When my family takes a vacation on the beach I like to sit on the porch overlooking the ocean. Though I grew up on the water spending many hours with my dad in the waterways and creeks adjacent to the ocean in southeast North Carolina, I am always amazed to look out over the ocean waters at its vastness. As I think about the enormity of the oceans, it causes me to think about the God who created the oceans and how great and awesome He is.
Sometimes we hear of men who are lost at sea and are found many days, weeks, and occasionally months later. They are generally found physically tired, hungry and thirsty for some warm food and fresh cool water; they look disheveled and weak. But after a day or two of rest, good food and water these individuals look refresh. It is amazing how the right nourishment and fellowship with others will lift your spirits and encourage you.
You know many men who have never been lost in the vastness of the ocean are experiencing the same in their everyday life. They struggle with daily situations and often do not know where to turn. They feel as if they are the only ones who are struggling. They rarely desire to let anyone know they are struggling because to us men, it is a sign of weakness. It is as if we are lost at sea. This is why men need to be in discipleship groups. When one is in a discipling group you can receive that right type of nourishment and encouragement that can steer you in the right direction.
In the book No Man Left Behind, the authors list some startling statistics about men who are in the church. When you first read these statistics you think they are reflecting on men in general but it is a sobering reality this is the condition of many of our men in the church. You could be one of them. I know that when I first read these statistics it was hard for me to admit but a few of these were struggles I was facing myself. In the book the authors write;
“You’d think the church would be a safe haven from many of these disturbing statistics. Surely kids who grow up going to church will have a foundation of faith that carries into adulthood. If a couple goes to church together, you would think that their marriage will be much more likely to succeed.
“Unfortunately, neither of these assumptions is true. In fact, men in the church face the same challenges and frustrations as men outside of the church. For example, for every ten men in the church:
- Nine will have children who leave the church.
- Eight will not find their jobs satisfying.
- Six will pay the monthly minimum on their credit card bills.
- Five will have a major problem with pornography.
- Four will get divorced—affecting one million children each year.
- Only one will have a biblical worldview.
- All ten will struggle to balance work and family.
“Ask pastors to list the problems and struggles their members face. They sound like the chapter headings in a social work textbook: alcohol and substance abuse, domestic violence, juvenile crime, depression, shattered relationships, to name just a few. What is happening? If most of the major societal problems we face can be traced back to the failure of men, why aren’t men in the church doing any better than men outside of the church? The answer? We are not discipling men to be followers of Jesus Christ. Our churches are not effectively helping men understand what it takes to be a godly husband, a godly father, and a godly man.”
Over the next several weeks we will discuss each one of these statistics in more detail. You may see yourself and realize that you are not the only one with this struggle. Hopefully, through God’s wisdom, the importance of discipling groups will become a reality for you. Let me know what you think and let’s see if we can get a dialogue going about discipleship.
Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. – 1 Thessalonians 2:8