I have already discussed the two introductions we have to David in 1 Samuel 16 and 17. You can look back to learn more about the balance needed in Men’s ministry between spiritual life and practical accomplishment.
In the following chapters we can continue to learn something about men’s ministry from a careful study of David’s life. While David at this point knew he had been anointed by Samuel to be king, he may not have understood that moving through some serious difficulties and blessings was also necessary preparation for being a leader of men.
One of the toughest aspects of leadership is who do you work with and trust? Current leadership may need to be replaced. Friendships can be the greatest catalyst to strengthen a ministry, but perhaps just as often they lead to its greatest challenges. A leader must be ready to train up other leaders, and most likely will be accused of favoring their friends in the process.
So what happened next to David? First he is favored by Saul and given every advantage and opportunity. Then when he is successful Saul becomes jealous and contentious toward him. Apparently Saul was not the right person to trust.
Saul even offered to marry his eldest daughter, Merab to David as a reward for his accomplishment. But in the middle of these accolades, Saul also tried to kill David with a spear while he played his harp to comfort the king.
Another daughter was successfully offered to David, Michal. This arrangement did nothing to reconcile David and Saul, and Michal in many ways was a hindrance to him instead of a blessing.
However, on the positive side David did find a helpful friendship with Jonathan, Saul’s son. Perhaps it was natural these two men had a strong friendship because they were both valiant warriors who had led Israel to miraculous victories. Jonathan, more than Saul, should have seen David as a competitor for the future throne. But instead of fighting him he proved his loyalty over and over again.
So what do we learn from men’s ministry in these episodes of David’s life?
- Expect some conflict when starting a ministry. If not right at the start, then when things begin to happen. Even successes can give rise to surprisingly hostile attacks from people you thought were on your side.
- Men’s ministry will always include bumping up against the ego of men. Although an angry man’s ego may want to start a fire, a leader who models humbleness will act as a fire extinguisher.
- Look for the quality of character in people more than their ability, position, or accolades. When you find the person with the right heart train them in leadership. The right ministry team will make all the difference in the world.
So when forming a men’s ministry you will need to endure some conflict. It is in the nature of men for these conflicts to arise, and they can be surprisingly severe. But if you are serious about reaching men do not back down, but press ahead calmly and humbly.