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Fishers of Men

January 2003
By: Jim Pye
"Follow me, and I will make you ." This simple, yet eloquent, promise is rich with practical implications for ministries to men. Of course, Jesus was referring to mankind in His use of the word "men," so His words apply to all efforts to disseminate the Gospel. Still, many efforts are targeted at one group or another: men, women, children, seniors, athletes, businessmen, etc. Over the past several years, many involved in the ministries of pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) have realized that these centers offer an auspicious opportunity to "fish for men."

For the most part, abortion has been considered a women's issue. Roe v. Wade has reinforced this notion. Unfortunately, that Supreme Court ruling and pro-abortion rhetoric have influenced the way some Christians think about abortion. Many of us have failed to recognize that abortion is just as much a men's issue. Many men who have created an unwanted pregnancy either concede to or encourage an abortion. Like their partners, these men may be ignorant of the true consequences of abortion, or they may selfishly refuse to accept their responsibility for the human life they have conceived. In contrast, there are some fathers who want to protect their unborn but cannot because the law renders them legally powerless. Because of its impact on both men and women, abortion is a men's issue as well as a women's issue.

Roe v. Wade has had a profound effect on the role of fathers and the common perception of fatherhood. Cunning, persuasive phrases, such as "reproductive choice" and "a woman's right to choose," have obfuscated the fact that the rights of the father have been abrogated by legal decree. This denial of the father's rights to protect his child lies at the core of the erosion of fatherhood.

It stands to reason that when we lose our rights, our dignity suffers. As dignity dies, honor dies with it. So today we have two generations of men who have suffered the loss of their dignity and honor because of abortion. This loss has fostered in many of these men an indifference toward their responsibility to provide for and protect their children and the mothers of their children. These are the very men we want to reach through men's ministries at our centers.
We have two
generations of men
who have suffered
the loss of their
dignity and honor
because of abortion.

A PRC considering incorporating a men's ministry into their programs should consider the message and the method around which they will build the ministry. First, let's consider the message. The information that the male volunteers share with the young men who come into the center is much the same as the information given to the young women. We want to explain the abortion procedure, the emotional and physical risks involved, child development, adoption options, the risks of contracting STDs, and the benefits of abstinence. Most importantly, we must let the Word of God perform its miraculous work through a passionate and precise presentation of the Gospel.

The practical information concerning the couple's circumstances is of great importance because it enables the man to make informed decisions. But the spiritual verities spoken from the heart carry the greater weight. A person can make a life-affirming choice based on the education received from the volunteer but remain powerless to make better lifestyle choices because there has been no spiritual rebirth. When God transforms the hearts and minds of a couple, they change their ways. They try to leave the path of irresponsibility that leads to pregnancy, abortion, disease, and destruction. In short, the Gospel is our foundational message. Around that great Truth we provide the information that will help a man to respond to the consequences of his choices in a way that will affirm his manhood rather than emasculate him.


Next, let's look at some of the methods a PRC might employ when beginning a men's ministry. First, through prayerful consideration, the leaders of your center must identify a man to head up the men's ministry. Look for a man who demonstrates spiritual maturity and personal integrity. He should be teachable, humble, and comfortable working with men and women. Women should feel comfortable and safe in his presence. The leader of the men's ministry should be a servant-leader because his calling is to serve the young men and their partners as well as the ministry of your center. This gentleman might be a volunteer, though it is difficult to find men who would be able to donate the amount of time required to develop, implement, and lead the men's ministry. A successful, dynamic men's ministry requires at least a part-time staff position.

His first challenge will be to recruit other men to serve as volunteer counselors. Seek men who can volunteer during regular business hours. These could be men who are self-employed, enrolled in college (upperclassmen), or retired. Consider keeping your center open a few evenings to accommodate both the male clients and volunteers that can work only in the evenings.

Male volunteers should be required to attend the same training the ladies go through. However, the men's training should include teaching about honor, integrity, sacrifice, and biblical manhood. The female volunteers and staff members also need to be aware of the issues involved when working with men and understand the rationale for your men's ministry. Combining the training enables the staff to present a comprehensive, holistic approach to crisis pregnancy ministry. This approach prepares your staff and volunteers to counsel the couple rather than the individual. This adds a powerful dynamic to your counseling ministry. As more PRCs embrace the idea of developing men's ministries, we will become more effective in meeting the spiritual, emotional, and practical needs of women and men clients.

The Gospel is the solution for both men and women. By adding a men's ministry to your programs, your center will be better able to address both tragedies of abortion and fatherlessness.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jim Pye is Director of Men's Ministry, Hope Pregnancy Centers of the Brazos Valley in Texas. He can be reached at jim@hopepregnancy.org.

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