I don’t know the “full” answer to reaching our young men, but as Mom to two of them, I know how important it has been to live my life in a way that my sons see as “different”, and to live it with passion and “guts”. I am NOT saying I do that particularly well, just that in the time I have had access to helping their hearts grow, I have had the opportunity to point them in a direction of living for God. The call on our young men’s lives truly has to begin with the call on their parents to live differently, as an archer who is facing the direction he is going to shoot those arrows!
Women seem to hear God better than men
At age 14, Falyn Gliko, a young lady from Tennessee on a mission trip to Kenya, heard God urging her to do something. She was in an evening worship service and knew that God wanted to heal some of the hundreds of Kenyans in the audience. So she jumped up and went to the front, grabbed the microphone and called people to come forward to receive prayer for healing!
It wasn’t in the bulletin and nobody had trained her to do that. Her team looked on in astonishment, amazed at her boldness. Dozens came down the aisles. They prayed and God showed up to back Falyn with his miraculous power.
I love seeing young people discover their greatness as they trust God in thrilling new ways like that. It’s happening all the time around the world. Young Jesus-followers are going into dark places and are bringing hope.
Before he left the earth, Jesus issued a call to go and make disciples. And today, with radical Islam vying for souls, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Someone needs to take Jesus at his word and seek out the least of these hidden from view around the globe. But in the world of missions, it is more frequently women who respond to this call.
The ministry I work with, Adventures In Missions, has taken over 70,000 people on short-term missions trips. Participants go from one week to a year. Karen and I have experienced this fruit personally as three of our four girls have gone overseas for a year. Their year abroad completely rearranged their lives and turned them into world-changers, making them more interested in the Kingdom of God than their own personal agendas.
They’re part of a phenomenon we see all the time – the longer the duration of mission trips, the greater the proportion of women responding to them. At AIM our three-month and one year trips are consistently about 75% female. Nor is this unusual in the world of missions. Why is that?
For one thing, women seem to understand the stakes better than most men do, and frankly my observation is, they tend to be more spiritually mature. They understand that there is a world of hopeless people waiting to be touched and they tend to be more naturally compassionate than men.
What’s more, in many countries, it’s sad to say, but they work much harder than do men. They don’t want to sit by and wait for the men to get with the program. In countries like Kenya, the women carry the water and the men drink it.
Look at a few of the women warriors in Scripture: Deborah, Esther, and Priscilla come to mind. They advanced the Lord’s kingdom where men could not.
So, where are all the men? There are some great ones out there. My own son, Seth Jr., is spending a year on the World Race as are world changing guys like Sean Smith and Casey Barefield. And there are many like Justin Rhodes who are finding greatness in their own way back here in the States – you don’t have to go overseas to be a radical.
That said, so many guys seem to be encumbered by a number of issues: Expectations to get a job and start a career. Debt loads from school. Distractions that bog them down. I wish I had more answers for them. My heart is crying out for this generation’s young men. They have so much to offer and I just don’t know how to reach them.
God is calling out a whole generation of radicals, but it’s the women are responding first and most boldly. What’s your take on this?
For years I followed my own selfish pursuits. As a man, I wanted to have it all. I was on track and then, as the blog indicates, my wife’s salvation brought me back. Her simple faith made me believe and respond like never before.
I think of how my mother provided the opportunity for me to know Jesus. How her mom influenced her. It’s not easy to describe but women seem to have a sense of discernment that men don’t.
Christ called His twelve, but I wonder if others refused to abandon their nets and follow Him. I hope today’s young men won’t be sidetracked like me.
There is a balance here as well… On the one side you have women who realize the cost and say yes to the call… On the other side you have women who are incredibly competent so they do everything, leaving the men with nothing to do but sit back and “drink the water”. Women, including myself, need to learn the balance between answering the call and “doing it all”. There are times we need to neglect something in order to give men the chance to step up and be the men God has called them to be. And even if that means they mess it up a time or two while they learn, we need to be women of grace who let them step up, fail, receive grace, and step up again. I wouldn’t claim to know this balance, or walk this balance well, but I know it’s necessary.
When I was in New Zealand we would take part in Pôwhiris – it’s a welcoming ceremony when you come onto a marae (local land – like an Indian reservation). There would be a woman from the welcoming side who would call out to a woman on the guest side who would respond for the group. The women would walk in the front of the men as they came through the gate into the marae, while the men on the welcoming side would stand in front of their women as a haka was sung both welcoming and challenging the new arrivals. Once inside the men (in order of eldest to youngest – or based on rank within the group) on both sides would sit in front of the women and children… there was a transition that happened. The women were sent first to show that they were peaceful, but once seated the men were once again protecting the women just in case. It was the men who did the speaking, but everyone would join in with singing a song after one of their elders spoke. Then everyone would line up to touch noses / foreheads (hongi) and shake hands or hug, showing that we are now one, one family – all made from the dust of the earth and given the breath of life from the one and only God in heaven.
I think we have forgotten about that transition part… where the women continue to stand but where the men step forward prepared for whatever may lay ahead.
Interesting subject… I have for years now, had the yearning to write a book titled “The Praying Man” using the many scriptural references of how men prayed, and heard the voice of the Lord. This includes kings, priests, prophets, tent-makers, farmers, and fishermen – all involved in an occupation, but finding time to pray. Men can hear the Lord, it is just that we have allowed society and Christian counselors and teachers to tell us that women are better at it. I do not believe that women hear the voice of God better than men, maybe it just that they have been allowed to hear by standards not of the Holy Spirit? It is sad, because there is neither male nor female in the spirit. And remember Jesus said “my sheep hear my voice” aren’t we guys sheep? However, I do agree that what you say has merit, but let’s change it! St. Mark
yes is true ex, matt 26:7,13 disciples call it waste what the woman did but to jesus she did it at the right time.
Thank you for this Seth. This has been my heart and my passion to see men rise up. Thank you for your longing for us as men and women to be all about the Kingdom. This blog was written 11 years ago but your fire has not waned. Thank you.