Men are called to lead, not only at home but also in their faith community. When your presence is felt because you participate in the activities of your congregation, it makes a significantly positive impact on your children, other children, and the entire fellowship. Your servant leadership is needed now more than ever.
Men and Fathers are Missing from the Church
Faith communities are reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 shutdowns. Church attendance among both genders dropped to a record low during the height of the pandemic. Studies suggest that around 45-50% of regular churchgoers were men before the pandemic. Surveys indicate that around a quarter of men who regularly attended church pre-pandemic now do so less frequently or not at all.
Why Your Presence is Important
With the prevalence of single-mother households today, it is more important than ever that churches be places where good men are present and functioning as servant leaders.
- As of 2022, around 15.04 million families in the United States have a female householder and no spouse present. This represents roughly 21% of all family households.
- Nearly 24 million children, or about one in three kids in the US, live in a single-parent family. Of these, over 14.5 million live with their single mother.
I don’t think it can be overstated how vital it is for caring and humble-hearted men to be visible and available to serve within their faith communities.
Men can serve as positive role models for other men and boys, demonstrating masculinity that aligns with the faith’s values. Men may be expected to provide spiritual guidance and support to younger men, mentor boys, and contribute to practical tasks like maintaining the faith’s physical space or offering physical protection.
“[A boy] needs a man in his life, a male role model, to show him what it means to be a man. It has nothing to do with machismo or dominance. It has to do with responsibility, with respect, with empathy, with strength.”– Barack Obama
A boy without a positive, faith-filled male role model is more likely to engage in dangerous behavior, drop out of school, suffer emotionally, and have difficulty establishing healthy relationships. Not only are mature, responsible males important for boys, but girls also benefit from seeing and knowing them.
Girls and young women need to witness love and respect for women modeled by faithful men. This is particularly vital when so many do not have such a male model at home. They need to experience old-fashioned courtesies performed by adult men for women, such as opening doors, and saying, “Yes ma’am” and “No ma’am” to older women of the fellowship.
Honorable men, rooted in their faith and dignified, show girls what it is like to be treated with respect by spouses. Such men raise the bar of what women should desire in a mate. They demonstrate what it means to be respected by a male. The church is where females should find such male servant leaders.
These ideas may seem antiquated in an age of “progressiveness.” But, like chivalry, these timeless virtues remain relevant and valuable even today. These principles, rooted in faith and notions of grace and gentlemanliness can serve as a guiding light for navigating life with integrity and purpose.
As servant leaders, we should be characterized by the showing of kindness, consideration, and respect to everyone, regardless of their station in life. It’s about treating others with the same dignity and respect you expect for yourself. It epitomizes the Golden Rule… “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12)
Being an Encourager
Mutual encouragement is a powerful benefit of faith community fellowship. It is uplifting to see and be seen by others who share your faith. To know that others are praying for you and are hoping for the best for you. To be intimately acquainted with the struggle of others, and to witness the power of their faith to help them overcome.
Sharing your stories of failure and success, struggle and victory can be very positive to someone who is going through a trial of their faith. When they realize that your faith brought you through, it is an encouragement to not give up.
The Power of Encouragement
Think of a child learning to walk. With each wobbly step, they face the risk of falling. But there, near them, stands a parent, arms outstretched, eyes beaming with encouragement. “You can do it!”, they whisper, their voice a lifeline of hope. And with renewed confidence, the child takes another step, and another, until finally, they walk. The parent’s encouragement wasn’t just empty words; it was the fuel that propelled the child forward, the belief that turned wobbly legs into instruments of accomplishment.
Encouragement isn’t just for the young and vulnerable. It’s a catalyst for all ages and stages of life, a force that can rekindle the fire in a weary soul or fuel the fire of a triumphant warrior for the faith. Encouragement can propel a seasoned professional to new heights in their career. A timely word of appreciation can reignite the passion of a jaded artist. Encouragement has the power to transform doubt into determination, fear into courage, and failure into a stepping stone to success.
Being present is essential to the one wanting to be of humble service to his fellow followers. Even the smallest acts of encouragement of a fellow believer can have a ripple effect, spreading positivity and inspiring others to do the same. Make your faith community a more encouraging place, one kind word or action at a time.
We Need More Men Like Hur
Servant leadership can be a thankless job. There is an example of this in the Bible. Israel’s bitter enemy attacked them without warning. Israel’s leader and prophet Moses said to Joshua, the commander of the army, “Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” While Moses’ hands were up, the Israelite army was winning the battle. But, when his hands went down from the stress of holding them and the staff upward, the enemy would prevail. So, Moses’ brother Aaron and a man named Hur brought a stone for Moses to sit on, stood on each side of him, and supported his hands until sundown. The Israelites won! Read the account In Exodus 17:8-13.
Mostly unknown, Hur seems to appear from out of nowhere, do his job, and then disappear. Yet, he performed a service that resulted in victory for his people. He was in the right place, at the right time, and did the right thing. He and Aaron saw the situation and stepped in to assist their leader. This is the type of servant leadership that is needed. Are you willing to do what is needed without being noticed or seeking acknowledgment? That’s servant leadership.
Thankfully, We do Have Some “Hurs”
Pastor Kevin L. Jones wrote…
“Early in my ministry, I preached a few times in a church in St. Clair County. There was a man who had been an active member of that specific church for over 60 years. In years past he had done it all. He taught Sunday School, worked with the youth, led the singing, and chaired several committees, but by the time I met him, age had taken its toll and one by one he had to give up those jobs in the church that he loved so much. But there were a few things left that he could do. He would show up 30 minutes early and unlock the door. Walk through the church and turn the lights on. He would adjust the thermostat accordingly. He would place a bottle of water on the pulpit for the preacher and brew the coffee for the Sunday School teacher. When the service was over he would wait for everyone else to leave. Then he would walk through the church, turn off all the lights, and lock the door. It was a thankless job. There was no pat on the back, not even a title for the job. Most people had no idea how those things got done. But he didn’t care. He was just doing his part to make things a little easier for others to do their part.”
You may not have a specific title. You may not receive any recognition, but you are valuable to your family, your church, local ministries, and most importantly, to the Lord.
Building Men’s Fellowship
We men need each other for mutual encouragement. Fathering can be a lonely job when done in isolation. If your faith community does not have a men’s fellowship, your male members may be missing out on a great resource. Seeing the need, perhaps you can be the one to suggest that one be formed. Maybe you are the “Hur” who will take the initiative to get it started but not necessarily be the one to lead it. Or maybe so.
I have been a part of men’s fellowships over the years and can testify to the value that has been added to my life. Men’s groups within congregations provide opportunities for shared support and spiritual enrichment. Community-based men’s groups enable believers across denominations, churches, and ethnicities to establish and nurture relationships. This builds unity and models peace and harmony for the broader community.
Virtual Men’s and Father’s Communities
Fathering Strong provides a platform for forming groups over the free mobile app. The mission of Fathering Strong is to grow communities of fathers who are dedicated to supporting each other through their fathering and faith journeys while building stronger families and communities. Like-minded fathers can build communities, share stories, ask for help, and get the support they need to be their best as fathers and men. All on their mobile device.
Perhaps you can consider serving your community by establishing a Fathering Strong community for your local church, community, or fathers in a similar set of circumstances.
Examples of Groups that Can Form on Fathering Strong:
- Single Dads
- Expectant Fathers
- Unfathered Men
- Fathers of Young Children
- Noncustodial Fathers
- First Time Dads
- Reentering Fathers
- Stay at Home Dads
- Non-resident Fathers
- Fathers in Blended Families
In addition to fatherhood community leaders, there are opportunities such as content contributors, moderators, and mentors.
The volunteer possibilities are practically unlimited. Explore www.fatheringstrong.com for more ideas on how you can be a servant leader of dads.
Instruction from the Holy Scriptures
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:24-25
The Fathering Strong community is here to help you have a great beginning to 2024. By joining, you can connect with other dads for mutual encouragement. Discuss the content of these blogs. Share your stories, learn from others, and maybe even mentor a young dad. Be as involved as you choose to be. Register, download the free Fathering Strong app, and turn on the notifications. Do it today and become a part of the Fathering Strong Community of Dads.
Your financial contributions allow us to serve fathers at no cost. Please consider donating. Fathering Strong is powered by Urban Light Ministries, Inc., a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 in Springfield, Ohio. Our mission is to turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to the Heavenly Father. Go to www.fatheringstrong.com to donate. To learn more about Urban Light Ministries’ history, work, and mission, explore www.urbanlight.org.