Pansies. Wimps. Rules. Door mats. These were just some of the words that my high school boys used to describe most men in churches. Right, wrong, or uniformed, this is how they felt and It was both frustrating and humbling to hear those words associated with followers of Christ. The small group consists of 2 bull riders, a calf roper, and bulldogger. They are some of the most entertaining young men I have ever been associated with, yet they have some pretty high standards when it comes to the people they idolize. There isn’t the amount of depth to our conversations that I have had with other groups, but the randomness that goes with the conversation makes up for it. We have just started Wild at Heart by John Eldredge and in his first chapter he lines out the 3 desires of a mans heart (an adventure to live, a beauty to rescue, and a battle to fight). Many writers over the years have attempted to define and articulate the mission of manhood on their terms, but I really like the definition that Eric Ludy gives in his book God’s Gift to Women when he says: “The mission of a man is to serve and protect.” Eldredge’s three desires coincide and flesh out what I believe Ludy says.
In a way I’m lucky that a few of these boys have Dad’s that display authentic and real manhood daily as they serve God, fight for Truth, and protect their families. A lot of boys don’t have that. I certainly have noticed a deficiency in Christian manhood in the Church: men with titles from God without the heart for God, selfishness instead of service, and men without backbones or work-ethic. It’s sad to think that I may have displayed these qualities at times. I hope that these young men will see on display, learn and emulate, manhood in the way that God desired it to be. I have also seen great men in the church. Men who have poured into me, had lunch with me, and refused to let me settle for a low-grade brand of discipleship.
We had a great talk about what they hope to do in life, where they want to end up, and what they want to be known by. I can’t wait to spend more time with these guys, eat a lot more pizza, and connect them with their heavenly Father.
My favorite part of the group though had nothing to do with these boys. It was after we got back to the rodeo grounds when I was stopped by some of the High School girls. They were upset that I went and got pizza with the boys and that we were reading a book together. They wanted to do something as girls, so apparently, this is what ministry looks like at this point in my life.
If you want to know a little bit about what we talked about, these were my thoughts from when I tried to write a middle school manhood book (click on the link)