Know well the condition of your flocks, And give attention to your herds,
Pastor, do you know how your men are doing? I know your days are full. Your load is heavy, and you are weary. That seems to be the standard condition of pastors these days, but many of your men are feeling it too.
I’ve spent two full weekends leading retreats with over 100 men from various churches in the past month. The topic for both was intergenerational discipleship. Every church seems to be interested in connecting the generations, so that’s where we started. I’d like to share some observations that you may find valuable.
1. The guys were talkative.
Honestly, I was surprised by how engaged they were in small group discussions when I tossed out provocative questions. Men seem to be hungry for connection. Having a forum to hear and be heard was helpful.
2. Stress levels are pretty high.
COVID, as you know, has played havoc with many aspects of our lives. Men are feeling the strain personally, financially, socially, in their marriages, at work, in their fathering, and even in extended family relationships.
3. Iron sharpens iron.
Given the right context and some encouragement, men were hearing and helping each other. They responded well to the admonition to listen rather than lecture. They earned the right to share personal testimonies, wisdom from the Word, heartfelt prayer, and even call each other to repentance.
4. The Gospel is still good news (and much needed).
Saved or unsaved, men need to keep hearing that Jesus truly lived the sinless life that we cannot, died in our place, and rose again. He conquered sin and death to give us freedom, not freedom to sin but freedom from the penalty of sin.
Time with men in places where they can be raw and real is both challenging and encouraging. What a blessing to pray over marriages, share Bible passages, encourage men, and hear them encourage each other. There’s just something special about time in the presence of other men.
Pastor, would you make it a point this week to take a couple of guys out for coffee or lunch, meet at a backyard firepit, or honestly, anywhere other than the church building, and ask them how they’re really doing? Ask them the 4 H Questions. Check on the condition of the men in your flock. I’m convinced that what they share with you will fuel your passion for ministry and even remind you of why the Gospel matters in their lives and yours.
Bonus points opportunity – Pastor, if you’re courageous enough to be transparent with your men about some real issues or challenges in your life (you know, be an imperfect guy with some other imperfect guys, rather than the pastor), I believe you’ll experience a new level of authenticity with your men. Give it a try. Take a risk and let God work.
God bless you, men!
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