In truth I’ve actually spent more years as a bible teacher/pastor than as an evangelist. As a pastor I had a deep concern to introduce all types of people, from all walks of life, ages, stages to Jesus and to see them grow in faith and understanding. That concern hasn’t changed. In fact over the years its grown to be a burning passion and one of the driving forces of my life. In turn its generated some of my greatest frustrations. But then, as a much wiser man once said to me; “make your frustrations your friends and they won’t eat you up!”
For the last seven years I’ve been working in a much more specialist field and work predominantly with men and almost exclusively in the area of evangelism by seeking to mobilise, equip and resource the local church to reach all types of men. We also try to tackle some of the ills in society that men perpetrate and create. Because of this I face some tough and somewhat stretching challenges. In the following, for “we” I’m meaning you, me and the church.
- How do we reach the itunes generation whilst keeping in touch and empowering. with men who don’t know what itunes is?
- How do we reach the builders and the geezers (not necessarily one and the same) without being labelled as being a ministry just for blokes?
- How do we reach the gay community?
- How do we reach the retired men in our community?
- How do we create a brand and an image that is accessible to all, or is that even possible.
- How do we reach the businessman on his second sunseeker yacht.
- How do we reach the white working class young men that the middle classes love to call “Chavs”
- How do we reach the opera lovers as well as the drum and bass fans.
- How do we reach the long term unemployed.
- How do we reach the misfits and the so called “geeks”
- How do we reach the man I see every day, chain smoking outside the working mens club who has chronic liver problems.
- How do we reach the family guy as well as the single man, the grandad and the divorced and struggling.
- How do we help the church reach disabled men?
Over the last few years I’ve been asked what we are doing for every single one of these examples and more and to be honest with you all, its a constant source of frustration and angst. We recently had a long meeting as a team, addressing some of these questions and hopefully we will stay balanced whilst trying to address the lack of balance in most churches outreach activity. So far we’ve managed to resource a group reaching the over 50s, developed some resources for the itunes brigade, fathers, students, builders and geezers and dabbled in working in the business community. We’ve produced resources for footy and film fans (and I don’t even like football)
Theres so much more we want to do but with very limited resources, people, time and crucially money there is only so much we can do at a time. With the church having been largely chronically unsuccessful at reaching “blue collar men” and the itunes generation, we have been trying to deal with this lately but how successful we are being remains to be seen!