Stop trying to turn lizards into frogs!

by Pastor Roger Thompson 

 

You know I’m a pastor and a lifelong student of the Bible.  However, we too often turn men off by projecting that when they mature as Christ-followers they will become pastors and Bible scholars. This is not a good strategy for discipleship!

 

I’m a FROG.

Pastors are like frogs. Pastors don’t have to go hunting for ministry, crises, and opportunities to share the Word. There are plenty of flies all around (and in the ointment!). A frog balances on his lily pad, just trying to stay afloat, as ministry buzzes all around. Ministry just comes at the pastor nonstop. And frogs don’t blend in very well to new habitats. Just try introducing your golf foursome to your pastor and listen to how subdued and stilted the conversation becomes. There’s no fault in this. Frogs are just a different species.

 

But, a man in the marketplace is a LIZARD.

As Proverbs 30:28 says: they can be caught in the hand, but are found in kings’ palaces. In the Philippines they want lizards in every room to catch insects. Lizards are wanted. They hunt, they infiltrate, they thrive in diverse environments, and they bring value. In the same way the men of our churches are everywhere! They are literally all over the globe, and in every niche of business, medicine, innovation and technology. They are the go-to guys to solve problems. They are mobile, adaptable, quick, and skillful.

 

We need to equip LIZARDS to infiltrate their environments—even kings’ palaces—as agents of the Kingdom of God. Yes, we want men to know the Word. But as soon as we announce that our strategy for discipleship is “Bible study,” a big percentage of men back away. Why? I think it’s because we have used two deflating words (“Bible” and “Study”) to convey what it looks like to be a mature follower of Jesus. It feels like we want to change him into a FROG.

 

The Bible is something every man knows he should care about, but he feels intimidated by its sheer weight and volume. And Study is something that many men have long since deemed to be boring. So, when we try to attract men to study an ancient book they often feel inadequate and unmotivated.

 

Instead, let’s enlist men to be faithful husbands, and saturate that journey with scripture.

Let’s train men in Christlike character and deploy them with a biblical world view. Let’s equip men as warriors, armed with weapons and tools from scripture, to infiltrate their places of influence with incarnational truth. So, yes, let’s give our men biblical knowledge, but let’s keep them nimble and active in their spheres of influence. Don’t turn them into Frogs!

 

I hope that a few men I’m mentoring will eventually become pastors. Just a few. But, I’m hoping that all growing, maturing men, will be equipped with the transportable, transferable, living truth of the Word so that they can represent the King, even in kings’ palaces.

 

Roger Thompson is the Teaching and Men’s Ministry Pastor at Berean Baptist Church. He has been on staff since 1991 with the first 23 years as senior pastor. He has a passion for seeing men discipled as they engage and serve others in the life of the church. He also shares a heart with the entire family ministry team to partner with parents in order to see the rising generation develop a firmly-rooted authentic faith.

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