Written by Dave Carl, Family Ministry Pastor at Stonebriar Community Church
Part 1 – The Challenge, Pursuit of a Godly Man
Leading up to Father’s Day we want to have an honest conversation about what it means to be a man in today’s world. Even more than that, we want to talk about what it means to be a godly man. Rather than feeling like a fraud this Father’s Day, let’s challenge ourselves to stop hiding in the shadows and jump with both feet into the pursuit of something different, something special, something that will change our families for generations.
What if you worked for years building your mountain cabin to completion only to discover you had been confused at the beginning and built half of your dream house on your neighbor’s land?
What if you caught an interception, spun around, and ran 70 yards only to discover you have carried the ball over the wrong goal line?
What if you worked hard all your life to be a man, a godly man at that, but you just realized you’ve pursued an incomplete or even a flawed definition? I was speaking at a men’s event, and I asked the group, “When did you first know you were a man?” There was a long and uncomfortable silence until one guy blurted out “I don’t know, but it hasn’t happened yet!” and everyone nervously laughed. When the group recovered a bit, one of the guys asked me:
“So what are you asking really? Like – when did I have my first beer? Driver’s license or sex?”
In our culture we have no solid marker for crossing the line into manhood, and worse, we have no real picture of what a mature and godly man looks like. Consequently, many of us think we’ve crossed over when we have not, and many just bonk through life uncertain and more than a little resentful that we were not guided better by the men of our fathers’ generation. Where were these guys? Why have they not come to tell me what manhood is and help me crossover into this important stage?
To make the matter even more confusing, in church we are constantly calling men to step forward and be a more godly example, but what does that mean? Sin less? Well yeah that’s a beginning, but it’s not enough to plan your life around. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I’ve come up with a short list of things that describe solid things a man can grab onto and take action on. You should notice the list is not things you accomplish; these are things we grow toward and into. You could have started some of these things a decade ago, and it would be great if you had. By now you would be a mature and godly man, and everyone around you would be blessed because of it. If on the other hand, you did not begin this journey a decade ago; if you started last year or a month ago or today, you will not be a mature and godly man instantly – maturity takes time. You, however, can begin to be a godly man right now.
Being a godly man is much more about striving and surrender than achievement so that one day you will be a mature and experienced godly man. Rather, today you can be a godly man who is in pursuit of God and your God-given place on this planet. This pursuit is clearly not a feat of manly, muscular strength, but neither is it exclusively an academic exercise. Reading this blog post or any good book on this topic is a start, but a huge part of godly manhood is being in relationship. Relationship with other men, with others at work, with our wives and kids. This is a profoundly spiritual pursuit that requires every part of you. You must be on this journey – heart, mind, body, and spirit. If you leave one of these elements out you cannot move forward. If you get smart about godly manhood but are too prideful (think heart) to allow other men to correct you, it will never work. If you copy what godly men do (think body) and practice what they do without understanding why, it will not work. This is not an individual sport. What is needed is a community, a tribe if you will, of men who will journey along with you, encourage you, correct you, and laugh and eat good meals with you.
I pray that reading this series of blog posts will spark you to recognize that your isolation is sapping your soul, that your confusion is spreading to your kids, and that your chaotic and contradictory loves are poisoning your relationships. I pray that the short blog series will inspire you to reach out and find some guys, to find me and the guys in this church who are ready to journey with you. With that preamble, the list I’ve come up with is this:
Want to love God completely, love themselves correctly, and love others compassionately;
Rescue and protect others;
Want help to understand their own soul;
Don’t do life alone;
Are discovering their purpose.
Dave Carl is the Family Ministry Pastor at Stonebriar Community Church and is responsible for the ministry focusing on children birth through high school graduation and the parents who love them. With a ministry philosophy based on Luke 10:27, his primary focus is to give parents the skills to raise kids who truly love Jesus and want to serve others. Dave has a passion for ministering to families in crisis in our community. He has spent several years pouring into fathers and husbands and helping them learn that they need community, were designed to guard and protect, and that they really can be the spiritual leaders of their family.
Dave and his wife of 30 plus years, Cathy, have two adult children and one in high school and recently became grandparents for the first time. They are completely in love with this new member of their family. Dave is an avid woodworker and loves to write. He sees all stories in the form of pictures, and he would love to connect with you!