Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Standing on the Banks of the Ohio River

I was recently standing on the banks of the Ohio River in the small town of Rising Sun, Indiana, where I live, and thinking of the folks of this quiet little community, with its population of only 2304. Of which 1139 males, it is one to those communities that you wished you had raised your kids in.

As I watch the river flow, with the occasional barrage, and the big tree logs floating past. I often wonder what this city was like years ago. Stories abound that tell of it being one of the main stops on the Ohio River for the ferries, and barges, wood cutting mills, stores, and  an abundance of boarding houses.  I wonder about the men that lived here, worked in the mills, and jumped off the barges. I bet they were some really tough men.

It’s only a small spot on the map and things change over time, I guess. But I have come to like it here.  I love it here in Rising Sun.  However, as I stand by the river wondering about those 1139 men, I would bet that less than 20 percent of them go to church anywhere. Most are actively involved with their family, sports, working on the farm, taking care of the home, doing shift work at nearby plants, and the hundreds, people do on Sunday morning. I understand there doesn’t seem to be enough time for it all family, work, and church.

Maybe you feel like me and many of the men of Rising Sun, finding the time for God is a challenge. Yet you know it is something you need to do.  As I minister to men throughout this awesome little city, I have come to realize that my challenge is not to minister as they do in the Big City, but to Minister to the men where we are right now.  It is amazing there are only 8 churches in town, the church that my wife and I attend is the second largest and we are blessed to have a number of men attending the Sunday morning worship service.

As a Minister to Men, I have to ask myself continually “How does God want me to minister to the men of this awesome town?” For me God’s message is simple!

I remember growing up being taught by my dad (a retired Air Force Master Sgts, and Auto Worker for Buick) the KISS principle “Keep it Simple Somehow” or some have said “Keep it Simple Stupid”
Whichever one you likes work, here is my K.I.S.S. for Men!

·         Klear (YES … I know it spelled Clear) Vision!
o   It is imperative that you know where you are going and what you intend to accomplish with them. I work on a yearly plan and have a vision or desire to accomplish at least three major events a year. This could include a trip to a Men’s conference with an overnight stay, a father/son breakfast, and many more great ideas that you already have.  Keep in mind that in a small town, it is always smart to keep options open for example I’m planning our Father/Son Breakfast this year and hosting it with all the churches in our town.  My vision is simple and Klear (clear) - Minister to the Men within our community to be the man of God and help them to be within their family, church, and community.

·         Invite them to worship
o   It is imperative that we give men the opportunity to worship and pray both in public and private.  As I look around the church today, I’m very concerned that we have spent so much time giving men tasks that we miss the opportunity to give them time to grow in their personal spiritual walk with Christ. I can do this by providing opportunity for them to study the word of God together, pray together, and fellowship.

·         Share with them the truth
o   We have geared our teaching programs to children and women and forget that men need to be taught as well. Many of your men get excited when they can go on the field and learn from a pro about a new basketball or football skill, or how to fix a car from hands on expert.  Men enjoy learning; we need to adapt our ministry to teach new skill to men so that they learn the truth- effectively, spiritually, and biblically.

·         Serving opportunity
o   Give men a chance to do something! Inform them as to what is going on at the church that a man can help with. Men want a challenge! I want to give it them.

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