“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”- Hebrews 13:7 NIV
“He’s gone rogue.”
Usually you will encounter this phrase in spy novels when counter-intelligence operatives, spies or assassins leave the “grid” and, consequently, the control of their handlers. In any context the word “rogue” suggests someone or some thing has become unorthodox, unpredictable, dangerous or solitary. Practically, that person or group have escaped your control or ability to manage their activities in any functional or positive way. On film or in real life the response to the news that someone or some thing has “gone rogue” is the same: “Oh, no” or “Uh-oh.” These are the un-colorful and sanitized responses one might hear. The inner reaction is more telling—deep fear. That’s because the man or men who have “gone rogue” have either the asset of proximity to things or people you value or tribal knowledge that they can use against their employers or sponsors. What damage they may or may not do with those assets is what makes the “rogue” men ones that need to be feared if they are connected to what you are doing. The feeling is not good.
They make you feel vulnerable to attack from within.
Having consulted for hundreds of churches, we have had countless pastors tell us that the men’s ministry in their churches have “gone rogue.” Their expression not mine. When a pastor says this I know immediately that he is saying several things all at once. He means that:
- Programming or meetings for men are happening in some form.
- That the church has little influence or desires not to have influence over what goes on in those meetings.
- That the men leading those meetings have developed sub-congregations within the larger congregation.
- That there is not a connected vision or purpose for those meetings that serves the needs of the church directly.
- That there is a feeling that the men in those groups have become or could become adversarial or a bastion of discontent within that Body of believers.
- That there is no real connection or loyalty to the senior pastor or lead pastor to serve him or make him successful in the mission that God has called him to achieve.
- That there is a fear that the proximity, tribal knowledge, or connections of the men in those meetings make confronting or changing the men’s ministry fraught with difficulty or egos.
The Sleeping Giant revelation and response process does not allow for such dysfunction and disunity that is self inflicted. For some churches it is not so much that men’s activities have gone rogue but that they do not tie into the larger infrastructure, planning, and overall discipleship process well. Questions are not asked on the front-end and there is no mission, vision, objectives, or strategies to make sure they are achieved. Accidentally and emotionally driven, some guy asked the pastor at some point if he was doing anything for the men and the overworked and underpaid pastor who could not add one more responsibility says: “Well, if you have a heart for that then your it!” We call this free market ministry development and it works to a certain point for certain things. Men’s ministry is not one of those things you want to let loose organically for long because somewhere along the way it is going to start becoming self-serving versus church-serving. The focus will shift from gathering the men of the church, a feeling of unity and larger purpose to convening the men to serve their needs for knowledge or help them individually without any bigger reason for their investment of time and energy. The “why” for doing something is not any larger than helping the man be more accountable, a better husband, more moral, a better father, a better man, or a better disciple. All these are not bad reasons to “get in” and might even be the impetus, but they will not sustain something that serves the church in a direct way unless the pastor’s vision, needs, and desire to fulfill greater objectives is meaningfully connected to all those relationships and activity in some way.
A quantum leap in thinking must occur.
The biggest failing we have seen among men hoping to build and maintain strong men’s ministries in the local church is this: it’s about the men’s ministry being successful versus serving their pastor and making him successful. They forget that God called this man first, that he is the shepherd of the people, that God speaks to him about where he wants to take the body, and that he is in authority over them. He is the leader. He is their leader. This would not be tolerated in any other organization or enterprise which has a stated mission and people who care enough to guard it. In a business or military context we call it insubordination. So often in the church context we call it men’s ministry! That is, men attempting to build a ministry separate from or disconnected from the vision and mission God has appointed a senior or lead pastor to accomplish. The Sleeping Giant process directly connects and keeps reconnecting the success of the men’s ministry, it’s leaders, and those participating in it to the ministry traction it gives a senior or lead pastor.
Men’s ministry serves the vision of the pastor that God has entrusted to him. Both the men and the pastor measure themselves by how that vision is being supported and driven by church ministries and energy NOT by how much budget, attention, or exposure a particular ministry is receiving.