For decades, Christian men have flocked by the thousands to catalytic events, from Promise Keepers events to men’s breakfasts, and from weekend retreats to wild game dinners. Thousands, perhaps even millions, of men have given or re-dedicated their lives to Christ in the context of these incredible experiences. We gather for a weekend or an evening, watch in awe as we hear of God’s amazing miracles in the lives of the speakers, revel in loud worship, get fired up for the Kingdom, rampantly street witness, and travel and eat together as we embark on a God adventure of unrivaled testosterone levels. These often large gatherings of men are really, in some ways, “the greatest spectacle in men’s ministry.” Much like the Indianapolis 500, we are in the company of thousands of our “closest friends,” gathering for a common purpose, where it’s fast, it’s loud, and the pomp and circumstance is equally unparalleled.
In Indianapolis during the month of May, there is a slow crescendo of activity until that much-anticipated last weekend, when every fan finally gets to hear those legendary words, “Gentlemen, start your engines,” and the green flag drops. Four hours of blistering speeds, cheering crowds, and ultimately the checkered flag and trophy presentation that go to that one driver who manages to outrace the other 32 cars to the 36-inch-wide red brick finish line, all define what this event is all about. The entire year has been about this moment.
Then, much like my brief career in motorsports, the race is over. Nearly a half million fans evacuate the speedway in long lines and begin counting the days until the next race, a year in the future. They return home and go right back to the lives they left behind, memories of the sounds and colors of the race already beginning to fade. Within weeks, the experience disappears amidst life, work, and home, and aside from a brightly colored T-shirt of their favorite driver, little remains from the Memorial Day weekend race.
While an incredibly effective part of a ministry system and in some cases, as a standalone event, the catalytic men’s gathering often slowly fades into the clamor and demands of “life.” I vividly remember returning home from a weekend men’s event years ago, excited and committed to be the best husband and man that I could be. I was so profoundly impacted by one of the speakers that I even bought his DVD so that I could watch it over and over again. God had done His part in impacting me, along with likely thousands of other guys in attendance. We were fired up, and nothing…I mean nothing…was going to take us off of our game as godly men.
That is, until I got to work the following Monday and deadlines became my priority. Sales projections, school events, meetings and soccer practices competed for every available moment that I had. I stood idly by as the demands of life slowly eroded away my incredible “mountaintop” weekend with the King of Kings. Then, without pomp and without circumstance, I was right back to where I was before the weekend. I was again just a regular guy working out at the same gym, in the same town, with the same job. Untransformed and unchanged.
Read the rest of David Dusek’s chapter in our free e-book, Porn-Free Church: Raising up gospel communities to destroy secret sins.