Revolution is going to turn 5 years old this Sunday. It is really hard to believe that the church God birthed in me 13 years ago while living in Chicago actually came to be with 11 people who prayed and dreamed together in Tucson, AZ. Over the coming week as we gear up towards Sunday I thought I’d share some of the dreams that drove us to start Revolution and still drive us to this day.
On Monday, we looked at our dream of helping people become who they were created to be. Yesterday we looked at how to help people take their next step with Jesus and why that is so important. Today I want to talk about the value of Get the men, win the war.
Every study says the same thing: the person least likely to attend church in America is a 20-40 year old man. Because of this, when we started Revolution we sought out to reach that guy.
This all gets down to target. Every church, regardless of size, location, history, how long they’ve been in existence has a target. Every church wants to reach everyone, but every church can’t reach everyone.
Let me give you an example: depending on the time of your service, the music you play, the style of preaching, the dress of those who attend, if you do sunday school or small groups, if you have a student ministry. All of these factors will determine who will attend your church. Many churches are not intentional about these things, they just do them and their target becomes who is already there. If you want to know who your target is at your church, simply look around and see who is there, that’s your target.
We decided from the beginning, we would choose our target, understand them, their questions, their needs, what keeps them from following Jesus, how to best help them follow Jesus.
Make no mistake. Revolution Church wants to reach as many people as possible. We love 60 year old men, 50 year old women and 30 year old women and want them all to find Jesus, but everything we do has to answer this question: will that reach a 20-40 year old man?
This isn’t just a question about target. Our culture has no idea what it means to be a man or a woman. In fact, just this week there was a story about a class offered at the University of Arizona on fatherhood that has a waiting list. Our culture wants to know and they will go anywhere to find answers.
Here are some ways you see this at Revolution:
- Our name is Revolution. We intentional chose our name to be a name men would be intrigued by. I can’t tell you the number of men who have said, “I was looking online for a church and your name made me stop and I knew I had to check it out.” Just the other day a guy told me, “I wasn’t excited when my wife said we were going to church, but when she told me the name was Revolution I thought, it can’t be that bad with a name like that.” Our name not only describes what we believe Jesus started, what we are called to in our culture, but one that men don’t see as a roadblock.
- We create family devotional questions. Men are called to lead their families and pastor them well. Most churches heap this on men with a side of guilt and shame. Why do men feel this way? They don’t know how to do it. Many have never seen anyone do family devotions, let alone come up with what to do during them. So, we create simple guides for men to use with their wives and kids. Instead of saying, “You should do this and good luck.” We create them and say, “You should do this and this will help you accomplish it.” Make no mistake, if men think they will fail at something, they usually won’t try it.
- We challenge men to be who they are called to be. This goes with the last one, we unashamedly challenge men and women to be who God created them to be. We believe Scripture calls men to lovingly lead their homes, to serve and pastor their wives and kids. To have integrity in dating relationships. That women were created by God to help their husband and support him and respect him. I preach about this at least once a year. Ironically, this is the #1 reason people have started attending Revolution. Why? Our culture wants to know what it means to be a man and a woman and the media, TV shows, movies, books and magazines give empty answers. It usually boils down to sex, but Scripture gives such a fuller picture. Teaching men and women how to communicate, how to have friendships with integrity, how pursue your wife, how to date with integrity, how to fight well, how to achieve oneness in marriage (outside of sex). To get an idea of how we talk about this topic at Revolution, listen to the last sermon I gave on the topic.
- We are simple. I’ll talk about this more tomorrow, but we do 2 things at Revolution: Sunday morning and Missional Communities.
- Our missional communities have end dates. Men like end dates. Our culture does as well. School ends and has its cycle of life. Men don’t like to enter a group setting that is meeting until Jesus returns. Now, my missional community friends will say, “We are family and family never takes a break.” That isn’t true. Families take vacations, parents go on getaways. Extended families don’t see each other every day or every week. So, it is possible to be family in an MC without meeting officially every week as an MC. We used to meet forever and men were scared. You could say, “Well that is an idol that needs some gospel truth.” That may be true, it may also just be how men are wired. So, we moved to having end dates. Men are willing to try something with an end date, something that has a way out that isn’t awkward if they don’t like it. It is easier for us to say to a man, “give this MC a try, it lasts until _________.”
- We don’t have a women’s ministry (or a men’s ministry). I’ve blogged about this a lot and we get this question from women who come from a churched background. Churches that have women’s ministries often communicate to men, “You aren’t needed.” Think about it like this: a woman goes to her women’s bible study. She gets her relational fill, she is doing her Beth Moore bible study each day and growing. What is her husband doing? In the average church, nothing. He isn’t needed. She is getting all that she needs. As a couple, she is now growing faster than he is and they are growing apart spiritually. This happens more often than pastors want to admit. If you don’t believe me, ask most men why they aren’t leading their families and they will either say: I’m not needed or I don’t know how. Then, many pastors aren’t willing then to challenge men to step up and the cycle continues. We believe, the family should be split up as little as possible in the church. Now, when a woman in an MC says, “I’d like to have more.” We encourage them join an DNA group (accountability) or go to MOPS or a bible study at another church.
- We preach through books of the Bible. Many men don’t know where things are in the Bible and they don’t know how to read it. By preaching through books of the Bible, men get confidence in the Bible and their ability to understand it. They begin to learn where Jonah and John are in the Bible. They begin to see how things fit together. When you jump around and preach from 10 verses from 10 different books of the Bible, you communicate to your church, “You can’t do what I do.” When you go through a book of the Bible and show your church how it unfolds, they start to think, “I could pick that out if I read my bible on my own.” Men also like to see a larger story and how things fit together. They also like preaching on hard topics. When you preach through books of the Bible, you can’t skip sections, you have to preach every page.
Practically for Revolution, this means we are always asking the question, “Will this help us reach 20-40 year old men?” We’ve learned if you answer that question, women of all ages like what you do. As every church has learned (because 60-70% of church attendees are women) men do not like everything that women do.