Archives For men

After spending a numbers of years working in evangelism and training around the world I returned to my home country in 2009. I returned in part because Carl Beech, leader of Christian Vision for Men (CVM), asked me to come back and work for the organisation.

Having seen a little of evangelism in overseas countries I was keen to stuck in on the ‘home front’. Through my 19 months at CVM I saw much of the country, much of the desire for people to share their faith with their friends, and the enormity of the task at hand.

During my time overseas I came to see the need for effective apologetics in evangelism. Apologetics, put simply, is dealing with people’s objections that stop them seeing Jesus. I grew to enjoy the discipline, find I had a gifting in the area and the desire to grow in it.

Every culture has its own challenges and obstacles. My time with CVM helped me to understand some of the current problems men face in the UK in their faith today.

In 2011 I was released from my position in CVM to study at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. My time in Oxford boosted my foundation in Christian Apologetics and opened up new areas of engagement to me.

Now I get to put all of this together!

It’s with real excitement that I can announce that Andy Kind and I will be heading up the Demolition Squad, the new apologetics arm of CVM. Through this new initiative we will be bringing apologetics training to the hundreds of men’s groups up and down the country that are fighting hard to see their families, friends, colleagues etc. come to know Jesus.

There is lots more to come, but for now read all about it here.

Trevor and I went surfing at the weekend. Well, you would, wouldn’t you, on an island in the middle of the Pacific … ?

Today my back is red despite the application (in haste, might I add) of sunscreen before hitting the waves. I blame Trevor. He blames England and the lack of sun preparing my virgin skin for the might of the Hawaiian rays. Mind you, his malt-coloured epidermis is a shade pink today too.

This has brought about that age old concern amongst men. Under what circumstances and observing which rules is OK for a man to apply sunscreen to the body of another man?

If ever there was a need for a rule book, it is now. And in that great spirit of the Founding Fathers and declare a draft Constitution to govern the application of sunscreen between men.

  1. No eye contact
  2. Communication, if absolutely necessary, must be kept to such topics as the condition of the surf or sports involving violence
    1. Singing, humming, whistling or sounds of another nature to relieve stress are definitely frowned upon. Especially songs by Judy Garland …
  3. No ‘Budgy Smugglers’
  4. No tanning oil, ever. Sunscreen only.
  5. The application of sunscreen must be restricted to that area of the back between the shoulders and small of the back that a man cannot reach with his own hands.
    1. Self-application should always come first and utilise whatever means a man may have to hand, including spray-on sunscreen and loofahs.
  6. The person receiving the application should keep a strong, upright back at all times. No bending.
  7. The person applying the sunscreen should apply in a good measure but not too much so that excessive ‘rubbing-in’ is needed.
  8. A man should never treat this as a massage.
  9. A man may never comment on the condition of the skin of the man that he is applying sunscreen too.
  10. At no times is the comment, “That’s not how my wife does it” ever allowed.
  11. A man may not ask another man to apply sunscreen. Simply picking up the bottle and a small nod towards your friend will suffice.
    1. When doubt over the nature of a ‘sunscreen nod’ is expressed sentances with a maximum of 5 words are permitted to avoid confusion.

In keeping with the spirit of democracy this list may be added to or clarified upon by consensus majority, most especially when the original document is found to be too vague or ambiguous to govern this matter effectively.

What has been missed out? What laws must we add to this most important of Rule Books?

On Sunday morning, or whenever you corporately meet, take a second to glance around and conduct a quick demographic survey. If your church is like mine there’ll be a fairly healthy smattering of kids, married couples and older folk but there could well be a gap in 20-30 single somethings, and an even bigger gap where the guys should be.

You could dismiss this by saying something like, “Young people grow up and then move away for university” – but does this answer the question? If you’re in a town or city then surely there will be people moving in to the city replacing those who are moving out.

I think it’s time to own the fact that by and large many churches struggle with retaining young men and women when they enter their twenties. Rather than simply explaining away this phenomenon I think it’s pertinent that we work out how we’re losing these people and how we’re going to get them back.

Being a man isn’t a problem, it’s the solution

The church was started by a man in his thirties with a bunch of his mates. They all had jobs and some had families. After 3 or so years of training Jesus (the guy who started the church) left eleven guys to get on with it. Of these eleven, ten were martyred for their beliefs. The love that these men had for Jesus led them to give everything they had for the church. This is the calibre of man that Jesus picked to lead the church. 2,000 years later and the job spec hasn’t changed, but perhaps the candidates have.

To succeed as a man in life you need to show some determination. To father and lead a family, hold down a job, provide a future and encourage men around you takes grit and courage. Through all of this a man’s character is shown and every aspect of his god-given manhood is used. My question is, do we encourage any of this in church or not?

Let me explain what I mean.

I wonder if you know of this man? He’s competitive, and likes sports. He’s stubborn and doesn’t like to admit he’s wrong. He wants to be right and win the argument, oh, and he wants to have lots of great sex.

Stereotype? Maybe. But here we have him. Now, let’s look at how some churches may see him. He’ll be branded as: strong and not meek/mild, proud and not soft-hearted, arrogant and divisive, and lustful and degrading to women. He’ll know sooner rather than later that he’s just sinful and all he desires are wrong. He’ll either have to neuter himself or leave the church. Not once will he be encouraged in who he is.

However, I don’t think this is how Jesus sees him. Sure, he might be misusing his passions – but our God is a redeemer, not a large anti-testosterone pill. Instead of pre-condemning the up-and-coming men in the church we should celebrate them and encourage them. Let’s look at them the way that a loving father who wants the best will look at them.

This guy I mentioned could be viewed this way. He is competitive; he’s not satisfied till he gives his best. He’s stubborn; he’ll fight for his faith. He regards truth highly and wont settle for anything less. Oh, his healthy sex-drive is a great ingredient for a healthy marriage, which is the core of a healthy family.

If we decide that we don’t need to defend truth, or work hard for our Lord and Saviour, and that easy compromise is preferable and healthy families don’t rate that highly then sure, we don’t need young men in the church. We can condemn all manly desires as sinful and not welcome and we can effectively skim off the boys as they reach manhood.

But if we wake up and realise that we value God’s truth and that it is under attack, that compromise is as disgusting as it is rife and that the family model is so far off from God’s plan, then maybe we’ll think about making at an effort to keep our boys instead of repelling them and take the effort train them to become the men God is calling them to be.

If we lose the young men, we lose the church. Game over. But if we give the guys a glimpse of how God sees them and how He wants to use them, then watch their natural talents come into play as they grab hold of life and pour their lives out for the church in love for their leader, Jesus.

Carl Beech has just finished a four-part series entitled ‘Real Men Don’t Do Church’ over on the CVM Blog. Looking at why men might not find church in the UK appealing today, Carl analyses the problem before offering helpful advice on what to do about it.

“Most men completely by-pass church.  They see it as a place that according to a BBC radio survey is for wimps, women and irrelevant!  Let’s not make the mistake of thinking that when the “wheels come off” in a man’s life they look to the church.  A small minority might, but for the most part their perception of what/who Jesus is and stands for will be quite the opposite of what they feel they need in a crisis.  So what are we going to do to put hairs back on the chest of the Gospel?”

Read more …

Praying Men

July 1, 2009 — 1 Comment

Joel Virgo has blogged about getting men to pray at church.

In what I think is an excellent post Joel makes the claim that we need to, “Intentionally gather guys to seek God. They will rise to it, and the church will follow.”

It’s not about creating a male-dominated environment but creating an environment that allows men to become the men that God called them to be.

Anyway, I don’t need to write more as Joel did an excellent job.