Archive | May, 2015

Male-bonding at Church

28 May

Has your church wondered how to attract more men?

As the cartoon illustrates, sometimes the way we speak and act at religious activities turn away men.  However, sometimes churches go too far by assuming that all men want a church designed for the macho-male stereotype.

Manhood is not something that should be stereotyped.  God has created men with various interests, personalities, and qualities.  As the church, we should avoid gender-stereotypes in our teaching and advertising.

How can we show Jesus’ love to the men that God has placed in our lives?

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to equip parents and churches to minister to emerging adults.

 

 

America’s Changing Religious Landscape – Are Christians in Denial?

26 May

New research was released this week from the Pew Research Center confirming trends that we already knew were true.  In the last seven years, the percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percent.

Millennials are leaving the church, and they are not alone as they exit.  The article states, “While the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages.”

 

Some people respond to these statistics with a shrug of shoulders, while others feel as if the sky is falling.  Rather than ignoring the problem, I believe that these statistics should cause Christians to act as the men of Issachar who, “understood the times and knew what Israel should” (1 Chronicles 12:32).

EA Resources is committed to providing resources to parents and churches working with emerging adults.  If you are passionate about seeing Millennials return to faith, and seeing churches equipped to change their community, join our team!

David Boyd 1 (1)Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.  If you would like to invite him to speak for your community, you can contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

 

 

3 Ways the Church Can Stop Treating Singles Like a Problem to be Solved

21 May

3 Ways the Church Can Stop Treating Singles Like a Problem to be Solved

Talking about singles and the church is usually awkward, sometimes controversial, and is frequently an open-ended discussion. In other words, there are thousands of opinions about how best to encourage singles who are actively involved in a local church, but not every opinion is equally helpful.  Continue reading

Dealing with Dirt and Hurt: When to Call In the Cavalry

19 May

Dealing with Dirt and Hurt: When to Call In the Cavalry

Tough times happen. This world isn’t a cozy comforter. It’s more of a wet blanket that wants to wrap around you when you feel lost, defeated, rejected and discouraged. The world provides liquid “spirits,” drugs, fantasy women and images to soothe, but these only drag us down a path of destruction. Continue reading

Advice to Young Men

14 May

I came across this article, and wanted to share it with my readers.

There are many things I wish someone would have told me when I turned 18. As I shared in a previous post, I was given the opportunity to write a young man a letter recently, passing any wisdom to this young man that I thought would be appropriate. I did, but I felt that my letter came up short. It did because it barely scratched the surface of what I wish someone would have told me.

For this reason, I have written another letter. Although it is addressed to one man, it would be what I would tell any young man entering college.

Read the Rest of the Article HERE.

Kevin East, President, Boys & Girls Clubs of East Texas

Times and Seasons with Your Sons

12 May

It wasn’t long ago I was a young dad to three very young sons. I’m still a young dad (by my own biased standards). But my boys, they’re not so young anymore – ages 18, 14 and 12.

Recently I shared to an audience of dads of younger boys ages 3-12. Here are some thoughts about the fleeting nature of time and how critical it is to saturate them with your love and attention while you can.

With my 18-year old son, I’m done.

© 2009 Lies Thru a Lens, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

I’m not done being his dad. I’m not done having a rich, continuing relationship with him.

But my opportunity to saturate him with my time and attention is mostly over. For the next decade, and more, my relationship with my 18-year old will be largely dictated by the investments I’ve made in my son with my time.

For dads who invest well in the earlier years, rewards!  A rich, growing walk with a son continues. For dads who have not invested wisely, there will likely be pain. Pain for the son from fatherly absence and failures – and pain for dad that comes with watching a distant son grow further apart.

This doesn’t mean relationship “resets” are not possible. They are. Dads can always do more to be meaningful part of their son’s life. But for dads of 18-year old sons, connecting with them will require a different commodity than shoveling out volumes of time.

My “little” 18-year old boy is now a grown man. Building on our relationship will look different in the future. And I’m excited about how that looks, too.

But as for our father-son relationship as we know it, one chapter closes. And another begins.

With my 14-year old son, it’s game time!

We’re not in the final lap yet. But the checkered flag is near. I have two years (until he turns 16) to invade my son’s life (with his permission). Fortunately for him, going to the park is still fun. Miniature golf outings are easy to score. Bike rides and driveway basketball is too. And so are the summer evening movies at home with the family.

Until he has his own car and his new independence, my son’s life remains largely lived out in my court.

Watching my 18-year old set off for college has me thinking more about my 14-year old son. Each year becomes more critical. I need to prepare him now for the freedoms to come.

At some point before my sons leave home, the household rules fade. My 18-year old has no curfew, no reminders to get up for church, no requirement to park the cell phone downstairs at night. I want them to experience those freedoms in my home first.

For my 14-year old, I have a few years to get him ready. And this will require lots of attention – love, training, correction and discipleship.

I hug my 14-year old as much as he’ll allow. I plant kisses on his forehead (against his wishes). He’s still my little boy, even though he just about stands eye to eye with me.

He has four years before the cap and gown… but in my deep thoughts, I can see that tassel hanging over his eyes.

With my 12-year old son, there’s all the time in the world! 

Father and son learning to ride a bike! from Flickr via Wylio

© 2013 dadblunders, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Not really. But it sure feels that way compared to my other two sons. For Dads of 12-year olds, time is on your side still.

Most dads, if given a moment to reflect, have regrets about the job they’ve done. I have some regrets of my own. I want to father better. I want to do more. I want to love my sons more openly, seek forgiveness more regularly, affirm them more authentically.

Of course it’s never too late to do these things. A 70 year-old dad can still bring tears to a 45 year-old son with love and affirmation.

But remember, time and attention with your son is in short supply – and most abundant when they’re young. For my 12-year old son time is still my friend, not my enemy.

Embrace the season

Whatever season you’re in with your son – embrace it. If your son is a baby, pay attention to those country songs about how kids grow up fast.

Because it’s true.

JEFF ANDERSON speaks and writes about walking with God, with an approach to discipleship that combines scripture and story. He’s the author of two books, Plastic Donuts and Divine Applause. Jeff began his career working as a CPA for a Big Six accounting firm, then became a day trader in the stock market. He now speaks, writes, and consults with churches and ministries. Jeff and his wife, Stephanie have four children. www.DivineApplause.com

What Not to Say to Someone Who Has Been Hurt By Church

5 May

Abusive behavior happens in the church, and it comes in all forms.  Victims are found in small rural congregations and megachurches alike.  Their voices silenced from power.  Their pain driving them from what had once caused them so much joy.

This article is fantastic written by Jonathan Hollingworth from RELEVANT MAGAZINE.

Click Here!

Unfortunately, I and many others identify too much with the article.   Here are some powerful statements from the article.

“I could either lie and make up a nicer-sounding story, or I could just keep my mouth shut. Either way, I was forbidden from telling the real story, inside or outside the church.”

I have heard these words spoken in a room on multiple occasions.  I have heard them spoken to me, and to those I love.  It becomes the normal mode of operation for many churches.  It draws an either/or scenario where both choices lead to the continued abuse of the victim and the protection of the institution.

Unfortunately, the victim often feels that these are the only options.  The victim is unable to see another way to escape, and chooses a path that they know is leading to their own destruction.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It’s one thing to be abused by people you barely know, but it’s another thing to be betrayed by someone you trusted and looked up to.”

An abusive relationship is often built on power – one has position, leadership, financial resources, or support over against the resources of the victim.  This fact makes the church a very common place for abusive relationships to develop and flourish.

The complexities of abuse within the church is that God is often used as the purpose.  I grew up in an environment with an extremely elevated perspective of pastors – they lead the church, they feed the church, they act for God, they speak for God.  How can you speak against them?  How can you stand against them without jeopardizing all your beliefs?

If you’re more concerned about the church’s reputation than you are about the abuse itself, you might have your priorities mixed up.

jesus on crossMoney drives churches.  Churches need money to pay for staff, and buildings, and lights, and heat.  Conflict can cause giving to drop.  Conflict can cause people to leave.   This is motivation behind silencing victims.

God’s church is not dependent on His reputation.  He is not wringing His hands over a church split.  (I do sometimes wonder if God is waiting for the western institutionalized church to implode so that He can heal His remnant and restore health.)

Not only is it dangerous to ask a victim to make amends with their abusers, it also puts an undue burden of responsibility on the victim to come up with a solution.

There was a time when I broke the silence demanded of me.  I begged, and pleaded for intervention.  After promising that my situation would be discussed among those who could have intervened.  I prayed and waited in agony for their response.

I could not believe the answer.  I was sent back to my abuser.

In order to healing to come, fear needs to be removed.  Power needs leveled.  This only happens in an environment that is safe for the victim.

“Religion will molest you, then accuse you of being bitter about it.”

Some reading this might read these words and think, “Yeah, the author sounds bitter.”  People will rarely actually use those exact words, but usually cover them with a thin veil.  However, the veil never covers the message that they believe you are spiritually immature for not recovering from the past.

I think all people hurt by the church will admit that journey includes some bitter days.  There are some days when cynicism seems to be the only way to recover.

However, I no longer feel that way.  I see a way towards healing while avoiding bitterness.

My own journey has lead me to new life – a life I never would have imagined.  My own journey has lead me to deeper perspective, a renewed freedom, and a stronger faith.

Abuse within the church will not make me bitter.  It has made me sympathetic.  It has made me kind.  It has made me courageous.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.

 

 

 

 

 

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