisters. This week Isaac Hydoski shares some of what he’s doing to disciple men in his ministry.
Ladies, this one’s specifically for the guys but we’ll have posts coming your way soon.
Sitting in a Starbucks in Louisville, KY during New Attitude I had an unanticipated yet welcome experience in one such conversation. Across the table from me sat an old friend I have known for over 10 years. As we talked, I realized how different I look compared to my friend Kerrin. What was the difference?
One word: ambition.
Kerrin is an exceptionally gifted and godly man whose life is characterized by a godly ambition to use his gifts for the glory of God as a man, a Christian, husband, father, and entrepreneur. His plans, his ideas, his excitement and his ambition to excel in each of these areas was, frankly, startling. I’m simply not like this.
God used this conversation to challenge me. As I prayed and evaluated my life, I began considering these questions:
Am I, in my biblical role as a man, making it my ambition to put into practice what God has created me to be and do? As a pastor, am I encouraging the men I lead to do the same?
Our churches need men who are convinced God has created them to be men and that they need to act like it. Our churches need to be populated by men who with courage and ambition who are taking up their call to be leaders, providers, protectors, passionate about loving the God who sacrificed His Son to atone for our sins.
God has created us uniquely and specifically to be men and has given us a unique and specific role as men in the world, in our careers, in our families, and in our churches. As men, are we being faithful to embrace what we’ve been created to? Are we leading in our families and churches through our initiative and our example? Are we protecting the gospel and guarding the church from error and the affects of sin? Are we loving God and others in the radical, self-sacrificing way Jesus calls us to? Are we working hard to move forward the work of the gospel through the church?
Too often in my life I know I am not. I am too easily content, too prone to drift towards passivity in what God has uniquely called me to be doing as a man.
1 Corinthians 16:13 tells us, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” Whether you’re married or single, young or old, pastor or layperson, manager or intern you’ve been created by God to act like a man in how you serve, obey, lead, protect, and work.
So, how do we do “act like men”?
Begin with a clear, biblically informed understanding of what it means to be a man. As men we need to study ours Bibles, pray, develop convictions about biblical manhood and start imitating the Christ-like masculinity of the godly men around us. Ultimately, we will demonstrate biblical masculinity as we are daily transformed by the power of God through the gospel to become more like the perfect man-Jesus Christ. In an article written in the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Stuart Scott says, “One cannot be a real man unless he is increasing in Christ’s qualities.”
Recently, I took the men who lead small groups in our singles ministry away to pray and study the topic of biblical masculinity. It was a rich time spent in the Word together as we read, studied, and prayed over what God has to say to us as leaders, husbands, fathers, and but most importantly and fundamentally as men. We came away from this retreat provoked, inspired, and most importantly armed with some specific direction for us to pursue in the months to come. Here’s where we are going to begin…
1. Establish a clear conviction of what it means to be a man from God’s Word. This requires effort and diligence in our study, prayer, and purposeful application. This is important because biblical masculinity undefined will inevitably become biblical masculinity unpracticed.
2. We must create and maintain an example worth following. We need to fight our sin, be doers of the Word We can serve our churches, our sisters, wives, children by being compelling examples of godliness (Philippians 3:17, Hebrews 13:7).
3. We must cultivate a holy ambition in our lives for the work of the gospel and kingdom work. We need to lead with zeal (Romans 12:8), to have a passion and unending enthusiasm to know Christ and the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:7-12). This ambition should drive us to work hard and be courageous in the work of the Lord (1Corinthians 15:58) in the uniquely masculine ways God has called us to.
So each of us is working hard at this. We’re praying every day, studying God’s Word every day in order to establish clear, specific expressions of our masculinity in our unique contexts of life. But for all of us pursuing what God has created to be and do involves risk, courage, servanthood, humility, and hard-work. We want to be men who are theologically and biblically informed, who pray, submit to and follow the godly examples of those who have gone before us. We are seeking to know the truth of God’s Word, be transformed by it, and then humbly apply the truth in specific steps of dependent obedience.
I am joyfully anticipating observing the fruit in our local church as our men act like men by loving those around them, caring for those in need, protecting the weak in our midst, serving like Christ, humbly submitting to authority, and working hard as men ambitious to glorify God.
Isaac Hydoski is a pastor in singles ministry called ONE at Covenant Life Church.
As you can see, this article just scratched the surface. Stay tuned for more discussion about biblical masculinity and femininity on the blog. And check out the newly redesigned Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) website. It’s packed full of great resources and articles on this topic.
If hearing about a “biblical role for a man” is something new to you we encourage you to visit the CBMW website until we can get more posts on this topic here.