"So when they had come together, they asked him, 'Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?' He said to them, 'It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.'" Acts 1:6-8, ESV
Later they were distracted again when Jesus ascended into heaven, and 2 angels refocused them: "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?" (v11). They went on to say that Jesus is coming back. Implication: Get to work on the mission he just gave you!
Jesus reminds us of our mission! And since men are called to lead, it is the job of men to lead in the mission, AND to lead in reminding others and refocusing God's people on the misison of taking the gospel out as witnesses to the ends of the earth.
1. Men need to LEAD in the mission-focus of Jesus.
A. Lead by Example - by being individual witnesses.
B. Lead our Families in the mission-focus. Here is where we will focus, because this is simply not being done by most men. Men, does your family understand its mission-purpose? Does your family understand the inward purpose of building up the church, and the outward purpoes of being a witness of Christ? Have you as a man communicated this to your family? Do you constantly remind them of our goal and purpose?
Here are some ways we can do this, men:
- Family Prayer Time Focusing on Missions. Include the whole family, cultivating in each member a heart for Jesus' mission. Use a map of the world. Use the evening news (if it is reported that 100 people have died in a nation with little or no gospel witness, then it is likely that 100 people have passed into judgment without Christ. Pray for that nation as a family, that God would send his gospel to those people). Use church mission reports (read them to your family and pray over them).
- Family Giving for Missions. Let your children know that you are giving part of your money so people can hear about Jesus. Give locally and abroad; both supporting the work of your local church AND being sensitive to the needs the Spirit of God brings before you as a family.
- Family ACTION in Missions. The gospel deed and the gospel word in action. Invite non-Christians into your home for dinner. Then include the whole family in preparation for the meal by praying together that God would work, working together as a family to prepare the meal, clean the house, etc. Invite co-workers, neighbors, etc.
Application Questions (watch out, these may hurt!)
- Are you including your family in your ministry, men, or running off and leaving them behind?
- Does your wife feel that she is an important part in the family's ministry and mission? Have you communicated this to her and told her how important her role is?
- How are you doing in the gospel deed? The gospel word?
- What would our wives and children say if asked what our family's mission is? What would they say our family's PLAN is concerning missions? Have we communicated this to our family clearly; are we reminding them of the mission, praying about it together, sacrificing to see it happen, working together towards it? OR would our family have to answer that our family's mission - what we're living for - is money, stuff, pleasure, entertainment, our job...or NOTHING at all?
Missions should be a family adventure, with everyone in the family working together! Our family should understand that we are building blocks of our local church, doing our part in the larger community of faith, on mission for Jesus.
C. Leading in the Church. Men should lead the refocus effort towards Christ's mission in the church as well. The church should be reminded of our mission by men other than the pastors! Give praises, testimonies, reports, exhortations, public prayers in church meetings, etc that point the church to Christ's mission!
2. Men Need to Encourage Each Other in the Mission. Meet together, pray together, love each other, take interest in each other, ask each other missions-focussed questions, stir each other up towards love for Jesus and for people, etc.
3. Sadly, Most Men are NOT Leading. Here are some statistics from the Barna research group:
- In churches across America on Sundays, 61% of attendees will be female, 39% male.
- On any Sunday there will be 11 million more women in church gatherings than men.
- 75% of volunteers in the church are women. 90% of boys check out of church by age 20.
- The average ratio of men to women in Christian colleges is 1 male to every 3 females.
- 100% more likely to be involved in discipleship.
- 57% more likely to hold leadership in the church.
- 54% more likely to participate in a small group.
- 39% more likely to have regular devotional time.
- 33% more likely to volunteer.
- 29% more likely to attend church gatherings.
- 29% more likely to read their Bible.
- 16% more likely to pray.
Men, let us REPENT of our lack of leadership. Let us look to Christ in faith, who gives us his resurrection power and life through the Holy Spirit! Let us serve Christ in his mission, and lead our families and local churches in the mission-focus of Jesus!