In previous notes we discussed the need for Men’s ministry to move from spiritual training to practical activity and the strong likelihood for conflict within men’s ministry, especially at the start. This article will talk about the gathering of men after the ministry is up and running.
In 1 Samuel 22:1-2 you see David begin to attract men to his side.
1So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father’s household heard of it, they went down there to him. 2Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Now there were about four hundred men with him.
They came largely from two sources. Those who were running from Saul, having their lives endangered by their association with David and those who were in some form of trouble.
These two groups are rather similar to those attracted to churches today.
Some of the people who come arrive because they have history with Christianity and are seeking to continue this pattern of life. This might be good history or bad history. Sometimes church members are moving from a church that made them mad. They show up at the new church with a chip already on their shoulder, and because of that history will want to shape the church in response to their past hurts.
This is similar to David’s older brothers who had once accused him of being a glory hound, and likely still held negative feelings toward him. Undoubtedly, they were frustrated that their families were in danger because of their relationship with David. These brothers might have had a hard time accepting David’s leadership.
The second category of people who show up at church are those who have distresses, debts and discontents that drove them to change their life. You can look at these people as bringing a lot of problems with them or bringing a bunch of potential with them. I strongly suggest you keep both in sight.
Comfortable church members may try to push out these unpolished new converts, but when they do so they are revealing their own ungodliness. The habits, language and patterns of these new believers may have a negative influence on the whole group. Nevertheless, God delights in growing His work with the least likely of people.
In general, the people who show up ready to change their life are easier to deal with than those who show up wanting to change the church. But you are responsible to work with both groups. A good, obvious rule of thumb is: God has given you the people you have and He expects you to work with them.