Darrell Owens, senior pastor of Christ the Rock Community Church in Cooper City, lives out that model in the local church. He has made men’s ministry a top priority and plans to bring 20 to 25 men from his congregation to the Promise Keepers Resurgence Conference in Jacksonville on June 2nd and 3rd. Themed “Invading the Darkness,” the event will feature speakers Dan Seaborn, Brad Stine, Miles McPherson, a couple of NFL Lineman and much more.
However, Owen’s vision is broader than a single event. “My emphasis is on men being active in the local church and influencers in the world. Men are portrayed in society as buffoons or absent when in fact God has given us spiritual authority and I think we have neglected to step into that and walk through it.”
The role of men
The men’s group at Christ the Rock is currently studying the book, Man of God by Charles Stanley, which talks about the virtues of being a man. “Regardless of whether you have a family or not, God has called you to be a man of integrity, a man who is unashamed of his relationship with Christ and walking in the authority, and in authority. It’s not really an authority to rule, as sometimes that word is taken out of context; it’s more an authority to serve as our Lord did.”
He explained, “I think of the Centurion that Jesus met. He was a man of authority under authority, so he understood what authority was. Rather than ask the Lord to come to his house, he knew that he had the authority to speak a word and it would change. That’s the power of a man’s authority, to speak a word to encourage, not necessarily a word of correction but more a word of encouragement, a word of faith, a word of joy, of peace, just calmness. And if you are in authority, you must recognize that you are under authority.”
Building a brotherhood
About 100 men meet at Christ the Rock three times a year to encourage one another and build a brotherhood. And there is a men’s study weekly on Saturday mornings. “I think it’s unique in that we have our man rules. The comments I get from men are they feel like they’re at home. It’s a place where they can be vulnerable; they can open up; they can share. It’s a safe place to get it wrong and for intergenerational interaction. We have men who are seniors and younger men who are sharing life together. So it’s really good and life-giving.”
So what are the “man rules” that govern these gatherings? Owens said it’s a pattern that has developed over years.
- Every man bows to pray. We recognize Christ as our authority.
- Every man brings his Bible. We lift high the authority of God’s word and start with the proverb of the day.
- Every man starts at the table of contents to find the scripture. We all start there, whether a man has walked 20 years with the Lord or 20 days, we’re all learning.
- Every comment is respected.
- Every man is respected. Every man finds another man in the room; we make eye contact, shake their hand and say, “I respect you.” And it changes the dynamic of the room.
- Every emotion is welcome, including anger. God has given man a unique adrenaline drop; at any moment we can go from 0 to 60, but I think it’s God-given because sometimes you need somebody to get up and defend without fear. If it becomes misplaced it can come off in anger against each other, but we give each other space. Express yourself, get it out, but we’re not going to stay there.
- Every question has value. Your journey has value, and your walk with the Lord can encourage another man’s walk with the Lord, whether it’s a failure or success. So whatever you have to say, say it.
Men are encouraged to invite other men, come and grow together.
Owens feels it’s important that he personally leads the men’s ministry. “I’ve learned that if a senior pastor is involved, the authority of the position in the room will attract other authority. It validates it. I know some pastors are very busy and may not be able to do it, but I feel that when it’s important to the senior pastor, the men will recognize that and appreciate it.”
Owens said he believes, “We need men of conviction who are engaged. David went to folly and got distracted and it cost him a whole lot. A lot of times men are not at battle and there is an enemy. He wants our family life and while we’re playing patty cake, he’s using nuclear weapons… Like Joshua we need to take a stand that as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
He is quick to point out that our failures do not disqualify. “I give my number to any man and tell them, ‘if you’ve done something foolish, call me. We’ll get you home.’ The church is seen as a place for a perfect man, but the reality is there’s no such thing. Everybody is going to struggle with sin till we meet Jesus, but it’s about freeing men up not to stay there.
He urges men to follow Christ, be men of integrity who are role models and influencers and to get off the sidelines to join the fight.