A special assignment. I like how Eugene Peterson translates Paul’s opening line to Timothy, a special assignment. A special assignment to me speaks of a mission, of a journey, of an adventure. And that excites me. That gets my imagination going and my adrenaline pumping. A special assignment means that there is something entrusted to me and I have to take care of it.
And it’s this kind of language that I think is missing in the church. Look around your church and see how many men are really engaged or even there. According to U.S. Congregations (findings here) of all the adult worshipers in any given worship service 61% are female and 39% are males. What’s going on? What’s wrong with this picture?
I have an idea, and it’s not a new one. But I’m wondering if we’ve made church too feminine. Think about it. How many men are comfortable with talking about intimacy? How many men have intimacy and/or relationship problems? What do we always talk about when we are at church? An intimate relationship with Jesus. For the average male that answer is full of scary words.
Intimacy and manliness don’t usually go hand in hand. When men cultivate friendships they couch it in different words and it’s usually around an activity such as sports, food, camping, hunting, technology, etc…
Men like adventure, they look for challenges (Generalizing here because this is not true for all men). Relationships and intimacy are low on their priority list. So how does the church attract more men? One option given by www.churchformen.com is change the language of church. Instead of talking more about the need for a relationship with Jesus (which is still important, not trying to discredit that), talk of the special assignment or mission that Christ has given us. Tweaking the language a little bit entices men’s imaginations.
I’m not saying this is the only way, but it’s one way which I’ve been working on. I’ve been trying to change my language when interacting with men because I know that in my life I do crave adventure and special assignments. That is attractive to me. So, I Nick, am on special assignment for Christ, carrying out God’s plan laid out in the Message of Life by Jesus.