After this rant about womens’ ministry stirred up some good questions and this post had us all wrestling with what to do about it, I asked my friend, Ed Cyzewski, if he would like to write a guy’s perspective on mens’ ministries. Thankfully, he steered clear of discussing pancake breakfasts.

Ed is funny, rather sarcastic, deeply theological and a tremendous encourager. He wrote Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life (which is fantastic) as well as several other ebooks. He is a freelance writer and theologian currently living in Ohio but you can find him at In a Mirror Dimly. You can also follow him on Twitter @edcyzewski.

Men’s Ministry for Guys Who Don’t Want to Kill Stuff

I used to work at this church where the men’s ministry routinely took trips into the woods in order to shoot stuff. The youth pastor had the enjoyable task of flushing out the deer for the waiting marksmen. He’s now working somewhere else.

No, they never got him.

I made sure they never got me either because I’ve always avoided men’s ministry. I find it almost impossible to believe I share common ancestry with the guys who are into mixed martial arts and anything else that involves beating the hell out of another human being. Tying MMA into a sermon is as incompatible with Christianity as comparing following Jesus with soldiers attacking an enemy combatant.

Men’s ministry lacks metaphors and activities for guys like me. I was the last guy picked for anything involving sports. I opted for the tiny barbells at the gym. It took me years to forgive my college roommate for tackling me “just for the fun of it.” I’m not an aggressive guy. If you’re the kind of guy wondering, “Could I take this guy?” The answer most certainly is: yes.

When we moved to a new home in Columbus, OH this month, one of my first purchases was a bunch of pansies for the front porch. I also spend my evenings hanging in the living room with my wife and our house rabbits. I feel like that says quite enough about me.

My penchant for pansies aside, I generally find that I exist in a separate universe from the “men’s ministry” dudes who use fighting, military, wrestling, and weight-lifting metaphors for the Christian walk or plan events around aggressive activities.

It’s not that I feel left out. I’ve just stopped paying attention to all of that stuff. I don’t write this to trash such macho groups—though I’m not beyond poking a bit of fun at both of us. Hey, if you want to chase deer out of the woods on your men’s retreat, go for it. If an MMA analogy helped you get saved, then the Lord bless you. I’m writing this because I suspect that there are other guys out there who feel a heck of a lot more comfortable speaking of Christianity in terms of planting and nurturing rather than attacking, punching, or wearing armor. I know that Paul famously spoke of the armor of God, but amidst our focus on playing soldier for Jesus, I suspect we’re missing a few things.

The Bible Moves Us from Arming to Farming

Ezekiel creates an intriguing image of swords being smashed into ploughshares. In God’s ideal future for us, we’ll stop fighting one another. Instead we’ll fight hunger. While God certainly used military metaphors and tactics in the Old Testament, I’m captivated by the thought that fighting and weapons will one day be made obsolete. 

Perhaps more nurturing, less militaristic metaphors and activities would help us discover a thing or two about God’s hopes and dreams for us.

Jesus Regularly Used Gardening Metaphors 

There’s something about the comparison of the Kingdom to a mustard seed that always gets me. This tiny seed creates such a different picture and series of emotions when compared to fighting. Quietly slipping a seed into the ground, watering it, and letting it grow naturally is about as unaggressive as it gets.

I don’t expect anyone to read this and perform a men’s ministry overhaul. In fact, I’m not even so sure that guys like me need a separate men’s ministry. I’m just fine with having a small group and some guys I can talk to from time to time. But if you like practical suggestions with your blog posts, here’s something to consider:

What if we sought ways to protect others rather ourselves?
What would it look like minister to others like a farmer planting mustard seeds?

We can waste a lot of time creating false dichotomies. At this point in time, I get the sense that one version of “masculinity” in men’s ministry has grown to the point that it’s almost a parody of itself.

Spiritual warfare is tough business, and perhaps military metaphors work occasionally. It’s not like we need to cleanse Christianity from such notions. We’re more in a place where we need to restore some balance and affirm the guys who feel like they don’t fit.

My guess is that the really extroverted, competitive guys who go in for aggressive, high adrenaline activities also feel comfortable leading other men. The guys like me who prefer to plant garlic bulbs in the fall and make blueberry jam in the summer are left to sit on their porches with their pansies.

You’re welcome to grab a seat by my side, provided you don’t punch me.

Ed Cyzewski writes imperfect and sometimes sarcastic blog posts about following Jesus at www.inamirrordimly.com. He is the author of Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life, among other books. If you try to punch Ed, his rabbits will go Monty Python on you.


In which I write a bit more about womens' ministry and invite your thoughts
In which it's time to choose tough love
thank you for sharing...
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  • We must attend very different churches. My husband frequently remarks that modern Christianity is so feminized that it’s no wonder not many men go to church. I can’t count the number of times he’s wished that pastors would talk about the armor of God and spiritual warfare once in a while. I have to say that I agree with him.

    • Thanks for your comment Kelly. I wonder if you could offer up some specific ways that your husband feels alienated at church. Even using the word “feminized” raises emotions for some and may not do justice to what you’re trying to say. I certainly agree that we need balance, and you’re right on about each church having different issues in this area, with some falling more toward one direction than another. 

      Perhaps the simple thing to say is that my post is directed to guys who feel smothered by aggressive metaphors, activities, and visions for men in the church. Perhaps we’re just coming from different places as we seek some kind of balance. I’m happy to hear how you’ve “wrestled” with this. How was that as a metaphor? 🙂

    • shelle

       I, as a woman, enjoy talks about the armor of God and spiritual warfare. Pretty sure it’s not a gender thing.

  • Stephanie

    This has nothing to do with your post, but I love the Monty Python rabbit reference.  When a friend recently got a pet bunny, I was relieved that it wasn’t white!

  • my husband is the Director of Adventure Education and a hunter and he STILL gets turned off by those prescriptively macho men’s events. (he also plants garlic and cans jelly so i’d venture you’d still have a bit in common.)

    he has a community of men that meet weekly for bible study and prayer.  many are much older and they dig in together and really support one another, though hard stuff like depression and separation.  that kind of real, life-together fellowship is what we were all created for–it’s not about gender at all but discipleship and grace-filled community.

  • I think you’re right, Ed.  Jesus wasn’t some macho-MMA-fighting guy.  I totally hear what you’re saying.  My husband and I are pastors, and I think he’d mostly agree with you (though, due to our denomination, some military imagery goes a long way, though we’re personally pacifists).  I think there’s the need to be accommodating to men who need to feel a little macho, and men who aren’t wire that way, recognizing that we’re all different, but also recognizing who Jesus was/is and what Christianity should be like…regardless of what we want it to be.  Thanks for your insight!!

  • Great post, Ed!  My dad has often felt excluded by men’s ministries.  (Side note: Dad feels similarly pigeonholed every Father’s Day- have you ever looked at the cards and gifts geared toward dads?)  He doesn’t golf and he’s usually off to work as a carpenter by the time the men’s group started their pancake breakfast.  He wanted his church to have more service projects and opportunities.  If someone has a need, he’s all over it.  He felt very strongly about ministering to the widows and orphans in the congregation but it wasn’t a priority.  My parents are now in a new church and it’s a much better fit for Dad and his interests.

    • I can totally relate to that. Glad to hear there are kindred spirits about. But are you trying to provoke Sarah with a mention of this pancake breakfast business?

  • I’ve never thought of the “swords into plowshares” image within the context of men’s ministry. Well done.

    After reading both these posts, I wonder if men and women are really looking for the same things. People to share their lives with, digging deep into the Word, and trying to live it out together. Not very complicated.

    • right Ben!  I was just telling my husband about this on the phone.  I said to him, isn’t the church the place where a man who hunts & a man who gardens should be able to have deep connection through Jesus?  And the cupcake baking gal can be best friends with the woman who is CEO of a big corporation. 
      Maybe if we didn’t have hobby based (or life position, e.g. young parents, empty nesters, singles, etc.) groups at church then people would be forced to get into the meat of our connection.  We wouldn’t have the comfort of surface based connections with each other.  

      • agreed. don’t mma fighter men have something to learn from martha stewart? Don’t CEO women have something to learn from Ed and his pansies? Don’t single teenagers have something to learn from parents of infants? Don’t empty nesters have something to learn from newlyweds?

        I think so.

        That is an excellent point about “hobby-based” groups or life stage groups. maybe the criteria should be, who do you live next to? or When can you meet?

        • Erin and Ben, I think you’ve dug into the very thing I’ve been scratching at here. We’ve tried to turn our ministries into commodities that attract new members. I was thinking that in some ways a lot of men’s ministry stuff strikes me as youth group for grown ups. That isn’t to say that it’s juvenile or bad, but rather that the presuppositions are that the church needs to organize around activities, niches, and generational lines rather than a common desire to serve our community. You’re absolutely right in pointing out that organizing along gender lines can bring some drawbacks, even if we can still do lots of good things through a hunting trip with the dudes. 

          I also can’t emphasize enough that this post is about creating more space and balance in the church, recognizing what we’ve neglected. My thanks to everyone who has added so much to this little post with so many thought-provoking comments. 

  • this is great Ed!I told my husband about it just now on the phone & had to email him your last bit there.  We have been talking about that issue lately.  How it is the extrovert guy who likes to lead & they generally seem to believe that if a guy wants to be spiritual, who should be extroverted & be a “leading” man.
    (My husband is of the nurturing/gardening type, too.)
    Even when the church has a gender based meeting, perhaps they shouldn’t be so gender focused.  I think Sarah’s initial statement is a summary of it all.  We need Jesus!  How about a Jesus focused meeting? 

  • Thomas

    I think the American church has bought into our culture’s defnition of masculinity. Though you are differentiating yourself from sterotypical “masculinity,” your masculinity is more in line with what it means to be a family man.

    The link between husbandry (caring for plants, animals, family and the land) and husband is completely lost on men’s ministry and the conception of “man” in the American church.

  • I liked your take, Ed.

    I wonder if it’s not as black and white as you even indicate… farming or arming. 

    So many guys aren’t the high energy type A, and Alpha Male sorts. 

    My husband is such a guy, but not a guy’s guy..if you know what I mean. He’s mechanical, likes classic cars, he’s logical/analytical, computer and gadget geeky, but also was a Drawing major in college. artsy? almost. He’s a very nurturing dad, and thoughtfully brings me coffee up to our room each morning as he makes breakfast for us.

     I had to teach him what football downs were (his dad loathed the sport, so he couldn’t care less) As for sports, he’ll watch some football these days, and enjoys X-game type stuff. He personal enjoys cycling, but primarily because it is usually solitary or semi-solitary. 

    The artistic and creative personality types don’t seem like a spot on fit with the wilderness hunting types in some men’s ministry. In our church, war (and those metaphor) dominate the male culture in small group. 

    So, who gets left out? Plenty of guys. My goes, I dare say, would be 30-40%. Here’s other guy types that sometime don’t make a seamless mesh.

    • Musicians
    • Creative Artists
    • Fishermen (have you noticed these guys are more laid back that the fellas with guns?)
    • Solitary Sports guys (think running, skiing, swimming, hiking, climbing, kayak, cycling, boarding (skate, sail, snow, etc. These aren’t typical hyper macho warrior men types)
    • Tech savvy guys (probably puny biceps but wicked strong fingers from typing code)
    • Various hobbyists (stamp collectors, radio airplane guys, railroad buffs, woodworkers, etc) These seem more like loner guys who don’t feel part of an Army.
    • Bookish guys (academics, scholars, professors, writers, researcher etc.) They have truly guy brains, but they don’t go around brawling’ with brawn.

    AND I’m sure there’s more….I was just shooting from the hip.

    Gosh, Ed, I hate to say this…but you need to do a book for men and men’s ministry that is the equivalent of Francis’ Chan’s book “Erasing Hell” up against Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” book. Your the alternative to John Eldridge.

    Maybe call it, “Mild at Heart: Being a Man among Warrior Christians”  shheeeeze I can think of tons more catchy things. hahaaa

    Ya know, farming means providing. God is our farmer. and even though I don’t think God is a dude, I really appreciate the qualities of creating and providing that some men do so well.

    cheers.
    (maybe I should have just emailed you, Ed. sorry for being a ‘blog hog’.)

    • Mild at heart? Love it. I’ll tell you what Lisa, this topic totally freaks me out. Just being honest. I hate to prescribe stuff for anybody or to speak into what the church should look like. The best I can think of doing at this point is to just wave my flag (or pot of pansies) saying, “Hey, I’m here. I’m pretty happy in my garden and my complementarian marriage.” Gender trends are tricky, which of course may make all of this a good book topic some day…

      • Maybe it’s not a prescribe kind of book…you could do it like ‘Blue Like Jazz’. Do your experiences correlate with other men? What do them have to say?
        Even if you don’t write this book, someone will. That’s not to say this project is for you, and you have to jump on it, but I think the MMA and Band of Brother (warrior) groups are just the loudest voices, maybe they aren’t even the majority (esp. in egalitarian-type groups/churches).
        so…something to think about. It’s certainly not a book I can write. 🙂 hahaaa -Lisa

        Lisa DeLay
        contact@lisadelay.com

        570-449-9680
        lisadelay.com

  • My aversion has less to do with the narrow list of activities (I like sports, I have fired plenty of guns and enjoyed it, and I own and use a four wheel drive) than it does with the narrow list of discussion topics. Why do all men have to pretend to be theological titans during Bible studies? Why are men terrified of mystery? Why is art off limits?  Why are the only sins we talk about during men-only sessions masturbation and anger? I know I’m casting a wide net here and these statements aren’t always true, but I have yet to see a men’s ministry that doesn’t feel like this.

    But really, I’m not sure it’s a men’s ministry problem as much as an Evangelicals-in-general problem. Those complaints are often true of the churches they come from as well. Men lead the churches, the teaching is geared at the men, the men lead the families, the men preach. So the entire culture of the church feels basically like a men’s ministry get together, except with some breasts and dresses involved for good measure. Women handle the kids and have croissant bakeoffs.

    I’m willing to wager that in churches where men and women are truly equal both in the homes and on Sunday mornings, where both genders teach, preach and serve together, the men’s ministries might not be so easily caricatured. Both sexes suffer under complementarianism. And I probably just pissed off some of Sarah’s readers. I’ll stop now.

  • KateHanch

    Goes to show that no one can fit in neatly stereotyped boxes.

    By the way, pansies are one of the toughest flowers around, surviving in cold and warm weather.

  • I love both these articles because they bump up against our stereotypes of males and females, when in reality, our churches are full of people who DON’T fit those stereotypes. We definitely need more balance and I think you’re helping to bring it by widening our vision toward the serious issues.

  • Alisha

    I really like both points made in both the “Women’s Ministry” blog and the “Men’s Ministry” blog and I think that both blogs are words that many people need to read and hear. Having said that, I had a friend share some more words with me after reading this. What if we are spending too much time dividing our ministries? As far as sex is concerned. Maybe this whole “women’s” and “men’s” ministry division is what started the problem in the first place. By telling us that we are different in only one category— our sex— and that all women are one way and all men are this other way. Granted, I love me some girl time and I think that guy time is equally important, but maybe as a general concept we should be living in a “Humanity Ministry”. Maybe this would unify all brothers and sisters and remind us that there is a place for all the different types of people, just as there are all different parts to The Body. In The Body we need the protective armor, but we also need the gentle planter; we need to give ourselves to others who are in need, but we also need a mother to give herself to her babies. All roles are necessary. Maybe a new, unified ministry is needed? Or maybe we just need to drop the labels and live. Thank you both for your wonderful thoughts.

  • It’s time we started looking past homogenized Men’s and Women’s ministries and start taking responsibility for our own discipleship and mentoring. I don’t hang with the men’s group at my church. I just don’t want to go to a pancake breakfast on Saturday mornings and talk about sports. I’m more of a you kill it and I will grill it kind of guy. Not that I have an issue with killing, I’m taking my son hunting in a few days because he seems to be developing an urge to get a little more intimate with his food.

    Some of the guys in my church started a group where they are building a wooden boat together. They have some Bible study time, and plenty of time to get real while they thoroughly enjoy a hobby. Maybe I should start a cooking group. That’s my passion.

    The vital friendships I am developing are with other men who very rarely attend the Men’s group functions themselves. Just this past weekend I helped one of them with a tree trimming job, that’s manly enough isn’t it?

  • I think an important example to work from is that the great men of the Bible were wonderfully contrasted in who they were physically and emotionally but also where they came from. Abraham: A family man, a warrior, a servant of God and humble before the Lord. David: A warrior, a poet, a shepherd, a king. Peter: A sometimes brash, bold, fisherman who spoke fervently but possessed compassion for the lost. Jesus: A carpenter, a Savior, consumed with zeal for his fathers house, yet moved frequently with compassionate love. Jesus flipped tables in the Temple then let children flock to himself as he imparted love to them. A beautiful contrast, and balance.

    Each one of the men in the Bible I mentioned were rough men. None of them were “wimps”, but also none of them were overbearingly assertive of themselves. Save for Peter at some points. They possessed a contrast that made them great men. The willingness and capacity to defend others, and themselves, but also the necessary compassion to lead and teach people with patience and love.

    I have to say that I lean more towards the fact that on a whole the American church is more “feminized” than “meat-headed”. I spend a lot of time in college groups, and small group men ministries. Not once was I on the “overwhelming majority” end of the spectrum. I’m a missionary, and a hunter, and avid survivalist, and a blades smith. Being only 20, this is very intimidating and off putting to some other “Not quite as intense” men. But I also happen to be a musicians and a have a deep appreciation for the aesthetic qualities of nature, and sunrises. I can sit for hours reading a book and drinking coffee and fellowshipping with my brothers in the Lord about His grace and beauty and His extravagant love towards us.

    Sorry, I bunny trailed for a second… Back to my point though. Yes, gardening is very peaceful and is more often associated with tranquility than battle, but it’s important to realize that though Christ used many metaphors of planting, sowing, gardening, nurturing, and farming. None of those things, in a greater context, are easy, cakewalk jobs. None of them are necessarily implicative of anti-machoism either. I live on a farm and some of the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life has been tilling the field, planting the seed, watering the plants and harvesting the crops. It takes a “man” both physically in the sense of muscles and endurance, but it also takes a “man” in the sense of diligence, patience, care, and responsibility. It’s a beautiful contrast, and a beautiful balance.

  • John D Blase

    Good words, Ed…some of it, for me, has to do with age…I beat the drums and ran naked thru the woods whilst singing warrior praise-songs, but now in my mid40s I’m just too tired to do that jazz…sitting on the porch eating homemade ice cream with blueberry jam on it sounds stupendous, not to mention highly spiritual. These days I see the Kingdom of God not so much the Battle of Agincourt as the Hundred Acre Wood. I do feel we have to be careful in saying Jesus wasn’t a machoman or Jesus had a voice like Michael Buble…for all I know, He liked pansies and Guinness and was an absolute maniac on the shofar.

  • Well done on many points! Having read the comments as well, I think men’s ministries do suffer from being pushed in two directions. One is the “manly man” approach, and the other is the “gender neutral” approach where women have an identity and men do not. Personally, I think most people would be better served by small group ministries with a mix of age, gender, cultural backgrounds, etc.

  • John’s first yp job description actually said for him to hunt and fish with the youth.  LOL  Needless to say, he lasted six months there.  John does not hunt or fish.

  • This was brilliantly done, sir! Being firmly in the camp of guys who really don’t care about sports, I appreciate your perspective. So many times, I’ve wanted to be other than I am–smarter, better looking, more outgoing–but so far God hasn’t answered any of those prayers. Thus, I conclude that I’m the me he wants me to be.

    C’este la vie.

    I’d sit with you on the porch (but I don’t garden).

  • I don’t care for pansies, but otherwise I really appreciate your comments, Ed. I’d love to sit on the porch with you, but I might just punch. Perhaps I’m a bit conflicted on that!

    Part of the problem is that our culture is not only over-testosteronized, but that the very definition of manhood has to do with our behavior, not our physiology. As Christians we need to be open to the full gamut of who God has made us (guys) to be, not what our culture says we should be to be men.

  • Thank you so much for sharing that!  My church recently had a men’s group hunting trip.  I didn’t go.  I don’t like hunting at all.  They had planned a paintball event a few weeks earlier, too.  I love the church we are attending, but I just don’t get into those types of events.  Like Ed, I won’t begrudge them their fun, and so far, there has not been any mention of MMA or the like in the sermons.

    I don’t know if it’s because of my artistic leaning or what, but I always found myself preferring to go shopping and to the movies with the ladies than fishing/hunting with the guys.  Now, get a group for a baseball game, and that’s a different story.  Otherwise, I would feel most comfortable joining Ed on the front porch with his pansies.  

  • Dan McM

    I had one college roommate that would walk in and ask “Wanna wrestle?”  “No!”  “Too bad!” WOOOMPH!!!    He was alright, just had a bad way of working out his frustrations.  Thankfully, I had pretty strong legs and could generally get him to quit by pushing him into a wall or doorjam until it hurt… or until his butt went through the wall and he got plaster down his shorts!

    Though I do love sports, I totally get what you’re saying…. I’m not a MMA/hunting/fishing/NASCAR? guy myself.

    I’m sure Jesus would love hanging out on the porch, having a soda/iced tea/brew/coffee and just chatting about gardening, growth and maturation.  I do think he’d be ok with firing up the grill though, especially if some of the guys come back with some nice salmon or other catch of the day.  I don’t need to be part of the hunting expedition, but I’m happy to share in the cooking/eating of the catch!

  • Kyletheloanguy

         I was really excited when I learned of the verse in Matthew, “I did not come to bring peace, but I came to bring the sword. ”  I like the idea of Jesus being able to fight the town drunk when he tells Him, “hey dude you just ordered an orange/pineapple juice at a bar?”  Then Jesus walks over without flinching and says, “I gotta get up early tomorrow, thousands will be calling for my help before you even know whose bed your sleeping in.”  I’ve seen Jesus in MMA fighters.   I’ve seen Jesus in people who assert God may not exist.   I’ve seen Jesus in Lesbian Jews.  I’ve seen Jesus in kids who can barely talk and I’ve seen him in dying grandmothers.  

    I’m not much for killing things and neither was Jesus.   Turns out, “the sword” may have been just a reference to The Holy Bible.    But I know Jesus rocks.   Wherever you find him is a good place.   Regardless of the label, identity, or past of the person… kyletheloanguy.blog.com

  • DV

    Hey, Ed, the Dayton Vineyard just dumped its manly man men’s ministry for a more relaxing, peaceful style. Come on over some Monday night and join us by fire for some coffee and calm discussion!

    • Ha! That’s interesting. I certainly think stuff like camping and hiking trips can be great things for guys. Though it seems you’re competing with Monday night football… 😉 Actually, our small group at Central Vineyard here in Columbus meets on Monday nights. Still, if you have a good coffee selection I could be tempted…

  • J.T. Hurley

    Hey,

    Unlike a lot of the other commenters, I am a MMA fan and participant. I don’t like it when it gets thrown around as “manliness,” either, and I sure don’t see what it has to with Jesus.

    It’s a sport. Two guys lucky enough to get paid for their hobby competing against each other. It’s not a mugging, it’s not killing an enemy soldier, it’s not resisting the devil. It’s only a game. A game played by two grown-ups who feel lucky to get paid for it.

    I guess if you had to you could preach on getting paid for playing a game, or the bonds of friendship in people training together, or how they sharpen each other like iron sharpens iron, or even speculate if there will be contact sports in Heaven.

    But why would you want to in the first place? Why not render the fights at Caesar’s Palace to their fans, and the things of God to God.

  • Cea212

    Thank you thank you thank you. I can’t tell you how long I’ve felt like I must be the only one. I can’t find these guys anywhere around me, but it is so encouraging to know that they exist somewhere. I can’t thank you enough. It’s just what I needed to hear.

  • Jdbar14

    Are you sure on your “swords to plowshares” reference? I found it in Isaiah 2:2-4, not Ezekiel, though of course Ezekiel could do something parallel. I find it fascinating that Joel takes that passage and reverses it in Joel 3:10 envisioning a “last gasp” of the nations who mobilize all available military force for a final confrontation before God breaks their power and brings salvation to Israel. Both the metaphor of the nations coming into the peace of God…and God breaking the military power of those who oppose him are part of the rhetorical toolkit of the prophets.

  • emeraldgems

    Ed,

    You had me laughing so hard; hunting as a men’s spiritual retreat activity, really. I grew up in Wyoming where hunting is pretty close to its own religion, and I have to say I have never hunted on a church retreat, although I have fished, but that is another matter altogether. This is kind of funny, I spend my days in a part of society that values being a tough Guy pretty highly. In the biker community, nothing is as important as how tough you appear and how respected you are for that toughness.

    A few months back, a group of ministers from the Motorcycle Ministry that I head was serving lunch to the bikers after a poker run, and there were plenty of one-percenters  there. As the president, I was expected to go around greeting the officers and members from the various clubs and so I spent almost no time serving food with the rest of our group. After the food was served, I sent the group home and cleaned up the kitchen and took out the trash myself. I was pulled aside by some of the officers of the other clubs and told that I was showing weakness by doing things that should be done by those under me as president, and that some of the clubs might lose respect for me. I got the opportunity to share with these men about Jesus and about his teaching that the greatest of all should be the servant of all.

    I haven’t lost any respect so far as I can tell, but I have had the opportunity to share a little more with some of these men in the months since. As a former soldier and police officer, I tend to relate more to the martial analogies in the bible, but God is slowly teaching me the way of the humble servant. Maybe I will take up gardening, although I have never been able to grow anything, including grass.

    FedEx,
    President,
    Men of Praise Motorcycle Ministry

  • So enjoyed this. My husband, a full-time farmer, summer gardener, and avid hunter, could relate to you…  and also the macho metaphors. I enjoyed your post; hope you have found more men who you relate to better!

  • Joystarfish

    I’m encouraged to read this (a bit late to the party). I feel the same.

    A couple of years back I was at a conference at a famous evangelical seminary in the US where the delegates were discussing ways of taking children more seriously in church life, in combatting the exploitation of children, and generally reflecting on Matthew 18: 1-10. “If anyone causes one of these little ones to stumble… etc” During one of the breaks I walked outside the conference hall and found the campus being used by military men who had dressed up groups of children in camouflage with warrior face paint and were getting them to roar aggressively. Was this just a game? Or was it a form of ‘grooming’ and conditioning? I was depressed at the sight of Christianity in the US being so militarised and of the church condoning the takeover of Christianity as a morale booster for the military.

    I also connect with the comment on Christianity being feminised. I get frustrated by this too. How about sporting metaphors – football, anyone? Jesus the captain of our salvation? He scores the goals but we all win.