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Crisis of Male Leadership

The Beginning of Real Manhood

Letter from the Editor's Desk

ACTS Magazine - November 2006 - a publication of the General
Council of the Churches of God, 7th Day.

"Pistol Pete" will be remembered as one of the greatest
basketball players of all time. He set 11 NCAA records and
averaged an astonishing 44.2 points per game in college. Until a
leg injury forced him to retire, he was making a million dollars
a year playing professional basketball. To many, "Pistol Pete"
had it all. Fame. Fortune. Success. But none of this satisfied
his search "for life," as he put it. His quest led him to try
Hinduism, Ufology, and later strict vegetarianism. But he still
felt spiritually hungry. It was then he turned to Christianity,
and he experienced the lifechanging grace of God through a
personal relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.

Millions of men live in search of fame, fortune, and success.
They think that if they could just make more money or get a
promotion, everything would be better. Their emphasis is on the
temporal. They live to glorify themselves. But all of this is in
vain. Like the sands of time, temporal things eventually fade
away. Though millions of men (and women) believe the things of
earth will bring them peace and happiness, how could temporal
things ever compare to the eternal things of the Lord?

Men of God come to know their purpose in life in a relationship
with God and His Son Jesus Christ. Men of God focus on the
eternal truths of God as revealed in His Word the Bible. They
live to glorify their Maker. Although we live in a world rampant
with adultery, men of God are faithful husbands. Even though 27
million American children live without their fathers at home, men
of God are committed fathers.

In "The Pursuit of God" A. W. Tozer captures what it means to be
God's man. Tozer wrote, "Let the seeking man reach a place where
life and lips join to say continually, 'Be thou exalted,' and a
thousand minor problems will be solved at once. His Christian
life ceases to be the complicated thing it had been before and
becomes the very essence of simplicity." It is fitting that
Tozer's epitaph in Akron, Ohio simply reads "A.W Tozer - A Man of
God."

ACTS devotes the November issue to "Being God's Man." 
John R. Kennedy,


                       THE CRICIS OF MALE LEADERSHIP

                                    by

                             Tom Roberts, Ph.D

     In recent decades, the Church of Jesus Christ has undergone
a real change in the make-up of its membership. In some local
congregations, a female membership can range as high as 75% in
the large community churches. Men have often exclaimed that this
is due to the feminization of the Christian church due to its
nice-guy-approach to life's instructions. As well, there may be
very little room to be "real" or to be able to admit one's
struggles without compromising one's status. Another reason may
be that many men do not identify with the feminine
characteristics of so-called spiritual worship, with so much
emphasis on the tender side of Christ's nature, along with
spiritual talk about ethereal beliefs that have little to do with
our day-to-day activities.
     In many churches where Mom is providing a leadership role in
the absence of male leadership, the chances of the entire family
attending church as a unit stays in the lower 20 percent. When
there is male leadership, the percentage can go as high as 92
percent. But this example only occurs in a few cases.

     Why are so few men willing to stand up to the plate and set
the spiritual stage for their families and loved ones? Do we need
to reinvent the meaning of spiritual leadership?

DE-MASCULINIZATION EQUALS FRUSTRATION

     Real manhood, in the biblical sense, employs a masculine
heart that is truly protective and somewhat wild in its nature.
     It is quite difficult in our current cultural climate for
men to use this characteristic for a positive end. The mountains
have all been climbed. For the most part, the lands have all been
explored. All we have now is space, the final frontier. And if
this doesn't make the situation even more difficult, we have a
cultural emphasis trying to blend male and female together to
create a more sensitive male.

     Sensitivity truly can be a blessing, but what do women and
children really look for in a balanced male figure? We're all
familiar with the tender but tough syndrome that was discussed a
few decades back, but one of the areas that must be developed is
the way men speak to men in the forward method of speech. This is
not always the same technique that should be employed for
communication between the sexes. And so, some men have been
falling for this demasculinization of the male soul, truly
believing that men have not evolved emotionally in their
wholeness as women have.

     Now we have a frustrated female segment of the population
who are liberated and know not what to do with the freedoms they
have gained by rejection of some of the values that society once
held to be normal. And to make matters even more confusing, we
now have a generation of young females who are not acting in a
complimentary fashion to men but who are very aggressive even in
their personal conversation. It is certainly true that many
segments of our society have not received a fair sharing of
opportunities that this culture has to offer, but to destroy the
foundation of our faith and family structure will only lead to
more personal confusion and isolation.
     Sociologists now tell us that a person expects an average of
three partners in a given lifetime and that many will suffer from
loneliness in old age if the present trend continues. At present,
the Christian church leads the world by two percentage points in
the instance of divorce.

     Our instruction has been ineffective in teaching the reason
that we have marriage, as well as the horrible cost of divorce;
unless, it is necessary for the protection of a partner where
extreme abuse is present (1 Corinthians 7:15). The Lord has
called us to peace. The institutional church lacks moral
authority in this society around us.

RECLAIMING THE TURF

     Men need to understand that it is our tender emotions that
make us powerful if they are properly directed. A man with love
in his heart can fight to the death if necessary to protect those
he loves in a time of crisis. However, protection is also a daily
activity. Where men set the spiritual stage whether at church or
at home, a protective covering for the family is provided. And
when the relationship is secure, a proper mode of adapting for
church and home may be employed (Ephesians 5:22-33). The ability
to adapt one to another is where the real strength lies in any
relationship. And this comes from knowing that you are indeed a
real man who has reached his manhood because he doesn't have to
prove it to others. 
     The same is true for a mature woman where the sweet words of
a spouse can increase our wellbeing. We must realize that for all
our human similarities and needs, we are in other ways inexorably
different to compliment one another in the wholeness of life.
     Many women have exclaimed, why do men seem to be so
emotionally shallow? A survey of two thousand men was completed
in the early 90's at Harvard University. The questions ranged
from why did men use women? To, why don't men share more of their
feelings with women? The vast majority of the men interviewed
stated that they didn't understand the indirect communication
offered by many women. It seemed to be manipulative, which
obviously leads to frustration and a deepening communication
barrier. And over the issue of why did so many men use women to
meet their own needs, the lower 90% of men stated that they felt
men liked women better than women liked them, so they were just
looking to be rejected at any time. What is needed is a common
sense approach that is truly thoughtful of the other person in
mind.

     If we were able to communicate between the sexes the way in
which we all preferred, this would resolve many
misunderstandings. Many couples talk a lot but how many
really grow in deep understanding for each other and from a
spiritual dimension; and learn to minister to the wounds that we
have all garnered through our travels in life? 

THE NEED TO BE A HERO

     Our culture has very few heroes left these days. Even the
professions that I used to warrant a great deal of respect are
seen with a great deal of suspicion. 
     There is a national obsession of scorning everything our
leaders do, both in the public square and in the church. A man
generally looks for a woman to adore while he looks to be
respected in her eyes. With the lack of romance in our public
culture, neither men nor women are winning the hearts of each
other in a wholesome manner. Roy Masters has said that men need
to be the heroes of women and to unlock the key to her heart
emotionally, so she really bonds to him at the deepest level.
     But, instead, many men are asking women to save them from a
life of loneliness (Genesis 2:18). This is creating a terrible
imbalance due to the fact that the needs of both sexes are truly
not being met today. It isn't popular to let somebody know how
much you really need them to fulfill the purpose that God has
granted us to share in the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7).

     In all this confusion, men are not only to set the spiritual
stage in the home but in the church as well. This is an
interesting phenomenon. We have over 90% of the eldership and
pastors being male and the larger charismatic churches being
dominated by women as members. Yet many of these women are not
fulfilling their spiritual ministries, unlike Phillip's four
daughters (Acts 21:8-9) or Phoebe (Romans 16:1-2), and we have
feminine counsel that is truly not being heard or promoted. It is
the job of male leadership to provide a safe haven with a
spiritual covering that will promote the spiritual development of
women by following the example set by the leadership.

     Headship provides covering through example in the role of a
servant. When the Scripture speaks of headship it is a leadership
function by example rather than authority that is based from ones
sexual gender. "Head of" in 1 Corinthians 11:3 and Ephesians
5:22-33 can better be translated as "source" or "order of" (See
Kittell's New Testament Dictionary). In the same manner. Christ
set the spiritual stage so that our salvation could be completed
in Him because while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us
(Romans 5:S), and we love Him because He first loved us.
     Proverbs declares 'iron sharpens iron' so we are truly,
brothers, in hope. Men need to rise to meet the challenges of our
times paving the way for the church to stand with us in true
equality. It should be a man's nature to lead by example,
creating a dynasty that promotes spiritual wellness, and true
masculine and feminine identity. And this wild spirit that was
given by God to men could be fine-tuned to provide a nurturing
and powerful atmosphere for generations to come.

                             .................

Tom Roberts is a Ministry Coordinator for the General Council of
the Churches of God, 7th Day. Dr.Roberts resides in Idaho with
his wife Barbara and their son Billy.


 
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