The Blessing of Gender Specific Gatherings
The holler resounded across the course from last Saturday’s Men’s Ministry golf outing. The morning was filled with tears from missed putts and lost balls, raucous laughter from timely teasing and pranks, and even celebration from a group who shot under par (how dare they!).
These men of Bellevue enjoyed a morning of fellowship together. It was a tremendous blessing as our time together drew each one of us closer to each other in friendship. It was a good time, so much so that one person said “we should do this every month.”
But gatherings like this can be more than just a good time. They can glorify and honor the Lord in how we gather. And I would argue that gender specific gatherings can enable this kind of blessing in a particular way that co-ed gatherings might not.
Today we’ll look at the gathering of men alone and next week we will have a guest post on women’s ministry and the blessing women share together.
The Blessing of Gender Specific Gatherings
There is something unique about gender specific gatherings. A certain level of honesty and sharing can take place that can be more difficult to achieve in a larger co-ed group. Men need men and women need women. There are peculiar realities and struggles each of us face that is unique to our gender and being able to freely discuss and help each other is a gift.
In our church at Bellevue Presbyterian, we have a Men’s specific ministry. We gather once a month for coffee, fellowship, and study. It has been a tremendous blessing to the men of our church and the church as a whole.
Men Growing Together
Our men are currently working through a study looking at our families of origin. We are unpacking how we were raised by father’s who were present and wonderful, or by father’s who were absent and not so great.
Discussing a matter like this is not a surface level conversation. It is deep. Vulnerable even. These are matters of our hearts and our individual make up. These conversations have opened up wells of emotion among our men together. It is good for men to share and show emotion. The world says men are to be tough and stoic, like John Wayne and Bear Grylls, but Jesus shows us another model entirely. He weeps openly over the loss of a friend. He laments and pleads and is tender. Jesus was not stoic. We want to grow more like Jesus as the men of Bellevue.
This gender specific gathering has allowed us to ask deep questions, to share deeply, and to care for one another in ways that don’t happen in larger co-ed groups. It didn’t begin like this in our first meeting, but has grown over time to a place of great joy and anticipation in our time together. Events like golf outings and serving together on clean up days and such has brought connection that enables us to be ourselves around each other. Men need men. Real men. Not men who put on a show. How else can we grow in the likeness of Christ if we aren’t honest about who we are and where we are on the journey?
The Church and Community Will Be Blessed
This ministry for the men of our church has not just blessed them, but it blesses the church and community as a whole. When we rise bleary eyed on a Saturday morning to gather, we hope that marriages and relationships will be transformed by our time together. This transformation blesses the church and community.
When we encourage each other towards Christ-likeness in our every day living and cheer on one another in the tough seasons of life, the church and community will be blessed.
When the men step out and care for our community and seek its flourishing in the name of Jesus, the church and community will be blessed.
These are some of our hopes for how men-specific gathering and ministry will not only cause them to grow in their love for the Lord, but also cause the greater church and community to be impacted by the grace of Jesus through them.
Men Living For the Glory of God
But above all these hopes is one great desire, that we would glorify the Lord by how we live as men in this world.
When wives are loved and cherished because we encouraged each other to that end, God is glorified and the church is blessed.
When men gather to serve in cleaning the church or for a grounds clean up day or serving in the nursery, God is glorified and the church is blessed.
When men are encouraged to be open and vulnerable and not the stoic picture of the worldly tough guy, God is glorified and the church is blessed.
When men are encouraged to be men after God’s heart in all they do, the world will be blessed and Jesus will be magnified. Men need to encourage men to this end.
The Need For Co-Ed Gathering
But don’t get me wrong, men need women too. There’s no such thing as a same-gender church. Men need women and women need men. We bless each other with the various ways that God has fashioned us and helped us to show forth His image. So while much can be accomplished in single gender groups for the glory of God and the good of the growth of men specifically, co-ed groups are a blessing not to be overlooked. We need both.
Pray for the men of Bellevue. For the glory of God, for the good of the men, for the blessing of the church, and for the flourishing of our community.
NEXT WEEK: The Blessing of Women’s Ministry