(Photo: Every Man Ministries)
Despite the fact that millions of Christian men are members of local churches, many are looking outside the Christian community for their purpose in life, says the founder of Every Man Ministries and the men's pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.
"It's time for the church to address that 800-pound gorilla in the room," said Pastor Kenny Luck, who wrote the book Sleeping Giant – No Move of God Without Men of God in order to help point churches and men towards a more Christ-centered direction.
"There's 2.1 billion Christians in the world, over three quarters of them being Christian men, but where are they? The majority of them are finding significance outside the church. They are not finding their purpose or significance inside the church," Luck told The Christian Post.
"So, we have men that are affiliated, but not activated. It's a very hard truth for the church to swallow, but it's truth that the church needs to act on and reflect on," he said. "The church is missing out on all that power and potential for the local mission around the world."
He said Sleeping Giant and the accompanying book study, which is co-written by fellow-pastor Tom Crick, is "a movement to get men from being affiliated to activated – from the audience to the army."
Part of the problem is that churches often continue the procession of appearances, focusing on a seemingly healthy church with successful weekend services, discipleship programs, and different ministries and outreaches to "our credit," Luck writes in his book.
He would like to see churches turnaround the problem of unengaged men in their congregation by alerting Christian leaders to the power and potential that's been missing and suggesting they invest in a strategy.
"All pastors would do themselves a huge favor by having as many men as possible in their congregation read Sleeping Giant," he insists. "This book contextualizes the role of pastors and the men in the church and their partnership in the Kingdom of God."
LifeWay Church Resources and B&H Publishing Group have partnered with Luck and Every Man Ministries for a "multi-year focus on Sleeping Giant" to empower the men of the church. A press release this week by the partnership to promote the book and the study material asked, "Has the church orphaned its own men to outside culture?"
"Based on their behaviors, the unequivocal answer to that question is a resounding 'yes' with few exceptions," stated the press release. "Men are the most under-reached audience within our churches, with millions affiliated, but not activated. When men are aligned with culture: the church, women and children suffer. When men are aligned with God: the church, women and children thrive."
Luck explains the dynamics this way: "Because we have not provided a clear vision and pathway that resonates deeply for men, by default we are orphaning them to the culture in a broken quest for validation. Sons of Christ are seeking to establish their value and find meaning by becoming sons of culture. It feels and looks as dysfunctional as it sounds, but the research doesn't lie and most pastors know it."
Over the last decade, Luck and Crick have experienced a successful men's ministry at Saddleback with the help of lead pastor Rick Warren. There is an estimated 7,000 men who are considered church members at the church, most of whom are active in a small group (Bible and book study). Thousands of men have participated in local and global mission trips, including community volunteer service, building projects, and short and long-term emergency relief work.
Sleeping Giant incorporates principles that include a 'spiritual pathway' that calls men in the congregation, as well as the community to "Get In, Get Healthy, Get Strong, and Get Going."
Among the book's endorsers is George O. Wood, who is the general superintendent of the General Council of the Assemblies of God.
"Sleeping Giant does what it infers – awakening men to their calling and potential. Every pastor, church, and leader that desires to activate men for God's work should read this book, and so should every man. It's a life-changer and a church-changer," Wood said.
On the Web, http://www.everymanministries.com.