It’s no secret that women outnumber men in the church. Here Christian Vision for Men’s CEO, Nathan Blackaby, explains how they are trying to address the balance and what we can all do to support their work.
If there is one thing that should raise a deep and passionate cheer from everyone who follow Jesus in spirit and truth, it’s when a person repents of sin and invites Jesus to be Lord and Saviour. Each year at Christian Vision for Men (CVM) we see men step forward and say yes to Jesus, they hear the gospel and are given an invite to commit and follow the King of kings. These men are fathers, husbands, sons, brothers and single men too.
I am a father-of-three and two of my children are beautiful girls. I am unashamed to say that one of my hopes as their father is that one day they will both meet a Christian man who shares their faith and together they have the best shot at building a Christian family together. Of course, it goes without saying that the choice and direction they go is theirs and they will all be loved no matter what. But I do have a map in my head and I am OK with that.
I know, for a variety of reasons, that map is unrealistic, particularly when we look at the statistics around young, faith-pursuing men in the UK. The number of men in the Church is in decline, and they have been for a long time now. That is one of the reasons I am so committed to the work of CVM.
We have seen more than 1,000 men make a decision to follow Christ.
In the summer, CVM hosted The Gathering – our festival in a field near Swindon - and it was exclusively for men. We have a variety of banter, live music, cars and bikes on show, inflatables and comedy. We even had an Abba tribute band this year. But, we give men, and only men, an experience of worship, an experience of faith and clear gospel preaching with a real opportunity to respond without gloss or orchestrated emotional music and lighting.
And the men do respond.
In ten years of running The Gathering, we have seen more than 1,000 men make a decision to follow Christ. We have seen hundreds of men get back into a faith journey with Jesus and hundreds set free from secret addition. Men have returned to their families and men who are now living back on the narrow path.
I have seen that when we get a man before Christ and he yields all, the impact is massive.
This matters but it takes time, investment and effort. We work with men’s groups during the year fanning that flame continually. Men say they will show up and don’t, we lose money and travel hours to gather men but in the end, we see men break through and lives changed. I am writing this not to promote The Gathering but to invite you to pray for the men of the UK. They need to hear the gospel.
As Christians we must stand together to reach men, this isn’t excluding women, this includes us all. I have seen, and still see, that when we get a man before Christ and he yields all, the impact is massive. I have seen marriages saved, families restored, wives, girlfriends and daughters come to faith through his moments of faith. When we see men trying to reach other men with the gospel, let’s cheer them on because it is valueable front line work. Let’s be united around salvation when we see it in all its diversity.