Mediocrity's Message to Your Men: You Don't Really Matter - In A World of Quality, Church Is In A Quandary
A drug rehab program ran an ad that got my attention. It involved a live elephant walking around the inside of a house full of people who are trying their best to ignore it. Clearly, obviously the elephant is by far the most noticeable and largest presence. A son is doing homework, head-phones on, eyes fixed. Elephant walks by. Doesn’t flinch. A mother is doing dishes in the kitchen, washing them, putting them away, and vigorously determined not to be distracted by the enormous mammal filling up her kitchen. Elephant passes by her too. No reaction. It is a stunning display of dysfunction in the face of a reality that is engaging the senses but receiving no recognition. The viewer is put into a dysfunctional family as a member of the house and reacts normally (“Hey, there’s an elephant in the room!”) while those who should be most concerned are acting like nothing is wrong. The metaphor for unaddressed, un-discussed, and unresolved alcoholism lands with force.
Someone has to say something. But many times no one says anything.
When it comes to the topic of men, the church is playing this family’s role perfectly—it is hoping to stay focused or distracted by other activities in the house while deep within we know our energy, strategy, and investment in men is, at best, nominal. Mediocre men’s ministry is the elephant walking around our house. We convince ourselves against our senses and better judgment to continue the procession of appearances. The appearance of church health. The appearance of successful weekend services. The appearance of various and widespread small groups. The appearance of discipleship programs. The appearance of several different ministries and outreaches. The appearance of meaningful missions abroad. The appearance that all is well when the one segment of the Body that most broadly impacts all other segments of family, marriage, and children’s health is neither motivated nor activated in any measureable sense. Can you say “uber-dysfunctional?”