Grace Pres Men’s Retreat

Men, if you weren’t able to make our men’s retreat this past weekend, here’s a synopsis of the two studies Aaron Messner gave us on what it means to lead.

He began his first study with two assumptions: 1) Men are hard wired by God to pursue the glory of God with purpose and desire; 2) sin corrupts us through and through – we are still ambitious, but we distort our callings to selfish and harmful ends. In the past, this distortion looked like men valiantly pursuing the wrong things; men were hyperdriven. Today, what he sees is that men (young men in particular) have no ambition – no one’s leading, taking risks, doing great things. All we want is comfort and ease; we’re afraid of responsibility and leadership.

Aaron mentioned three traits he sees in men today: 1) cynicism – there’s nothing worth pursuing, nothing worth sacrificing for, no great men, no glory roads, we know the dirt on everyone; 2) lighter-fluid commitment – a lack of perseverance – we get passionate about causes but then we flare out; 3) passivity – men have had it drilled into them that they ought not dominate, so they have gone the opposite direction and abdicated their responsibility – passivity is seen as the only answer to domination, and it gets covered with spiritual language like “humility,” “servant leadership.”

The Bible, said Aaron, gives three huge answers to these three problems: 1) to cynicism, the Bible gives us the great story of God’s mission in the world, bringing glory to Himself by bringing people to Himself; there is definitely something worth living for, worth dying for, worth taking risks for. 2) to a lack of perseverance, the Bible gives us the cross – Jesus accomplished His mission by suffering, and He finished the work; hardship and suffering isn’t a sign that we are doing the wrong thing. 3) to passivity, the Bible gives us vocation – God doesn’t need us but He chooses to use us; it isn’t humility to say you can’t do what God commands you to do, but disobedience; we aren’t worthy or able in ourselves, but by His strength we go forth and do what He’s called us to do.

A biblical theology of mission, of the cross, and of vocation are part of what the church needs to inculcate in its men so that men will lead without passivity or domination, will go into the world without cynicism or fear, and will suffer to the end knowing that Jesus is completely worth whatever it costs.



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