Q: What Are Men Really Hungry For? (Part 1)
*Editor’s Note: What are some things that men deeply hunger for, which can be met through discipling relationships with other men? We asked a panel of men who have discipled other men before, and here’s Part 1 of their answers:
A: Growth & Brotherhood
By David Roadcup
First, many men in the body of Christ are very interested in growing in their spiritual lives. They are truly hungry and ready and willing to go to the next level.
They just don’t really know how to make that happen.
In my career, I know of a large number of brothers who were extremely open to the challenge of a discipling experience. Men will accept the invitation to become part of a discipleship group because they are truly desirous of growing spiritually.
Second, I have seen men’s relational needs filled in a very powerful way through participation in an effective discipleship group.
One of the things I know without question, after working for over 35 years intensely in the area of Men’s Ministry is this: many men, in and outside the body of Christ, have numerous acquaintances and surface relationships.
Most men do not have one serious, in-depth, heart to heart friendship. Not one.
Many men do not participate in in-depth relationships because there is no “on ramp” for them to use to create these relationships. I have found that military personnel, policemen and firemen or members of an athletic team have these opportunities. But many men in the church (and in the world as a whole) do not.
The kind of a relationship to which I am referring is about having a group of men in your life who would take a bullet for you.
Men who would strengthen you, pray for you and hold you accountable. Brothers who would travel hundreds of miles to be with you if you were in trouble. Many men desire this level of relationship but do not have it.
I believe that many men can find this level of relationship in a well-designed and well-led discipleship group. Men may be willing to connect in a discipleship group to find this level of friendship and brotherhood.
A: Purpose & Adventure
By Michael Patterson
As I reflect on my life as a disciple, I appreciate Jesus calling me for a purpose. He did not simply forgive and save me, but he also filled my life with meaning.
As a man, I believe we need a sense of adventure.
In Mark 1:16-18, Jesus called the early brothers to follow him and to be on a mission. Simon and Andrew were not simply lounging by the Sea of Galilee or playing in the sand building castles; they were fishing. Even today, shows like the Deadliest Catch illustrate the challenges and victories of men fighting with the sea to obtain their livelihoods.
I believe the call to discipleship is an “outdoor sport.” To reach men, we have to get out of our church buildings and engage the community.
For years, I have viewed sharing my faith and working with other men as an adventure for several reasons. First of all, since every man is different, you can not predict a person’s response. Secondly, I have watched the Holy Spirit transform men’s lives in front of my eyes.
When we are engaged in the mission, we partner with God as he softens men’s hearts and transforms them into kingdom warriors.
Finding lost souls refreshes our faith. As Proverbs 11:25 puts it, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
A: Friendship & Generational Transformation
By Matt Dabbs
Men are often far too isolated.
In my experience, we don’t tend to be as relational as women and assume we can make it on our own. Is this nature or nurture? That is hard to tease apart but I do believe that there is a large nurture component to this.
Observe the difference in how we comfort (or not) our children when they get hurt. Do we expect a different response from our little boys than we do our little girls? Do we tell our boys to “man up” while we rush to the help of our little girls?
There are many examples of this where we can inadvertently communicate an expectation of independence for our men that we may not expect from our women. Maybe your experience is different. I would love to hear about it.
In Genesis, God made all things and then said it was all “very good.” In the very next chapter, Genesis 2, God said there was something that was “not good,” and that was for the man to be alone.
It truly isn’t good for our soul to be alone.
We get into a lot of trouble when we are alone. We can engage in dangerous behaviors when alone that we wouldn’t engage in if we were accompanied by mature disciples of Jesus.
Consider the pornography problem among Christian men. It is, in many ways, an aloneness problem. We are seeking out intimacy in a faux way–a way that doesn’t risk rejection. This problem is often generational.
Try this. Name your own father’s top five male friends–men he spent time with on a regular basis outside of church. Is it a difficult exercise or an easy one?
Many of us will have difficulty naming even two or three.
Disciple-making actively engages these issues and connects the disconnected pieces in the male psyche. When we connect in confidential and deep ways with other men, we finally find a place to be transparent. We find a place to know and to be known in a deeper way.
Disciple-making addresses the problem of Genesis 2–taking isolated men and putting them into deeper connections.
My hope is that we can reverse this trend in a generation so that the next generation of Christian kids can grow up seeing their fathers in real relationships with other men.