I don’t know if you’ve noticed the gradual and casual change of our lives, but our kids are going through fire. Sometimes our priority may not be our children, but on Satan’s agenda they are number one. Biblical manhood involves cultivating, embracing and exercising spiritual leadership. If we don’t do it, who will? Learn to tell these three stories and you’ll turn your failures into wins.
Question: When is the last time you told these three stories?
I believe the core of the problem within our society is that too few men within the church are engaging the world. We simply don’t have examples of godly men around us.
Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead of his advice. Robert E. Coleman from the book Master Plan of Evangelism said it well, “It is good to tell people what we mean, but it is infinitely better to show them. People are looking for a demonstration, not an explanation.”
If we want a strong church, we cannot assume men will magically show up. We have to encourage men, equip men, go after men, and find men who are strong in faith (1 Cor. 16:13).
Are you really authentic?
Our idea of men’s ministry is to provide food, sports or entertainment while we dance around men’s deepest problems without actually addressing them. Yet everywhere I go today, I find men who suffer from crushed masculinity. There is a sense of poor fathering, lack of affirmation, bullying, family rejection, inferiority or some form of abuse. Their manhood did not develop properly.
They are men on the outside, but inside they are wounded boys who are afraid to tell anyone how they feel. We must somehow, someway engage with men who are desperately in need of the great commission mandate.
I believe one reason why the church has so little influence in the world is because the world has so much influence over the church. God calls men like you and me in the midst of all the busyness.
According to LifeWay Research, 78 percent of those surveyed said they would be willing to listen to someone who wanted to talk about their Christian beliefs.
Having worked as a youth pastor, the one thing I’ve noticed is young people are able to read between the lines fairly quickly. They can see past the structure and programs to whether you truly care about them as individuals.
And sadly, it’s not uncommon to hear comments from young people such as: “I just didn’t feel connected to the people at my church.” However, despite their negative opinions about the institutional church, most unchurched people are open to discussing spiritual matters with a friend.
Our churches and our homes should be different. Our everyday conversation should be gospel conversations.
Turn your failures into wins by telling these three stories
#1 Their Story
Ask a person his or her story. Instagram, for instance, is simply people telling the best story. People are desperately wanting to be heard and known. What an opportunity for us to share that the God of the universe longs to know them.
Today in urban settings, people prefer meeting at coffee shops to build relationships. I call this the “21st century Church visitation.”
As you think about connecting with your child, it is important to ask engaging questions; these questions often lead to what’s in their hearts. Start off with questions about a child’s passion or their pain. As a youth pastor, I’ve found questions like this work well, “If you could do anything with no restraint of money and geography, what would you do?” These questions often lead to the following section.
#2 Your Story
Share your story, the story of God’s grace and truth forever changing our lives. This is where God can use your testimony. This can be lessons you have learned through hardship and difficulty. If you want to turn your failures into wins, the point is to talk about…
(1) your life before Christ
(2) how you accepted Christ and
(3) your life with Christ.
What if we brought this first-century principle into the 21st century of living in honest, transparent lifestyle as Jesus did? Someone may say, “Well, this Jesus thing is private to me, so I keep it to myself. I don’t like sharing.” No, not true. Following Jesus may be personal, but it’s never private.
The good news that the Creator of the universe has looked upon guilty, needy, perishing sinners and was moved by compassion the Father sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us (John 1:14). Jesus wandered through the streets connecting with people. Jesus made a practice of simply being with people. This was the essence of His training program—just letting His disciples follow Him and sharing the story.
As Greg Bowman puts it, “Church leaders are to invest 90 percent of their energy in shepherding and listening to the needs of the leader and 10 percent in vision casting and leading them.” Spend time with your children and bridge that gap, then God will open those conversations.
#3 God’s Story
This leads to the last and final story, the story of the gospel. This opens the door for us to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and opportunity for them to ponder it.
Start with where the child’s at in his or her life. Consider the age and stage of your child. From that standpoint, take the child to Jesus. You understand why Christ has come and the goal is to point the person to the story of Jesus. Take one step at a time. As you share stories from your life, you will get more confident at connecting the dots of the gospel.
The great evangelist D.L. Moody was once confronted by a woman who said she didn’t like his method of evangelism. D. L. Moody said, “I don’t particularly like my method either. What’s yours?” The woman said, “I don’t have one.” To which D.L. Moody replied, “Then I like mine better!”
There are many methods for sharing the faith. As someone has said, sharing your faith is like prayer: there’s probably only one wrong way to do it, and that’s to not do it at all.
Anything we care about we will do it more and more. Satan tells us we are not going to get better, so we should just move on. Tim Keller said it well, “We should share the gospel with people in a way that even though they don’t believe in it…they wish it was true.”
Disciple-making is messy.
When Jesus said, “go and make disciples”, He meant something more like an apprenticeship—relational, hands on, and life-invested than what we often see in our churches today.
Discipleship is down and dirty, often ugly and real messy. You can turn your failures into wins, but you must not be afraid to be honest about the mess we call real life. People are sinners and they need a Savior. It’s hands-on living. That means, we have to be genuine with one another.
You have to get your hands dirty. That’s something no one wants to do. Church is like family. It gets messy. You find out about people’s dirt. It’s messy cause it’s family.
You impress people from a distance, but you impact them up close.
In Acts 2:42 the word, κοινωνία (fellowship) is the idea of shared spaced, your burden is my burden, your joy is my joy, and your life is my life. Therefore, this living is to build relationships and be models of healing and restoration. I think Jesus is our model as well as our message here. Jesus could have wired the universe with stereo on Mars and woofers and tweeters on Jupiter, and the angel choir singing to us about the gospel. But instead “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14).
Biblical manhood is about living through the relational environment of the local church. The most serious issue in Christian circles is the lack of transparency for leaders.
You will never shape the heart of a man from a distance.
You impress people from a distance, but you impact them up close. Get personal. Or as a pastor I often say, you cannot make disciples from the pulpit, you will only make an audience.
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