Pastor Chip’s Story
Most Christian congregations in America are significantly lacking “something”. I believe that “something” is a pathway for men-beginning with a place for them to come to know Christ in a comfortable setting and continuing with a track within the church that would lead them to maturity in Christ, reproducing mature Christians over and over again.
I remember first hearing of Building Brothers and thinking, “Is this just another program to fire up my men? Why will this be different?” Through the years I had witnessed my men participate in large events and get pumped up but yet only days later fall right back into their comfortable rut. I heard Dan give an overview of the “process” and immediately understood that Building Brothers was going to be different.
I decided to find a man within our congregation who had a heart for building men within our church. I asked Lamar Ford to attend the Building Brothers Leadership Training with me, and together we experienced the benefit of training men in this process. In my past years of ministry there had been a sense of hopelessness in reaching men. Building Brothers Leadership Training helped me realize that reaching men is not hopeless. I walked away saying, “I can do this as a leader of these men! We can do this as a church!”
Attending the Leadership Training helped me to personally engage my heavenly Father at an even deeper level. This didn’t, or couldn’t, happen until I took a more intense look at the whole father vacuum concept and the painful relationships surrounding this issue for me. You see, my parents divorced when I was only a year old. When I was twelve years old, my father stated, “You are none of mine.”
I thought I was completely over this wounding, but realized more of the healing process and a deepened trust in God needed to take place in my life. It wasn’t until this training that I understood why I was beginning to learn to trust my heavenly Father. I was subconsciously saying, “I hope God won’t be like my earthly father and abandon me when I need him.” Well, my heavenly Father is not like my earthly father. These three days allowed both Lamar and I to accelerate through some of these large issues surrounding our fathers.
As a pastor, I needed to tap into Lamar’s spiritual hunger and heart for men, so I empowered him to take the leadership of the men in our church. I realized that I didn’t have the time or energy to “be the man” to drive this process. Rather, I needed to have a vision to personally build into the men who can steer this vehicle-usually not the most popular individuals, or even the most gifted, but the ones who have a calling on their lives to serve. As pastors, we are to teach, trust and turn ’em loose!
Lamar and I have shared this hope with the men in our church, and they have quickly caught it! We have seen these men dealing with issues that have kept them from a richer relationship with Jesus Christ. One brother in my group shared, “You are the men I’m close to, the ones I depend upon in my spiritual walk. When I need help, this is where I come!”
We’ve established these close and personal relationships and have developed resources for these men in the spiritual battles that take place in their lives. This has generated a desire to see other men experience what they have experienced. Even though we are only six months into this process, they are already engaging other men. Reproduction is already taking place!
We are having men visit our church and they are staying. One of these men recently said to me, “This church is taking me faster than I’m comfortable going, but I don’t know how I can say no to God.” He’s pumped about the opportunity to get involved in the second year of Building Brothers.
I strongly encourage pastors to attend the Leadership Training-but not alone. Bring a man, or a few men, with you who have this hunger I’ve spoken about. Having Lamar with me helped me to walk away and see the vision be borne out six months later. It was as if I had a Building Brothers staff member right in my church.
This movement of men within our church has been a pathway that launches men further in their spiritual growth so they can engage Christ on a much deeper level. I have seen them grow into spiritually mature and Christ-centered disciples. We need to lead the way, helping them become believers building believers (we’ve added this to our church sign!).
I’ve heard Lamar say, “In order to reach men we must establish a comfortable place so they will take the ‘earplugs’ out and really listen to us. It’s only then that we can properly deal with their earthly father issues and ultimately their issues with their heavenly Father. The coloration between the two can’t be ignored any longer! In these ‘travels of the heart’ they are brought to a place of experiencing the holiness of God, which compels them to repent and move forward spiritually.” In establishing this pathway, we have assisted our men in running the spiritual race that Christ has called them, and us, to run!
I praise God for the men of Building Brothers who have taught us to bring out the “something” in our church; they’ve come up with a viable solution to the crisis within the church. I thank them for their generous expenditures of time and energies in assisting us in becoming all that God intended for us to be in Christ. We are still in the process, but the evidence of improvement is already being experienced; the vision of what we can become is coming into focus.Bookmark the permalink.
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