Pastor Tony’s Story
I remember asking my son, “Why don’t your friends come to church?” He honestly replied, “Dad, church sucks! It’s not a place where my friends want to hang out.” This rocked me and was a part of God’s “hook” in getting me to attend the Building Brothers Leadership Training and understand more of the process that God wanted me to be on with the men in my church. I had to ask myself, “Where were the men and why weren’t they attending my church?” God was opening my eyes to the great need in my church and the church at large in America.
The Building Brothers Leadership Training was one of the most impactful seminars I have ever attended. It put me in a safe environment where I could risk being completely transparent with my journey as a man and the larger journey within my church congregation. I walked away with some incredible tools to assist me in ministry.
The largest tool came into focus after the training-I started to see Building Brothers as a map. People need a “map” to assist them in finding their way or they just get lost and frustrated. I see Building Brothers as a great place to start, for church leadership to gather together and use this “map” to evaluate where they are and where they need to go. In self-evaluating, we found places where honestly, we stunk! And in others we were doing well. But the bottom line was that, as men, we needed a place to be “real” and help each other out in our daily battle.
It took a year of “percolating” after the training to begin the year-long process with our men. There were multiple roadblocks I had to deal with. The biggest was that I had to assist my leadership in understanding they weren’t “doing what they were supposed to be doing” because they hadn’t “become what God wanted them to become.” Like most men, and most leaders, they had this backwards. As I met with each man in my leadership team I discovered that we didn’t know where the “itch” was for our men. There are brothers who have gone before us, like Dan Schaffer, who have discovered where it is that men “itch.” I realized that, as their pastor, if I wasn’t going to do it, then who was?
We started the Building Brothers Phase I Training, and the men were a bit skeptical at first and asked some non-threatening questions. But the trust factor started to fall into place and this skepticism melted away. The men were going from just being “attenders” to becoming spiritually impacted and engaged in the process.
During that year, I was invited to try to build a spiritual bridge to the teenagers at a local youth detention facility. Many churches had tried and failed, giving up in a few months. Many of my men, some of whom used to be just “attenders,” told me they were going to be a part of this. They said, “If you’re going, I’m going.” We now regularly have over thirty-five teens attending our interaction times, and I have witnessed fourteen of these youth accept Jesus into their lives. Also, I have seen my men planning how we can “love on them” as they leave the facility and reconnect into society.
My own children call me “Pops,” and some of the men have picked up on this and are calling me by this same name. One man in our Building Brothers group recently asked, “Can I call you ‘Pops’?” I told him, “Sure.” Because of this relationship, he has told me that he didn’t have a dad in his life. His father disappeared and doesn’t seem to care if he lives or dies.
God has been correcting and directing us. I am very satisfied to see these young men being used in the transformational process in others’ lives while I sit back and be their “dad.” My actions tell them, you go “blow it out” in reaching the wounded, and I’ll keep saying this message to them: (1) Jesus Christ came to seek and save the lost; (2) he came to destroy the work of the enemy; (3) he came to give his life for my behalf. Go tell the world these three facts, and I’ll be here cheering for you on the sidelines so you can do this well. That’s what this lost world is hungry for-a real man they can rely upon and call “Pops!”
–taken from Pages XVII-XVIII of Spiritual Fathers: Restoring the Reproductive Church
–taken from Spiritual Fathers: Restoring the Reproductive Church
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