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‘Men’s Fraternity’ offers avenue to help guys become real men

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–God created men to be leaders in their homes. Pastors and churches have a responsibility to teach them how to accomplish this mandate. LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention has teamed up with Pastor Robert Lewis to offer churches “Men’s Fraternity” to show them how.

Lewis is teaching pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, Ark., and best-selling author of “Raising a Modern-Day Knight.” He created the Men’s Fraternity ministry, a three-year series, to spiritually transform the lives of men living in today’s tumultuous culture.

Dads abandon their homes and families break down. Tragically, information that used to be passed down from father to son — information that built a man — is lost.

Churches can help stop such a cycle by enabling men to take their biblical responsibility as husbands and fathers seriously.

“I think it has fallen back to the church and to pastors to say, ‘How are we going to make up this tragic deficit of manhood in America?'” Lewis said. “To me, it’s the big question of the local church.”

Lewis came up with the idea for Men’s Fraternity as a means to equip men in his church and community to be better husbands and fathers. Last year, more than 1,000 churches used the study in the United States and around the world. The Men’s Fraternity study covers three topics: A Biblical Definition of Manhood, 25 Ways to be a Servant Leader, and Fathers and Daughters.

Lewis envisioned even more men — and families — reaping the benefits of the study.

“One of the problems of getting out the curriculum is just knowing how to get it to the churches,” Lewis said. “Being a local church pastor, I have really limited access to other churches, whereas LifeWay has access to churches all over the world.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that LifeWay has chosen to work with us.”

LifeWay and Lewis share a goal of offering resources that equip pastors to become highly skilled at touching men at the most significant level, then helping these men develop into Jesus Christ’s plan for their manhood.

“LifeWay is helping me to get to pastors so they can win with their men,” Lewis said. “That’s what our great pleasure is in this relationship. We’re going to the pastors in America and saying ‘Here’s a resource. Here’s some training. When we’re gone, you can be the winner with your men. You can be the light in your community to help men rediscover a masculinity that Jesus Christ had in mind for them when He created them. It’s doable.’

“I believe if we can do that with pastors all around America that might be the first step toward true revival in our country.”

Lewis compares the pastor’s role with men in the study to a father’s role with his sons: an instructor, a guide and a shepherd.

“All those biblical images we see in the New Testament really fit the pastor’s role over his men,” Lewis said. “They look to him to be a model that is going to help them understand what life is about and how to live it as a man.”

Boys first must learn what it means to be a man before they can become one.

“With a boy, it’s all about what he can get,” Lewis said. “With a man, it becomes all about what he can give. There’s a big difference.”

Lewis recognizes that pastors are busy and probably wonder how they have time to do one more thing. But, he said, Men’s Fraternity is a resource whose time has come.

“About 10 years ago, some guys in my church came to me asking me to do something for the men,” he said. “They kept expressing that they wanted something more than just a Bible study. I’m trained to teach the Scriptures and preach the Scriptures, so I wasn’t really sure what they were getting at. Then, one of the guys hit it when he said, ‘I want to meet with guys like it was when we were in the fraternity where we could be real.’ The term ‘men’s fraternity’ came from that. But, at that point, it was still just a Bible study.”

Lewis’ church conducted the study for two years, with about 30-40 guys attending. At the end of those two years, Lewis decided to explore the Scriptural definition of manhood.

“After studying, I announced to the church that we were going to continue to do Men’s Fraternity, but we were going to do it around this issue of discovering manhood,” he said. “When I showed up for the next weekly morning meeting with the men, to my utter surprise, instead of 30-40 men, there were 300. I knew then I had stuck my finger into one of these raging, spiritual streams Henry Blackaby [author of “Experiencing God”] talks about. God wanted to do something.”

“Men’s ministry has been blessed over the last couple of decades, but that movement has waned because we’ve lacked a key resource that I think Men’s Fraternity provides,” said LifeWay President James T. Draper Jr. “It’s been proven over and over that in the churches where this ministry is used, men’s ministry has gained new momentum; men have stepped up to be leaders in their home and in their community.

“As a publishing group, we’ve been searching for the right resource to invest our time and energy in. I’m thrilled that LifeWay has joined forces with what I think is the premium men’s ministry resource in the nation.”

For more information, go to www.lifeway.com/mensfraternity. The Men’s Fraternity resources are available through customer service at lifeway.com and (800) 458-2772, and from LifeWay Christian Stores at lifewaystores.com and (800) 233-1123.

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