The title of this post comes from the title of Chapter One of Steve Sonderman’s book, Mobilizing Men for One-on-One Ministry. It’s also a common theme in much of the literature on men’s ministry… and rightly so. (Great book so far, by the way. I definitely recommend it if you’re interested in ministering to men!)
Below are some of the highlights of the Introduction and Chapter One. This is not a “proper book review.” Instead, it’s basically an outline of the chapter with a few quotes and summaries of Sonderman’s key ideas that I pulled from the book in order to share with my men this week in our small group settings. I thought this was worth passing along here as well (maybe it will whet your appetite enough to purchase the book).
Introduction and Chapter One
Give me one hundred [men] who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergy or lay; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of God upon the earth I none generation.
Sonderman’s book is about “helping you see men as God does and then equipping you to minister to them in a personal and powerful way.”
Chapter One is entitled, “Leave No Man Behind.” He uses some powerful imagery from the incident in Mogadishu in 1993, (which the movie, Black Hawk Down was based upon) as well as a scene from the movie, World Trade Center, which was about two U.S. Marines helping two policemen who were trapped 40 feet below the surface.
The idea, of course, is that in both of these situations, there was a firm commitment that no man would be left behind.
He then shares a powerful and familiar biblical story to illustrate the point further. We read these words in Mark 2:1-12 –
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home.  So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.  Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.  Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves,  “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things?  Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . .” He said to the paralytic,  “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”  He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
There are many men today like the soldier, Mike Durant, who had been held hostage, like the police officers trapped under ground, like the paralytic who was unable to walk. And each man needs godly men who will come along side them to pick them up, to walk with them, to direct them, to care for them, to build them up, to invest in them.
“This book is about how you can have an effective ministry to men in your sphere of influence. No matter your occupation, age, denomination, or ministry training, you have an incredible opportunity to change the course of another man’s life.”
Do you believe that? Really believe that?
Sonderman lists four qualities of a “leave-no-man-behind” attitude and lifestyle.
1.) Men of Commitment
The paralytic had four very committed friends indeed. Who knows how far they carried him – each holding the corner of his mat. Their commitment led them to find a way to get their friend to Jesus… including climbing up the house and lowering him through the roof. That’s commitment.
What are the “mats” in the lives of men in your spheres of influence? And do you see these men as God sees them? This requires the sensitivity of the Holy Spirit. Sonderman offers this list of possible “mats” of the men in your life…
- Men who’ve lost their jobs
- Men who have lost a spouse or loved one
- Men who struggle with pornography
- Men whose anger is explosive and uncontrolled
- Men who feel like failures
- Men whose marriages are crumbling
- Men whose teenagers are involved in drugs.
You could come up with several dozen other mats.
- Are you helping the men on those mats?
- Or, are you leaving them behind?
Asking the Lord each day to give you eyes to see and ears to hear the desperate men in your sphere of influence would be a good way to start your day.
2.) A Commitment to Take Jesus at His Word
The four friends obviously believed Jesus could heal their friend. Why else would they go through all the trouble they went through? Sonderman says that that “their belief was greater than the obstacles.” Great point.
Do you really believe in your heart that Jesus can do anything?
- Heal marriages
- Break addiction
- Restore relationship
- Provide material needs
Sonderman asks: “If we believe Jesus can heal a wound and forgive a sin, no matter how big it may seem, then how can we possibly be okay with leaving men behind?
Jesus is looking for “roof crashers” who will trust him enough to go to virtually any length to bring a broken man to him for healing and salvation.
3.) Men Living and Working in Community
Hundreds of soldiers were tasked with going after Mike Durant. Four friends brought the paralytic to Jesus. Sonderman writes,
To leave no man behind involves being missional in lifestyle and working together in community. …There is power in sharing the load, with each man carrying a corner of a mat.
Here are some questions Sonderman suggests that we ask ourselves about our group?
- Is our group missional in nature, or does it exist for itself?
- Is our group open to new men? Is it a place of love acceptance, and encouragement?
- Does our group really care about men who do not know Jesus? Do we have plans to reach them?
- What would it mean for our group to have a “leave-no-man-behind attitude?
4.) Men Willing to Pay the Price
Of those hundreds of soldiers sent in to rescue Mike Durant, 18 lost their lives and more than 70 were wounded. “If we are going to make the commitment to leave no man behind, it will cost us as well.”
- It will cost time:
Discipling men will not happen quickly or easily. “You cannot build relationship or bring men into the presence of God in a hurry.”
B. It might cost money:
C. It might cost ridicule, bewilderment, or alienation:
“When a man reaches out to the hurting, broken, confused, and ostracized of the world, there will be a price to pay.”
D. It will cost risk:
“To leave no man behind means not playing it safe. God’s work gets done by men willing to live on the edge and take risks. God is looking for roof crashers, giant killers, and water walkers.”
Are you that man? Are we that group?
I once heard Pat Morley ask something along these lines: “Are you going to heaven? Why not plan on taking a few men with you?”
But of course, heaven doesn’t start once we die. It starts now. Eternal life, according to Jesus in John 17:3, is to know God and his Son Jesus Christ. (Morley, of course, knows this. He was making another point.)
- What are you willing to do this week to help a man on a mat come to Jesus and receive the healing and salvation that he so desperately needs?
- To know Jesus – personally, intimately, savingly?
- Who is that man in your life?
- How much do you care about him?
Let’s raise our game brothers! Let’s get committed about making disciples!
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