July 16, 2012

Paul’s Missionary Journeys Are Riveting.

Talk about an adventure. He never went anywhere and returned without encountering a host of challenges – weather, people, governing authorities, demonic influences, even spats among believing brothers.

But one thing stands out, amongst all the variety of experiences “half way” was never Paul’s way. Paul never quit ministering to others, he never went half way. He completed what he started – no matter what!

Consider his words in Acts 20, as he addresses the elders of the church in Ephesus, and heads for Jerusalem – both, for the last time…

“You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, 21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.

I am reminded of this grit, this necessity to never quit as we roll into the “half way” point of our ministry year.

To date we have seen over 150 men make commitments to Christ at our Game Plan for Life outreach event with Coach Gibbs. Our staff has led dozens of men’s bible studies and given individualized coaching/discipleship guidance to hundreds more. Plus our racing chaplains’ staff has attended over 2 dozen races in the NASCAR, ARCA and H1 Unlimited.

Next up are the following efforts:

  • Evangelistic golf tournament in McKinney, TX on July 21st.
  • Evangelistic “Car Guys” event in Orange County California on September 8th.
  • Evangelistic sporting clay tournament in Dallas, in October.

But I have to pause to ask a question; is this focus; men’s outreach events and discipleship teams going to work going forward? Is our current message working as we see speak into, and present our ministry, to the next generation of men?

This is an urgent issue as the baby boom generation ages. This boomer groups was a force to be reckoned with. They dominated our society after taking over from their parents who endured the great depression and World War 2. The sheer size of this demographic group guaranteed that every institutional system was geared to meet their needs as well as their wants; such as political, educational, medical, consumer marketing and even religious delivery systems. The boomers dominated the national conversation about lifestyle, beliefs and demands. But the tide is now turning as to who, or what group of “who’s” is going to get the attention from our media, politicians, and educators, as well as medical health and the religious service providers.

As the “boomer” group, who grew accustomed to the focus of every major institution of the last 50 years, ages and falls off the radar of relevance, a new focus is emerging with a new generation. This new generation, born around the turn of the millennial calendar, often called by several names – the Millennial Generation (or Millennials), Generation Next, the Net Generation, is beginning to come into focus and steal the emphasis of the institutions from their forbears. And, what must be reckoned with is that this new generation, doesn’t care about the “Greatest Generation”, as coined by Tom Brokaw, or the boomers who birthed them. They care a lot about a lot of things, but those things are different than their parents and they therefore demand a different allegiance, a different world view, a different delivery system and only a different message will get their attention.

Yes startling as it may sound, it is true. Few of those under the age of 30 don’t even know who “The Greatest Generation” is or what they were about; much less the man who coined the term – Tom Brokaw.

What is critical for the Master’s Men and its ministry is this… The current generation of men, age 18-35, has grown up in a different world than the one I am accustomed to and conditioned by. These young men grew up in a country where the traditional family has been largely eliminated from practical experience. Divorce has left many men fatherless or viewing fathers as leaderless and selfish. Women have the upper hand now with more women than men going to and graduating from college – in fact women’s financial success is far exceeding men of similar age. Other social structures (or de-structures!) have further crippled the biblical philosophy of the family man being a healthy imperative for strong families. How’s that? Feminism has chipped away at men’s role as domestic leaders and the LGBT phenomena has led many away from heterosexual, monogamous marital unions leading to a “new normal” (as a new TV show proudly announces) where gay families are normative and preferable to traditional one man, one women unions.

All of this has happened rather quickly – just twenty years after Vice President Dan Quayle denounced Murphy Brown’s (Candice Bergen’s character in a CBS sitcom) out-of-wed-lock baby as “irresponsible”, and was laughed out of Washington; we now yawn when the likes of pop star Jessica Simpson does the same.

Now we must learn how to speak into this quagmire of family dysfunction. We have to speak God’s truth into the upheaval of a social revolution that is convulsing in the public square, powered by our media and reinforced by the authoritative bookends of educational requirement and government mandate!

Yes, “times have a changed” but the gospel hasn’t, nor our mission. But how do we gain a hearing, long enough to tell the truth and get “buy in” from an audience who thinks our message must be from another planet?

Well, we tell em that it is; it’s from heaven, “good news” sent direct to them from a Glorious Lord and suffering servant named Jesus.

But that will more take time, so it is imperative that we not quit. And it will take more prayer – will you join us? And it will take continued financial resources – will you continue to support us financially so we can serve others?

Thank you for being a part of the Missionary adventure with us. We are all like Paul – evangelists and apologists for Jesus and the gospel. And, like Paul in Acts 20, we are all only half way to this year’s ministry destination. Let’s keep going and tell all we meet of the Matchless name of Jesus.

– Article contributed by Jim Coté, President and Founder of the Master’s Men ministry.