WAKE UP PASTOR! YOU MEN ARE BORED!
I often think back to my 1st year as a high school football coach. Fresh out of college and full of know-it-all-ness I was assigned the duty of coaching the junior varsity football team. My job was to mold the boys who didn't play in the varsity game on Friday night into a cohesive unit for Saturday morning's JV game. As was our custom, we often had the "reserves" stay after the varsity practice had ended, to sharpen up our skills for the up-coming Saturday.
The usual format was to have eleven players work on a series of plays, as 25 other boys stood and watched their position. The plan was that the 25 watching would learn from the 11 playing. Inevitably, I would find much of my time being wasted speaking to the 25 who were supposed to be watching, but were instead, goofing off.
One particular Tuesday evening I received a bit of advice from a grizzled ole veteran coach that stuck with me throughout my 25-year coaching career. After watching my level of frustration rise, this "old-timer" slid quietly up to my side and softly shared the advice that forever changed my approach to working with young men.
"Coach", he said, as he hitched-up his pants over his sinking waistline. "You can work these boys until their tongues are dragging the ground and they will come back tomorrow." His fierce, kind eyes bored in on mine. "But don't you bore them. If they are bored, they'll never come back."
Pastor, your men are bored.
"A poll recently conducted by California-based Barna Research Group, found 85 percent of Christian men are not "spiritually challenged," according to a statement from Promise Keepers, a Colorado-based men's organization.
The Ole Coach must be smiling.
I love Promise Keepers. I attended my first one in Folsom Field in 1990. I have been part of it all. "Stand In the Gap", "Storm the Gates", and "Another Million Men at The Cross". PK changed my life. They called me to a greater commitment to my Faith. As an estimated 5 million men have experienced, a PK event deepens you. I learned to pray with my children, to value my wife, to reach out to my Christian brother, to help with household chores. As Promise Keepers awakened the heart of the Christian man, by the millions men answered the challenge to a deeper Christian walk. They left the stadiums with great expectations and returned to their local church genuinely determined to change.
But, out of the glare of the lights and the aroma of men, they fell back into the pattern of "church", and the same stale church programs that for years they had avoided. Soon the fire was dimmed, the passion was gone, and the lion had been tamed. Longing for the thrill of the game, they sat quietly in their churches watching the pastor's Sunday performance.
Men are bored, and they are quitting the team.
The nature of man is to fight. For thousands of years men have filled stadiums to watch gladiators battle. Whether it is a Roman Coliseum or a modern-day college football game, men turn out in droves to live vicariously through the warriors on the field. The battle is exhilarating, touching us in the deepest part of our maleness. Deep in his heart, any man worthy of his testosterone longs for the battle. Pastors, do you really want to know why men are not "spiritually challenged"?
They have no battle.
Longing to do something great for Christ, we have instead been given effeminate, nursery school duties. How many dishes do we have to wash? How much bread must we hand out to the needy? How many men's breakfasts do we attend before we find that passion�that fire that ignites our heart? We love the Lord, and long to serve Him, but why is it the average Joe would rather attend an Ohio State football game than join our men's group for a trip to the local nursing home?
The Lion of the Tribe of Judah lives in us and is itching to roar. Unfortunately, the church is trying to domesticate us, trying to transform the Lion into a Lamb.
Five years ago I was an effeminized Christian man. A leader of men in the real world, I was a pew sitter in the church, expecting the pastor and the women to do the church business. Content to do dishes, pray for with my kids, and turn the other cheek, it took a blindside attack from the ACLU for me to awaken. Sued for having the audacity to pray with our football teams, I was unceremoniously drug kicking and screaming into the cultural war. For the first time in my life I was confronted with the question "How does a Christian man act?" With my back to the wall I was faced with the option to roll over or fight.
I have been swinging away ever since.
In 2002 we organized a group of lion-hearted Christians who were sick and tired of watching America's foundation be destroyed. Realizing that Jesus told us that the "gates of hell would not prevail against the church" we decided that it was time to stop hiring mercenaries (Republicans, conservatives) to face the enemy that Jesus had specifically called the "church" to oppose. Tired of the squishy, "pray for them" approach to the enemies of God, we determined in our hearts to oppose evil wherever it reared its ugly head.
We are in the game, and our Faith has come alive.
While millions of Christians gathered in the safety of their church on Sunday April 25th,, 2004 the Minutemen, and women, (www.minutemenunited.org) trekked to Washington D.C. to stand for life against those who were marching for death. Hundreds of thousands of pro-death marchers spewed venom and hatred at us as we proudly defended the unborn.
"Hey buddy", we yelled at the effeminized men in the parade who marched dutifully behind their bossy women, "Real men raise babies, they don't kill them." Seems pretty radical, eh?
It was the most gratifying church service of my life!
Want men back in your church, Pastor? Quit making them act like sissies. Give them a Gospel that demands something, a Gospel that calls them to a battle, a Gospel that they are willing to die for. Stop trying to turn them into women.
Last August our family traveled to Chicago for a few days of R and R. The searing hot sun so common in the Midwest was baking us as we walked the several blocks from our hotel to the waterfront. We suddenly found ourselves at the entrance of the Lincoln Park Zoo. As we wound our way along the steaming asphalt I muttered under my breath my displeasure at coming all of the way to Chicago to be char-grilled in the zoo. As I rounded a bend there was a sign directing us towards the "big cats". "Interesting", I thought. Let's check out the Lions.
As we walked by the glassed-in, fake mountains so prevalent in zoos today I strained to get a look at the majestic lions. Certainly they were there, probably lying in the shade, waiting on some red meat from the zookeeper. To my dismay, no cats were to be seen.
Suddenly, my daughter yelled, "Up here, Dad." I carried my sweat-soaked body a few paces, to the entrance of the building where the lions were housed. As we walked in, the coolness of the air conditioning offered an immediate relief from the scorching sun. Looking to my left, behind the glass, stood a majestic lion on the top of the miniature-golf-like mountain. Our eyes seemed to meet. With his fluffy mane proudly furled, the King of the Beasts walked down the path, stopped in front of our family, and looked us in the eye. I stood transfixed by this huge animal, feeling as if he had been waiting for me.
"Finally", he must have been thinking, "someone who understands."
He threw back his large head, shook his yoke-like mane, bared his teeth, and trumpeted a roar that shook the entire auditorium.
"There is my church," the Lord spoke to my heart. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, trapped in the air-conditioning, bored by life, waiting to be fed�..longing to roar.
All that was missing was the padded pews.
"Put me in Coach!" I can't tell you the number of times I have heard that over the years. The heart-cry of a young man is to get in the game. Sadly, as these young men get older, the cry to war gets muted, as the church undertakes a domestication process, turning the lions into kittens.
So the lions look for other places to fight. Some turn to the workplace, others to sports, still more to the NASCAR, all looking for a place where it is okay to be a man.
At no time in American history has the need been greater for Christian men who are willing to roar. As evil boldly parades up and down the streets of America, God's churches have become like the Lincoln Park Zoo. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, those who are charged with storming the gates of hell, sit in man-made zoos with padded pews, too domesticated to roar.
If this great nation is to survive, the animals must be set free.
"Rise up of men of God, have done with lesser things. Give heart and soul and mind and strength, to serve the King of Kings."
"Put me in Coach". Can't you hear the cry, pastor. Set the captives free!
I heard somewhere that when the lion roars every animal in the jungle goes silent, fully aware of the ferocity of the greatest of all beasts. America is rapidly becoming a jungle.
Now is time for the lions to roar.
� 2005 Dave Daubenmire
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Coach Dave Daubenmire, founder and President of Pass The Salt Ministries www.ptsalt.com and Minutemen United www.minutemenunited.org, is host of the high octane Pass The Salt radio show heard in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1999 Coach Daubenmire was sued by the ACLU for praying with his teams while coaching high school in Ohio. He now spends his energy fighting for Christian principles in the public domain.
Soon the fire was dimmed, the passion was gone, and the lion had been tamed. Longing for the thrill of the game, they sat quietly in their churches watching the pastor's Sunday performance.