“This is what the Lord says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns.  Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, circumcise your hearts, you men of Judah and the people of Jerusalem or my wrath will break out and burn like fire because of the evil you have done – burn with no one to quench it.” Jeremiah 4:1-4

God's goal is corporate renewal and repentance. He wants His people to be living proof of His power and goodness. In fact, He wants unbelievers to begin believing in Him because of what they see among His people.
 
Who does God select to lead this charge? What's the process?

The men need to accept this challenge by deepening their commitment to God, modeling repentance, and by ceasing to invest their energies in ungodly pursuits (sowing among thorns).
 
This, God says, will ignite revival and accelerate evangelism among the nations, or else it will ignite a different sort of fire - his judgment. 

Men: We Must Go After Them

“So I will go the leaders [men] and speak to them, surely they know the way of the Lord, the requirements of their God.  But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke and torn off the bonds.  Therefore a lion will attack them, a leopard will lie in wait near their towns to tear to pieces any who venture out for their rebellion is great and their backslidings many.  They are well fed lusty stallions each neighing for another man’s wife.” Jeremiah 5:5-8

Just one chapter later in Jeremiah, we see the consequences for men when they give up on the being connected a faith-community. Just one step out the door is you-know-who; they become lunch for the devil. Isolated and spiritually bankrupt, the options narrow, and they soon choose to become lesser men and to simply serve their appetites.

Frankly, this is the condition of the church worldwide. Women (according to church pollster George Barna) remain the backbone of the church.
 
If you could take a satellite image of the church, it would show little pin-pricks of truly living, breathing men's communities amidst the neon oceans of women's ministries -- and the women, our wives, are burning out as they try to be the spiritual leaders in the church and in the home.

Proportionally, men are missing from ministry. As if in one accord, they're choosing NOT to identify with the Christian men's culture because, frankly, what they've seen in most churches simply isn't compelling enough to hold their attention. There's no challenge, no adventure, no risk, and no edge, and so business, sports, and recreation become the substitutes.

A Virtual Mirror Image
 
There's a haunting parallel between the men of Judah and the men of the new millennium.

In fact, nine out of 10 men in the church say their number one disconnect from God is lust, fantasy, and sexual acting out (Consider: "... well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for another man's wife...”).

Many churches are coming to grips with these realities and, fortunately, there are ministries like Every Man Ministries (www.everymanministries.com) to help formulate and execute a plan to build a community of men within any congregation.

Kenny Luck is the Men's Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. He is also the Founder and President of Every Man Ministries which helps churches worldwide develop and grow healthy men's communities. Please visit www.everymanministries.com for more information.