Man in the Mirror: Experience vs. Learning vs. Relationship

by | Jan 29, 2013 | Man

I was at a national meeting for another ministry recently. The Christian Service Brigade works with churches to help their men leave a legacy with the boys.

They do this through a military flavored combination of earning badges, camping and outdoor activities, and discipleship. I was struck during the weekend by the connections many of these teen-aged young men had with the adults they were with. While they were certainly “normal” adolescents—playing basketball, and riding skateboards during free time, for instance—there was also genuine affection. It was obvious that they all enjoyed being together.

Now you’ve probably read or heard about all the statistics about young people leaving the church after high school. Youth groups are exciting, the worship songs are awesome and the conferences they have are pretty intense. But still, kids just aren’t “sticking” in church. We’re giving kids great Christian experiences, but apparently that’s not enough.

I also meet a lot of adults, men in particular, who aren’t into church that much, even if they are going. Even though there are great preachers, interesting classes, well-written books and high quality videos and podcasts, their faith is not really that important to them. So we’re teaching great principles in lots of new and compelling mediums, but apparently that’s not enough.

Which brings me back to the Christian Service Brigade (CSB). Could it be that exciting experiences or the accumulation of knowledge aren’t enough, or even a biblically sound way of discipling people?

I was in a CSB Stockade and then Battalion in my church growing up. This is what I remember about it: Bob McGillion, Jake Hoffman and Bob Washburn. Sure, we went camping, almost froze to death climbing Mt. Washington, and learned Bible verses. But what I really remember about it was not what we did or learned. I remember those men pouring their lives into me, living their lives in front of me, challenging and training me to live as a man of God.

That’s the key: relationship.

When John’s disciples approached Jesus in John 2, Jesus didn’t try and teach them anything or show them a great sign; he invited them to come spend the day with him. When he called Peter and Andrew, he said, “Come follow me. I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:17).  These are practical, relational invitations Jesus makes. Jesus didn’t say, come and watch, or come and learn, he said come and follow. Spend time with me.

I love the feeling I get from experiencing a great worship song or conference. I love to study and learn Scripture. But Christianity is not about emotional responses or accumulating knowledge. It’s about living in relationship with God and other Christians (the Great Commandment). Jesus never said, “A new commandment I give you: learn more Bible verses.” He said, “Love one another” (John 13:34).  

Maybe we need to stop worrying about giving men an intense experience or perfect teaching. Instead, perhaps we should focus on inviting men to be in relationship as we pursue Christ together. What does that look like for you and the men in your life?

Brett Clemmer is a Christ-follower, husband, father, rock climber, runner and avid reader. He lives in Central Florida and works for Man in the Mirror. In his role as Vice President of Leadership Development, Brett spends the majority of his time writing, training and equipping church leaders to disciple men. Brett co-authored No Man Left Behind, a guidebook for church leaders who want to build male disciples in their church. He is active on Facebook and Twitter, and maintains the One Man, Under God blog at brettclemmer.tumblr.com.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

How You Can Have a Perfect Heart

How You Can Have a Perfect Heart

Your heart is the most important part of you. It’s not only a physical organ that keeps your blood pumping, but when the Bible refers to the heart, it’s talking about who you really are. Each person has an inner and an outer life. There’s the person we show to...

How the FBI Raid on Mar-a-Lago Is Spiritual Warfare

How the FBI Raid on Mar-a-Lago Is Spiritual Warfare

It's been a few days since the FBI raided President Donald Trump's home in Mar-a-Lago, and the Biden Administration has yet to explain to the American people why they did what's never been done in American history—the government raiding the home of a former president....

How the Holy Spirit Can Restore Your True Sanity

How the Holy Spirit Can Restore Your True Sanity

Most of my life I tried to avoid one thing—being crazy or insane. When I was growing up my mother had emotional issues and saw a psychiatrist regularly. She was on medication which only seemed to make her mood swings worse. She had high highs, and low lows. When I...

Israel Prophecy: The Enemy is Stirring an Unimaginable Conflict

Israel Prophecy: The Enemy is Stirring an Unimaginable Conflict

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJFFqAgykmU A cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants took effect late Sunday in a bid to end nearly three days of violence that killed dozens of Palestinians and disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis,...

Why Partial Obedience to God is Disobedience

Why Partial Obedience to God is Disobedience

My husband had a saying for our children growing up. “Partial obedience is disobedience.” He wanted them to understand that doing half the plan would not get them the full reward. Another reminder we used to tell our kids was, “Don’t think about it, don’t hesitate,...

Kingdom Economics: Why is America Declining Spiritually So Quickly?

Kingdom Economics: Why is America Declining Spiritually So Quickly?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a surprisingly strong July Employment Report.  Total nonfarm employment was 528K (398K previously, 250K expected).  Private nonfarm employment was 471K (404K previously, 230K expected). The headline unemployment rate dropped to...

RECENT ARTICLES

Prophetic Vision: The Lord Says, ‘I’m Releasing My People From Bondage’

I hear the Lord saying, “I’m releasing my people from bondage!” As I waited on the Lord, I felt a deep overwhelming love fill my heart for people. I was taken into a vision and saw chains and very...
Can You Discern Spiritual Wind?

Can You Discern Spiritual Wind?

The wind is a funny thing. We do not know where it comes from nor where it goes. We cannot see it, but we can see and feel its effects. Wind can be gentle and refreshing, cold or hot, strong, and dangerous, and everything in between. When the wind blows, we must...

Messianic Rabbi: He That Has an Eye, Let Him Hear

Messianic Rabbi: He That Has an Eye, Let Him Hear

It is interesting that, as a Messianic rabbi the question I am asked most often by Christians is if I believe that they as Christians have to celebrate, or observe, the biblical Holy Days. They are usually asking about those days listed in Leviticus 23: Shabbat, Yom...

How the Holy Spirit Is Preparing America

How the Holy Spirit Is Preparing America

As the crackdown against Christianity in America grows, it is a cycle believers have seen before. While no one celebrates their religious freedom coming under attack, God has used this persecution to great effect throughout history. Over the centuries, there have been...

Dealing Effectively with the Dynamics of Change

Dealing Effectively with the Dynamics of Change

Change can be challenging. Some people look forward to change and embrace it. Some people dread change and try to avoid it. Since change is inevitable, so here are some of the dynamics surrounding change and the specific strategies to deal with change more...

God’s Holy Interruption Is Coming Soon

God’s Holy Interruption Is Coming Soon

This past weekend I preached at The Roads Church, a charismatic congregation located in the tiny town of Norris City, Illinois. Located amid cornfields, the population is only 1,325, but almost that many people visit the church on weekends. They come from all over...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]