It's December 2014, and we are at a crossroads. Will our culture continue collapsing to the point of no return? Or as has been happening recently, will God continue to raise up more and more leaders hungry to disciple men and turn the tide?
We think change is in the wind, and I would like to explain why. Thank you in advance for reading this case for why men--especially younger men--are in crisis and urgently need help; how God has provided to reach them; and how you can play a central role in doing something about it.
Over the last 40 years I've met one-on-one with literally thousands of men who were off track. Many made money their idol. Many caught "success sickness"--the disease of always wanting more, but never being happy when you get it. Many shipwrecked their marriages and families. Believers are not exempt.
For example, "Trevor," a young man in his late twenties, asked me to mentor him. On our fourth visit (long enough for him to size up whether or not he would trust me), he sat down and blurted out, "I have a mediocre business, a mediocre marriage, and a mediocre relationship with God." The problem? His father was a poor example, barely in the picture. As a result, Trevor was left to "guess" at what normal male behavior looks like.
How many "Trevors" do you know?
WHAT'S AT STAKE
The stakes are high. When a man fails, the collateral damage is staggering. The "men problem" is gutting the institutions of marriage and family. According to the Centers for Disease Control research, 48% of women would now rather live with a man than marry him. 41% of all children are born to unmarried women. And 33% of America's 74,000,000 children do not live with their biological fathers.
Here's a story that personalizes the statistics. A young woman, "Zoe", came to work at our ministry after graduating from college. When I asked why she wanted to work for us she said, "When I was nine my mother and father separated. I saw my dad a few times after that, but when I turned thirteen they divorced. After that, I never saw my father again. But I didn't just lose my dad, I also lost my mom, because then she had to go to work and wasn't around much anymore."
HOW IS GOD AT WORK TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM?
So how do we break the cycle? Yes, we must treat the "presenting problems"--we need more domestic violence training, more prison ministries, and more teenage crisis pregnancy centers--but let's also attack the underlying disease, the "root problem."Behind virtually every problem you can think of, there is a man who failed. What pains me so much is that no man wants to fail--no man fails on purpose. But they need help. The short term AND long term solution is to disciple men who, in turn, are trained to disciple others--starting at home.
No matter how we got into the present situation, the only solution is to disciple our way out. If we can get men right then we will get marriages right, if marriages right then families right, if families right then churches right, and if churches right then the world.
WHAT IS MAN IN THE MIRROR DOING ABOUT IT?
Since 1991, we've had the joy and privilege of seeing God use 35,000 churches to impact 12,000,000 men--men like Zoe's father. In fact, through our network of leaders around the country we eventually helped this young woman and her father reconnect and eventually reconcile. It's hard to describe how moved I was to watch them gazing happily at each other during the father/daughter dance at her wedding.
We hear from other men like this every day, literally, from all over the world to thank us for our part in what God has done to bring them to Christ, save their families, rescue them from destructive behavior, or help them make a comeback after a moral failure, divorce, and so much more. We know Christ is the One doing all this, and we are His servants who give Him all glory.
Over the last 15 years we've developed a highly effective model that has been helping churches reach and disciple "all" their men. It's not a book, curriculum or content; it's a mindset that helps the church create an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit inspires men to engage in life-on-life discipleship.
Churches that use our No Man Left Behind Model experience a 48% increase in attendance and an 84% increase in men's discipleship in, on average, 2 ½ years.I know those percentages sound too good to be true, but independent analysts have verified the numbers.
"BOOTS ON THE GROUND"
With those percentages, we realized God had entrusted us with something special that we needed to steward. We believe God wants us to proliferate the No Man Left Behind principles to as many churches as possible. For that to happen, we need to decentralize and build a field staff who can work with disciple-making leaders in local communities where they live.
In the last 24 months we have increased our staff from 15 to over 100 people. We have gone from one office in Casselberry to 88 offices in 34 states. We eventually plan to have trained men--"boots on the ground"--in every community. The results so far are incredibly encouraging. Here's a small sample...
- After 16 months on the job, Area Director Bob Ryan in Northwest Arkansas has seen 460 new male disciples.
- In Area Director Rob Leonard's region,a mega-church in Indianapolis sent 18 men's leaders to Cincinnati to go through our No Man Left Behind Training.The men's pastor recently wrote, "In the seven years since the training, our ministry to men has increased from dozens gathering regularly to hundreds....There are presently hundreds of men discipling other men who have already agreed to begin doing the same within a year."
- After working with Area Director Joseph Ham for the last six months, attendance at a church in London, Arkansas has grown from 70 to 100 people, and their Sunday night men's group has grown from 15 to 50 men.
What are the cumulative results of all this work? Lives are being changed. Men all over the country are being inspired to go after other men and help them grow in their relationship with Christ. That's the only way change will come--one man caring enough to reach out to another man who needs more of Jesus. We are praying God will send a revival that will impact millions of men, one man at a time.
Today, our other ministries (seminars, books, online video Bible studies, etc.) are impacting 500,000 men per year. We believe that will soon be eclipsed by bringing hundreds of trained men on board in their local communities to disciple men.
HOW YOU CAN HELP REACH MEN WITH THE GOSPEL
We project that the ongoing headquarters expenses for this initiative will be covered by the income it generates by the end of 2017. But in order to get there, we need to end 2014 strong and be prepared for the expenses of 2015. We desperately need to update our infrastructure (particularly our database), increase our training and support for these men in the field, and finish developing processes and resources in The Journey to Biblical Manhood.
Within ¼ mile of where you live, there will be several woman who weep themselves to sleep tonight because they just don't know how they can go on in their marriages for even one more day. We cannot afford to lose the battle for men's souls, nor postpone action. But with God's favor and your help, it is a battle we can win. Your investment will transform the lives of men like Trevor and Zoe's father, for God's glory.
Thanks for reading this missive. If you would like to discuss any of this further, or have any questions, please don't hesitate to give us a call or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.