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God emerges when men express need for each other, leader says

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Men need men.
So says LifeWay Christian Resources’ men’s ministry specialist, Sid Woodruff, who believes a spiritual revival among men could occur if guys would seek out deeper relationships with each other.
“Men tend to keep to themselves,” Woodruff said. “They are raised to be competitive; their self-esteem is based on wins and losses. They don’t like to expose their weaknesses.
“Men tend to internalize a lot of things they are thinking and feeling, but they really want to talk about it,” he continued. “When they come into contact with other men who are real and transparent and share some of the same experiences, they can open up to them.”
Woodruff said being honest and open moves men closer to each other and to God and can pave the way for greater progress in men’s ministry.
“There is no replacement for one man coming alongside another man to help him live his life in accord with God’s Word.”
So he has compiled a men’s ministry manual, “Drawing Men to God,” that offers churches guidelines for encouraging men to express their needs and concerns as they begin a men’s ministry program.
After prayer, the first step in mobilizing men to “do God’s work in the world today,” Woodruff said, is to examine the needs and challenges men face.
In “Drawing Men to God,” Woodruff reports a nationwide survey conducted by George Barna Research Group with a random sampling of 2,000 men reveals:
— Approximately 94 million males are 18 or older.
— On a typical weekend about 26 million men attend church services; 68 million do not.
— One in three men embraces Jesus Christ as Savior; millions rely on other means for salvation.
— 85 percent of all unchurched men were previously churched.
— Since 1991, church attendance, Bible reading, Sunday school attendance, volunteering at church and contributions to church have all decreased among men. The proportion of born-again men has remained unchanged.
— From 1992-96, the average church attendance among men has declined.
Woodruff said he believes these statistics reveal many men are spiritually lost, have been deluded by the pursuit of worldly success; are caught in cycles of pain, addiction and sin; are confused about masculinity and have been disillusioned by false promises of wealth and power.
Consequently, he said, men need:
— Understanding. “They want a church that seeks to understand them.”
— Relationships. “Most men feel lonely, isolated and disconnected. They would appreciate a church that brings them in contact with likeminded peers in non-threatening settings.”
— Instruction for kids. “The number one need in men’s lives is to be better fathers.”
— Solutions. “Most men require the church provide practical, tangible solutions to the difficult problems they face daily.”
— To know God. “Many unchurched men have given up on organized religion but not on God. They want to know God, but they don’t know how.”
Woodruff said men need help with how they feel about themselves, their marriages and family life, stressful job situations, sexual matters and their friendships with other men.
“Many men’s ministry programs tend to be event-driven,” Woodruff said, “and that tends to mean relationships with other men and with God get short-circuited.
“You can put on great events, have great speakers and do great things, but the real reason a man will stay involved is because he believes other men care for him.”
Drawing Men to God (ISBN 0-7673-9077-6) costs $12.95 and may be ordered by calling 1-800-458-2772 or e-mailing customerservice.com.

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  • Terri Lackey