Let me start by saying (and for some, this will be controversial) that according to the Bible, the role of elder or pastor is given to men (1 Timothy 3:1–7). This in no way denigrates women or lessens their calling to make disciples and contribute to the mission of God. In fact, the ladies are often better than the guys at stepping up and serving—thank you ladies!
But that is not the topic of this post. In this post, I’m talking to pastors about men in their churches, and here’s the bottom line: If you cannot rally and lead men to mission with you, you should not be a pastor.
Pastors must be qualified men who can lead other men to follow Jesus and fight the good fight. If men will not follow you into battle, you will never be able to lead the mission of God to replant your church and then plant more churches.
REPLANTING A CHURCH IS A BATTLE
The Bible is clear that on the earth there are two opposing kingdoms in conflict: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. As Christians, we have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness and transferred into Jesus’ kingdom (Colossians. 1:13–14). Our mission is to advance Jesus’ kingdom.
Although we have a real enemy, we don’t fight against people; we fight for people. Our fight is a spiritual battle. It’s a fight to destroy demonic lies and uphold the love, grace, and truth of God. This is why the Apostle Paul said, “The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Corinthians. 10:4).
If you cannot rally and lead men to mission with you, should not be a pastor.
Planting or replanting a church is a direct assault on the enemy, and it results in spiritual warfare. This is why in the Pastoral Epistles, the Apostle Paul tells young pastor Timothy to “wage the good warfare” (1 Timothy 1:18–19) and “share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy. 2:3–4).
Make no mistake: through his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus secured victory. The war is won! But the battle continues. And Christian men are called to lead the battle by making disciples and planting churches.
WIN MEN TO WIN THE BATTLE
In America, there is an epidemic of broken families and fatherless children. This is, in large part, because men fail to love and lead as God intended them to. Sadly, we have lost a lot of ground to the enemy here, and many churches in America reflect the culture.
Although we have a real enemy, we don’t fightagainst people; we fightfor people. Our fight is a spiritual battle.
If we want to see healthy churches, men must lead the way. If men don’t step up to the challenge to replant and lead your church, everyone suffers, especially women and children. Godly legacies and godly churches are built by the power of the Holy Spirit through the hands of humble men who selflessly care for God’s church through sacrifice and perseverance.
RALLY THE TROOPS
One of the best ways to rally the men in your church is to call for a special meeting. There are several ways to do this, including holding a men’s prayer night, a men’s training day, or a men’s weekend advance. We will go over some details about how to hold these events in the next post, but your goal is to call the men to repentance, inspire them to fight the good fight, and build unity and brotherhood.
Planting or replanting a church is a direct assault on the enemy, and it results in spiritual warfare.
CALL MEN UP TO GOSPEL GREATNESS
I’m the father of two boys, and what I’m about to tell you is true of all men whether they are 5 years old or 50 years old: Men do not respond well to unloving criticism or being talked down to. Men need to be called up to greatness, so whatever gathering you have for the men in your church, keep this in mind. So how do you call men up to greatness?
- Give them a big-picture vision that helps them see opportunities for God’s mission through your church replant.
- Remind them that they are at war and called to fight. Make sure they know they have an enemy and cannot be passive in the battle.
- Help them see what will happen in their lives, families, and legacies if they do not fight the good fight.
- Ask them, “What is preventing you from being the man God wants you to be? How is the man God is calling you to be different than who you are today?”
- Invite them to join you in working hard to replant the church and build a legacy together.
- Give them clear direction on what the next step is—be specific, keep it simple, and give a deadline.
- Encouraging them to persevere and never give up.
Inevitably, some pastors will read this list and still have no idea how to do this. If you have never seen this modeled, I recommend watching a couple of movies to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. Watch the opening scene of Patton with George C. Scott or the war speech in Braveheart with Mel Gibson. Both movies are about men who lead other men to battle and call them up. Their examples are not perfect, but they will give you an idea of what I’m talking about.
Men do not respond well to unloving criticism or being talked down to. Men need to be called up to greatness.
BE THE MAN YOU WANT THEM TO BE
Lastly, be the type of man others want to follow willingly. You will not do this perfectly, but thankfully, Jesus did, and you can look to him.
- Model humility and meekness. Young men typically feel they need to prove themselves, and they overcompensate for inexperience with zeal and brute force. Don’t be a bully. No one respects a bully.
- Model followership. Show men how to submit to Christ, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians. 5:21), and submit to men who have authority over them.
- Model how to fight the good fight.
- Model repentance of sin. This includes repenting of passivity and complacency.
- Model being a loving husband and father.
- Model brotherhood. Soldiers, firefighters, longshoremen—there is a brotherhood among men who work hard together, and men laboring for the gospel should share that same brotherhood.
In our day, most men don’t have a father, and they have a worldly view of what it means to be a man. They are looking for a godly example to follow. Before you can recruit the men in your church to join the replanting battle, you have to be that example.
What needs to change in your heart before you can lead men to change? What do you need to repent of before you lead men to repentance? What do you need to start doing before you lead men to step it up and sacrifice?