Accountability In A Culture Of “Don’t Judge Me.”

Accountability In A Culture Of “Don’t Judge Me.”

Accountability has and most likely forever will be a buzzword in evangelical circles. Especially when speaking in terms of men's ministry. I’ve spoken at a blue million men’s ministry events in the past 20 years, and 85% of the time somewhere, somehow, I hear accountability, and the need for it, mentioned when the emcee or event leaders are addressing the crowd before I speak. Accountability is like going to the dentist. You desperately need it, but you dread it. You know your health depends upon it, but it feels like getting your teeth cleaned: it can wait if it has to. There’s a pathogen that has slowly, quietly crept its way into churches in the last 10 years. I genuinely believe it comes from pop culture’s obsession with politically correct thinking and tolerance. Over time, more and more Christians have become comfortable and accustomed to being immersed in an American culture that constantly screams the “don’t judge” mentality with every opportunity. I cannot tell you how many times in the last 10 years I’ve heard Christians say, “I don’t want to judge him.” My response is normally along the lines of, “If what you’re saying about his life is true, what makes you think you’re being judgmental by caring enough to confront him?” While I do not have the time to dissect the heresy found in how Christian’s define judgment, I pray that all of us, myself certainly included, never, ever forget this simple fact: you are not being judged when you are told you are in the wrong. To say it another way: I’m not judging you by...
What I Hate Most.

What I Hate Most.

This post is a sample of Jason Cruise's most known resource, a devotion called "The Man Minute" that comes out once a week on Mondays. The vast majority of the Man Minute devotions are distributed to men via email once a week. You can join the tribe by clicking here. He was having a hard time with his job. Life wasn’t really working well at the moment. Strangely, he began to ponder life from my perspective, saying, “I cannot imagine what it’s like, being in ministry. You must see a lot of stuff.” Then he said, “Of all the things you see, what bothers you the most? What gets to you the most?” My answer was immediate. I didn’t even have to think about it. He could tell from the conviction in my voice that I was certain about my answer as to what hurts my heart the most. I don’t think he was at all prepared for what I said. It caught him off guard. Just this week I spent some time hunting with a man who over the years has become a source of unmatched wisdom to me. Steve Chapman is a nationally known singer/songwriter, with equal acclaim as an author. Why he’s my friend I’ll never know. Maybe it’s that I can call in turkeys for him to shoot, and in payment, he provides soul maintenance for me as a father and husband. I am certain I’m getting the better end of that deal. Steve squeezed the trigger, and we watched yet another bird fall victim to his old Mossberg. 68 seconds later another tom entered...
Why Outdoor Ministry That Unapologetically Targets Hunters Works

Why Outdoor Ministry That Unapologetically Targets Hunters Works

Why Outdoor Ministry That Unapologetically Targets Hunters Actually Works Outdoor ministry can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. I’ve been walking the path of outdoor ministry almost 15 years now, and while there’s a long way I have to travel, my experience has proven to me that when a church gives themselves permission to focus on hunters and hunters only, they will reach further into the well of lost souls than they ever would have had they chosen to take the approach most churches take, and that is to let their outdoor ministry be an “all things to all people” idea. Outdoor ministry can, and in many ways should, have many facets to it within a church’s walls. However, I’m going to show you some brutal truths about why a “church mentality” will kill your evangelism efforts toward hunters in your community. Outdoor Ministry By Definition Is Misleading. When you think about the very concept of “outdoor ministry” you’ll quickly see that it attracts people who readily confess that they just “love spending time in God’s great outdoors.” In fact, the phrase “outdoor ministry” is so broad that when I’m brought in to speak at pastors conferences or ministry leadership events, I’ve stopped referring to it as outdoor ministry and have began using the term “ministry to hunters.” I hate word games, and I cannot stand splitting hairs over the inconsequential. However, in this area of ministry, I think it’s necessary to be really specific if you want to change the way non-hunting Christians think about outdoor ministry. Yes, camping is outdoor ministry. No, it...
Effective Men’s Ministry Means Keeping Score

Effective Men’s Ministry Means Keeping Score

Men’s ministry isn’t easy because motivating men isn’t easy. Men’s ministry is almost impossible, however, if you cannot give a man a reason to invest his time. Whether you are leading a men’s ministry to your church at large, or whether you’re leading an outdoor ministry in an effort to reach hunters, if you want to reach men, you’re going to have to give them ROI: Return On Investment. For many years as a pastor I thought that the mere fact that operating men’s ministry efforts under the banner of “we’re doing this for Jesus” would be enough to motivate men. It wasn’t enough. Honestly, I cannot tell you if that is good or bad. I just know that it was the truth. If you really look at it, there’s a ton of things to do in Jesus’ name. So, I suppose it shouldn’t surprise any of us living life under the steeple that men won’t get motivated just because something is being done in the name of ministry. If you are looking to boost your men’s ministry or outdoor ministry efforts, consider some of these tactical approaches to stop the heart of men long enough to get them to consider riding the wave with you: Men’s Ministry Means Redefining The Scorecard For the past century or two, churches haven’t really changed the scorekeeping mentality. Yes, churches keep score, but I’d venture to say that our scorecard needs remodeling. Men keep score. There’s no way around that because it’s how we are wired. So use that to your advantage; just be willing to redefine the stakes of the game....

Man Minute: Next Sunday

I’ll never forget the sight. It was awful. Like a bad dream that I couldn’t make stop, nor wake up from, except that it was real. I grew up in a small town. We had a railroad track that split the center of our village on Atlantic Street. You pretty much had to cross it no matter what, therefore having to wait on halted trains to change tracks was nothing new, except that something on this day seemed different. The line was longer. A few people were standing around. It was a Sunday. A blue sky, cloudless, beautiful Sunday in December. My mom was driving, and yet for some reason I got out of the car. I remember that I recognized one of my high school buddies standing at the tracks. As I walked toward the stopped train I saw a maroon colored, single cab truck lodged between the train and a large steel utility pole. In the truck was a young man whom I loved with all my heart. He was a senior and I was a sophomore. He was larger than life to me. I’m sure I was more like a kid brother to him, but to me, he was my best friend. And he was dead. The Sunday before my friend Jason went to Heaven, we were on a deer hunt. Because he was about to graduate in a few months, choosing a college was heavy on his mind. We were walking up a ruggedly steep hill on the way to some stands we’d hung high on a ridge. For some reason he stopped. You could...