Let’s say a man has driven past your church twice a day, to and from work, for ten years. What if he shows up with his family in tow next Sunday? It will make all the difference in the world if you and a team of leaders have thoroughly and repeatedly discussed questions like, “Why would he do that? Why would a man come through our front door? What is the problem he is trying to solve?”
Of course, there are many reasons (e.g., moral and religious instruction for children, spiritual vacuum, desire to find God). But whatever his reasons, it is good that he wants to come!
One thing we can be pretty sure about: when a man comes to church, he wants to find rest for his soul. Running after career success, managing a marriage, keeping up with kids, and making the mortgage payments is going to leave most men exhausted. We've created a culture which requires more energy than men have to give. Personally, if I was pastoring a church, I would hoist a sign over the entrance to our sanctuary that said:
To all who are weary and burdened, come and find rest.
I would keep the sanctuary a sanctuary.
Unfortunately, because there is so much to do, a lot of our churches emit the impression to men that Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you more work to do.”
Of course, what Jesus actually said was, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29).
Work is part of discipleship—“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8), but it is the last part. Is it right to ask a man to give away the little bit of Jesus he has when he doesn’t yet have enough for himself? How tragic to have a man succeed in the work of the church but fail in his family. Let’s be careful not to “send” men to work before we have “equipped” them to be godly men, husbands, and fathers. First, help men fill up in their relationships with Jesus. Once full they will feel compelled by gratitude to serve.
They'll be coming in droves next Sunday. Let's get ready for them. Let's create a place for them to lay down there burdens. Let’s not give men the impression that Christianity is merely exchanging one performance-based culture for another.
Until every church disciples every man…