The Jewish leaders of the Diaspora had frequently approached Ezekiel with one common question. Why has God exiled us? God finally answers and it is recorded in Ezekiel 22:30, "I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." What does it mean that God searched for a man and was unable to find one? What is the Texico Conference's responsibility to meeting this challenge as we near the Lord's return?
Before answering that question, let's discover some startling facts about male involvement in the life of the church and as it relates to family ministries and membership retention. In a recent article of Ministry Magazine, Pastor Minnervino Labrador Jr, NAD Men's Ministries Coordinator wrote:
Most men don't complain about their needs. But when their needs are not met, when they are not challenged from our pulpits, and when other men they admire are absent they let us know their disapproval through their absence.
Author David Murrow writes in page 47 of his book, Why Men Hate Going to Church: When a mother comes to faith in Christ, the rest of the family follows 17% of time. But when a father comes to faith in Christ, the rest of the family follows 93% of the time. The implications for family relations and member retention are astounding. He goes on to explain that most men feel that churches are geared to using men and not meetings their social needs. For most men, church is another job, not a place where they attend to find camaraderie or a social network of friends and colleagues.
Most churches relegate men to teaching, work bee's and collecting offerings. Because of this marginalization even more men are leaving creating a dearth in the churches. Some of our churches do not have enough men to officiate in the Lord's Supper. Which begs the question, "Where are they going?" They are going to churches where there needs are met, and their families are following. According to Focus on the Family and Barna Research Group, most men's needs fall into the following eleven categories:
1. Men need action
2. Men need safety
3. Men need to be challenged
4. Men need to get to the point
5. Men need to win
6. Men need to dream
7. Men need other men like them
8. Men need help working around work time
9. Men need healing
10. Men need freedom
11. Men need to identify
The Texico Conference recognizes this challenge and has created the Men's Ministries Department. The task is two fold; create awareness within the local churches of the unmet needs of men in their communities and help them create a viable Men's Ministries Department by training their local leaders. Secondly to create an opportunity where men from within our conference can gather together and receive encouragement and support to grow and make a difference in their local communities.
The men of the Texico Conference are aware of God's admonition recorded in Malachi 4:5-6, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." This challenge is to create a unified body within the church and family. Together we seek to reverse this trend and strengthen our families and churches by meeting the needs of all our members.