Posted on : Friday February 26, 2021

Men and boys are often neglected in our conversations about demographic ministry. They shouldn’t be. Listen in as Dr. Anthony Bradley discusses the importance of pastoring, discipling, and caring for men in our churches.

Transcript

Dr. Smith:
Thank you for joining us on Peculiar People. I am here with Dr. Anthony Bradley. Dr. Bradley is the Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics at King’s College in New York. And he’s also a research fellow at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. And he’s author of Liberating Black Theology and he’s author of many other books. And I advise you, even before we begin this podcast to just go to your local bookseller or go to Amazon and type in Anthony B. Bradley, and you will be amazed at what comes up and I would encourage you to benefit from this brother’s work and his scholarship.

Dr. Smith:
He and I have discussed on several times where I think Christians particularly pastors need to have insight and benefit from the blessing and the common grace of scholars who have studied a lot of issues that we are concerned about. And many times, if we’re going to be spiritual leaders, if we’re going to be light and salt witnesses for Christ, we need more than a Cable News Network analysis of situations. But we need real scholarship and real a word. He likes to use data as we think about some of these things. And so we’re thankful so much to have you on our podcast, Dr. Bradley.

Dr. Smith:
But I wanted to talk to you about something broad but specific. And it’s men. Many congregations in Christianity in America, regardless of ethnicity or race, regardless of suburbs, many congregations have a hole in that congregation. That hole is often men and is often men between, let’s just say a 30 year hole. Let’s say 15 to 45, maybe even 15 to 55. I appreciate many insights that you give as you tweet and as you write articles regarding men. And there are a lot of overlapping elements that I hope we might have some time to mention a few, but one is certainly how we think about, and approach discipleship. Another is how we think about and how we approach discipleship in the context of relationships between men, friendship. I’ve seen you write some things about just kind of the cultural deficit as regards friendship.

Dr. Smith:
And I’ve been mostly provoked by this, by some of the things that you have… sometimes when you comment on news stories that address suicide. As a pastor, over 27 years, sadly I’ve had to be involved in situations of suicide. I’ve found it to be, when I’ve been in poor areas, then I found it to be when I’ve been in very upper middle class, American dream type suburbs, and you wonder sometimes what in the world is going on. And so, this podcast is about how we live as Peculiar People for the glory of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Dr. Smith:
I’m often talking to pastors about, “No, who are your men?” I mean, I know it’s just a picture, but I was talking about David and his fighting men and I asked pastors, “No, who are your men?” And I think often a lot of pastors are not intentional about discipleship and even evangelism, especially as it regards men. And so I have some questions, but just kind of getting into this, I want to enter in from something you’ve tweeted. You said, “I was glad to get to the end. I enjoyed my semester of my manhood class,” with some of your students. And you say, “I feel bad that there’re not churches in New York city for these guys.” What did you mean by that? There’re not churches in New York city for these guys?

Dr. Bradley:
Yeah. Thank you again. I think this is a wonderful topic and it’s probably deserves a three or four different conversations because there’s so many things in the pack here. But let me start by saying that men between the age, I’d say youth, guys who were growing up and families, I’d say between the age of probably fifth, sixth grade, 10, 11 to easily, easily 40. That group right there, the church is a place that’s foreign to them. The reason I made the comment that I can’t think of any churches that really seeks to build them up as men for their current wives, future wives, future children, future role in the church, future role in the community, to build them up specifically as men.

Dr. Bradley:
We read 1,800 pages worth of history of the interaction between the church and manhood from Jesus to the present. And I’m thinking, where can I deliver them to continue that discipleship and turn to what it means to be man. This is what people don’t understand. Okay. Being a man is a vocation in and of itself. It’s a particular calling and we’ve been really naive to think that we can passively raise boys and not specifically teach them about what it means to be a man. About what it means to be a father in particular. And so these guys don’t have anywhere else to go to learn about what it means to be a man.

Dr. Bradley:
The kind of questions that I get whenever I do conferences and speeches, talked on these issues. And whenever I teach this class, the kind of questions I’m getting, I’m thinking, why didn’t you have a place to ask these questions when you were in high school or even in middle school? And where is the culture of discipleship, mentoring, where are the sages who were mentoring the Kings, who are mentoring the young warriors? Where is that line? Where’s that pipeline?

Dr. Bradley:
I mean, you talked about David and his mighty men, where are the David’s and Jonathan? I mean, there’s so many issues there. That men are disconnected from each other. We have a crisis of loneliness. One of the things I asked my students, I’ll stop here is, “Tell me how many of you watch your dads leave the house with his friends on a regular basis?” And these are pastors’ kids, and kids that grew up in a church homeschooled kids. And it’s usually something like out of half a room of 60 students, maybe three hands would go up.

Dr. Bradley:
And so then we wonder, if you’re 15, and your whole life been about friends, and you look ahead and you think what it means to be a godly man is to be a man without any friends, why would you stay in a church? And so those are some of the reasons I had that then lament about churches. There’s not a lot of churches in any city. That’s really going to help guys understanding the particular vocation or calling of being a man.

Dr. Smith:
So let me ask you about sentencing, keep your head up. Many black men suffer from the dual edged sword of being over-mothered and under-fathered. So I want to ask you about that, but in your context at the King’s College, is that any different… is there a distinct element of that in black culture over against your international students, your white students, that kind of thing? I want to ask you to address that sentence, but also with a broader student body, is that a distinctive black culture issue or is it a broader issue?

Dr. Bradley:
It’s a broader issue. I think in the evangelical world, it manifests itself in different ways. I think in the black community, because the black church you’ll be able to validate is a matriarchy. I mean, black women control the whole institution. The brother is up front or the women control it. And so you have a section where the mother said, “There’s another sex in front of the fathers.” So it’s a bit of a matriarchy. And so what you find is that the mother is often the spiritual leader, kind of dry spirituality. And I think in some low income communities where the marriage rates are low, the mom ends up being the one who leads and the dad’s a bit more disconnected.

Dr. Bradley:
Now, what I’ve really come to find in the last few years of doing my research and this especially in the South, is that, it’s also matriarchal, but kind of on a [DL 00:09:15]. It works a little differently than it does in black community. The mom is often still a spiritual leader. When I was working in churches, when family’s church stop, one of the first questions they ask about is, what kind of programs you got for kids. So the mom is… she’s looking out for them, little Cubs.

Dr. Smith:
Yes.

Dr. Bradley:
The first question a church ought to ask is, what programs do you have for men? Because the extent to which the father grows in his sanctification, he blesses his wife and his children. All sorts of data that shows that, and I’m going to use some terms from youth ministry. Okay. When the father is on fire-

Dr. Smith:
Yes.

Dr. Bradley:
… okay, everybody else is on fire. When the father is on fire, the wife is on fire, the kid is on fire, the dog is on fire. The whole household is on fire. It’s basic Acts. The book Acts. What I find with some of my students is that… You know, I often ask them, “Hey, if you have a crisis, who would you call?” 18, 19 year old. That’s the question. “Who do you call if you’re having a bad week, bad day?” It’s almost always the mom.

Dr. Bradley:
One of the red flags and there’s all sorts of good psych data on this that I see, is if I talk to an evangelical guy and he says he talked to his mom everyday. I had is always a red flag because that’s usually a sign of a bad marriage. Often moms will get the emotional support from their sons that they should be getting from their husband. And so moms will often turn to their sons to get what they should be getting and they over-mother them. And what that does is it messes up their son’s ability to date women and also messes up his marriage later on.

Dr. Bradley:
And so I think because our young men are not given specific unique space to be poured into as a son of God, they’re basically on their own. And as we find in a lot of churches, when men don’t do anything, the women have to pick up the slack. And that’s why we see so many patterns of over-mothering. And I think lastly here, one of the big problems is that most churches don’t require or expect much of men. I mean, what gets men excited when you tap into their skill and expertise? And I’m sorry, folding up chairs and taking collection and running the sound board and playing drums, bass guitar, traveling in the parking lot is not tapping in the main skill or expertise.

Dr. Bradley:
When Jesus called the disciples, he called them to be fishers of men. He tapped directly into their skill and expertise and redirected it. I think part of the challenge is that, men are not engaged because churches don’t have anything for them to do. And because of that, boy suffer because there’s not a context for boys who aspire to be like the men they see, and there’s no pipeline of relationship where multiple generations are discipling each other.

Dr. Smith:
Yeah. In our denomination, I have the privilege of preaching in a lot of different churches and it’s so noticeable when you’re going into what I call a man church. When I go into a man church, it’s noticeable. And I mean, it’s noticeable to the sense of this probably no more than 15%. That’s what I mean, how noticeable it is.

Dr. Smith:
But let me just be sarcastic, which you ought to be devil’s advocate. Look, man, I have a game dinner once a year and I have hundreds of guys come and I give away three rifles, and I give away two shotguns. In football season, we do a Saturday morning men’s breakfast and we eat breakfast together. And then men get out before it’s time to go to the football game. I mean once a year, man, we do a men’s retreat and we go to one of our Christian conference centers and we spend a night there together and we have a worship service. What do you mean we’re not reaching men? What do you mean we’re not doing things that disciple men?

Dr. Bradley:
Those are really all fantastic and those things need to be done. But it’s also true that men actually need friends. Regular friends that they’re walking through life with. It’s no accident that Jesus surrounded himself with some friends for a few years because he was involved in that. You’re not going to find a friendless minus the profits. There’s something about the importance of having friends with whom you are sharpening and being sharpened. If we believe that Proverbs is true, as iron sharpens iron so does one man sharpen another, that doesn’t happen three times a year.

Dr. Bradley:
That’s an ongoing grinding, spark producing, heated refinement that happens over time. Daniel was sitting with some friends. I think it’s part of, we’ve done by making the nuclear family a bit of an idol and we’ve unfortunately burdened marriages by telling each partner that your spouse is the sole person to meet all of your relational needs.

Dr. Smith:
Yeah.

Dr. Bradley:
And when the wives are the ones bearing the burden of having to talk through every single thing under the sun with their husbands. And a lot of women are burned out dealing with all their husbands because their husbands don’t have any friends.

Dr. Smith:
I was going to say, because women still keep their friends.

Dr. Bradley:
Absolutely they do. Yeah. Absolutely they do. Absolutely they do. Now their friends are going to shrink. It might go from 10 to three with marriage and children. But for the most part, the wife will have a few friends a husband won’t. And I think churches often treat men like children. And they think, well, if we just put them in a playground, a couple of times, put them in a sandbox, the men’s retreat, the shooting event, the food event, that’s enough.

Dr. Bradley:
But you don’t get iron sharpen iron and you don’t get real discipleship. You don’t get Paul Timothy, David, Jonathan, you don’t get that stuff three, four times a year. And in fact, I would say, you don’t even really get it with that 6:30 AM, one-hour men’s breakfast on Wednesdays. I’ve often said that we need kind of youth groups for men. The types of relational connections that we often want to facilitate for youth, everybody needs those sorts of opportunities to have philia. And some of the Greek words in the Bible for love, it’s philia, it’s brotherly love.

Dr. Smith:
Yes.

Dr. Bradley:
That’s what we’re missing so deeply in the church. And there are a lot of men out there suffering in silence because they don’t have any close Godly friends speaking truth into their life.

Dr. Smith:
Amen. You know, the title of this podcast is Peculiar People. Sometime we have to speak things and let people know how we particularly mean those things. When I say that, I’m saying, in pastoring in a mostly white setting and in passing in a mostly black setting, I’ve had to convince men that friendship is a good thing just because of the last generation of push towards homosexuality. You have to push against kind of that thing in our culture and say, “No, don’t confuse what is good and Godly and righteous with that. And certainly don’t be ashamed to pursue what is good and Godly and righteous because of that.” Is there any research that suggests some of the cultural backlash from the last 40 years has affected friendship? Men’s perceptions of friendship?

Dr. Bradley:
Yes. That’s an excellent point. The phrase is homo hysteria. That’s the phrase that’ll be used in some of the psych literature and some of the sociology data. It kind of emerge in different pockets of American history, but it really began to pop up probably right before World War II. When the whole notion of being gay homosexual didn’t even exist. So when that entered into American life as a category, it really positioned men to have to prove that they weren’t gay. They had to prove it. And one of the ways that you prove it is by doing things that demonstrate that you completely disconnect from anything that might be confused with anything homoerotic.

Dr. Bradley:
There’s a great book by Jeffrey Hemmer, is a pastor, I think in Wisconsin called Man Up. It is the best book on this subject, in terms of men’s ministry, men walking as Jesus did. It’s a fantastic book on masculinity. And he makes the point that we have thrown out the baby and the bath water, and the bathroom and the house, on this point. Because we’re so afraid of being considered soft that we actually cut ourselves off from what we need. What do we need? Men need… they need intimacy and connection and comradery. They need love. They need support. They need all those things from other guys and because in our culture, we have reduced touch.

Dr. Smith:
Yes.

Dr. Bradley:
We’ve reduced all forms of touch to sexual touch. We sexualize touch. So touch means sex. So we have dads who don’t even hug their sons. That’s insane. Fathers, they don’t even show physical affection to their own children because we have so sexualized touch. There’s a great book called the Boy Crisis that explains the consequences of what happens when dads don’t engage their sons this way. The Boy Crisis also outlined why it’s important for men to rough house with their sons and to have that level of engagement.

Dr. Bradley:
And so, the sorts of friendships that boys have, men need to have the same friendships as well. And part of the reaction against the LGBTQAI movement has been this homo hysteria where guys say, “Well, I don’t want to be considered gay. So I’m going to hug you, but say no homo. I’m going to tell you, I love you, but I’m going to fix it. I love you, man. I love your brother.” And some of the data I’ve read is that men will often say my buddy and not my friend. Because they don’t want to get any kind of confusion there. And so I think the book Man Up by Hemmer, the Boy Christ, is a really good resources to help clarify some of these cultural strings.

Dr. Smith:
Yeah. I need to get into that. I heard you mentioned that somewhere and I went and downloaded all my iBooks and I said, “Okay, I need to check that out definitely.” So I’ll tell you something funny. You may have mentioned this kind of scenario in your classroom or was… I’ve heard, you mentioned this scenario. I’ve pastored a lot of guys, I’ve ordained some guys to Christian ministry. My focus has always been on the brothers. When you spend some time, just say we’re together five or six of us, it’s funny sometimes when we depart, who will say, “I love you.” And who will not say, “I love you.” And all these guys love each other and it’s nothing but like cultural hangup about how you express affection. And again, as you say it, some of those guys they haven’t even had that stuff in home. So certainly they wouldn’t feel comfortable expressing that outside of the home.

Dr. Bradley:
I was having lunch with some brothers and I did this just to test it out. I always just wanted to test this out. So the three of us we were sitting there and I was like, “Hey,” and I’m tell you something. I’ve known these men basically my entire life. Okay. And I said, “Hey, I just want you… I love you guys dearly. You guys mean so much to me.” And so my other friend who’s free, he said, “I love you too.” And then my other friend, who I would say is not free, was like, “Man, I appreciate you. I really appreciate you, man. I appreciate you. So I appreciate you and you, and you.” I’m like, “Appreciate?” That’s what I said. I appreciate my doctor. I appreciate my accountant and my lawyer. I don’t love them. But he couldn’t even say it.

Dr. Smith:
Yes.

Dr. Bradley:
He can’t even tell some friends with whom he’s been friends with almost his entire life. We go way back to elementary school that I love you too. I appreciate you. And I think it’s one of the reasons that guys avoid being deeply involved in the church. So what happens? What do we see? Guys skip church to go be with their friends.

Dr. Smith:
Yes.

Dr. Bradley:
They will skip in their 20s, late teens. I see this in college, college age, early 20s, until they get married, they will avoid church. People will say, “They will just sit home, playing video games.” Well, that may be the case because they’re playing with their friends.

Dr. Smith:
Yeah.

Dr. Bradley:
Because they know, because they see it in a church that when you get married, friendship is over. So why would you want to get married early when you know that’s your destiny. I think we can recapture a sense of what it means to be sort of philia. What it means to have that brotherly love by focusing on the sort of pipelines of discipleship between the older men, middle-aged men and younger men.

Dr. Bradley:
This right here is the sort of sticky wicket. I mean, I’m going to say this, and this is a controversial part. I think part of the interruption in the pipeline is youth ministry. Because what we’ve done is we get all the middle school, high school kids together and then we isolate them from the men.

Dr. Smith:
Yes.

Dr. Bradley:
Instead of, which is what they need, is the exact opposite. Because they’re with their peers all the time, they actually need to see and get to know some other men in their church because they need some surrogate uncles and surrogate grandfathers, because that what the church is supposed to be. And so what happens is, they see youth church and then “big church.” And so they turn 18, 19, and they have absolutely no idea how to exist as a man in the church because they’ve never been a part of it.

Dr. Smith:
Amen.

Dr. Bradley:
So this is why you see that college freshmen sophomores hanging around the youth group. “You know bro, you got to go, this girl’s 14 or 19. You got to go.”

Dr. Smith:
Got to get out.

Dr. Bradley:
And he’s like, “Go where?” Because the world of adults is foreign to him. And so I think our youth ministries got to be re-imagined if we want to make any advancements in this area.

Dr. Smith:
I would with 100% agree with that. I was chastised sometimes even corporate punishment by Deacon Carol Bradshaw, that was a dude. Yeah. I mean just the whole thing of growing up around praying men and men walking with their Bible, would also get what you spend time with you. That’s an interesting point. I find myself challenging pastors about, what I call overreaction. So sometimes something can be going in a bad direction. And then instead of directing back to what I call a biblical center and I don’t mean center as in a moderate position. I just mean standing on the word. Sometimes instead of doing that, people will go from one extreme to another extreme, that also is off from the Bible.

Dr. Smith:
As marriage began to be attacked and things like that in our culture, I think we hunkered down in a nuclear family in such a way that congregations sometimes don’t provide fruitful discipleship for single men and single women of all kinds of ages. And then to the point you’re discussing right now they don’t provide discipleship for men. And many times for man and a woman, if a man grows up and he gets through youth ministry and he abides by, true love waits. He married some girl from the church and they both get married with no kids. We act like that man has reached some kind of finish line. And I think discipleship wise, that’s just like getting into the second quarter.

Dr. Bradley:
The destination of youth discipleship rather than the initiation into just another chapter in your life, where you still need ongoing training, discipleship, mentoring, teaching. And here’s what I learned from teaching my class this semester is that, I don’t know why we think guys automatically know how to be husbands. Why do we think guys automatically know how to be fathers? I mean, why do we think they don’t need any specific training from other men? This wisdom is passed down from one generation to another. That’s what the whole book of Proverbs is set up for. The whole model of proverb is generation passing down wisdom to another. And we have a bunch of young guys just kind of out there on their own.

Dr. Bradley:
You know, we’ve both officiated weddings. And you’re standing up there everybody is crying, and they’re crying at the reception just like, “I’m just so glad you got to this day.” And I’m thinking, well, now what? Because now it’s about to get really hard. It’s about to get really, really hard. And so this brother needs some men now-

Dr. Smith:
Yes, sir.

Dr. Bradley:
… more than ever. In fact, his wife needs him to have some men more now than ever.

Dr. Smith:
And not just his peers, men who have been married for 20 and 30 years.

Dr. Bradley:
He’s got some questions. He needs to be asking some grown folk, older folk about that first year to make sure he’s not crazy. That he’s doing it. Because those patterns you set up that first year, that’s why you end up getting divorced in years five, six, seven, eight. So we’ve done a terrible job of leaving young men out there on their own to figure it out. And then we get mad at them. This is, to me, the hypocrisy. We get mad at them and rebuke them and try to shame them when they go on a dock with the culture set. Because they’re going to get the questions answered from somewhere. So don’t get mad if he’s watching Jordan Peterson videos it was all day. If you’re not giving him any content.

Dr. Smith:
Amen.

Dr. Bradley:
He wants content, he’s 25 years old and we’ve done a terrible, terrible… It’s a scandalous sin. The way we have left guys on their own to figure all this stuff out. And because we live in such an industrialized, modern society, the rhythm of life in modern society doesn’t naturally teach a boy how to be a man. When you live in an agricultural culture, in a rural society, in an indigenous culture, the rhythm of life teaches you how to be a man, because you need to do certain things for you and your wife, family.

Dr. Smith:
Amen.

Dr. Bradley:
But modern life doesn’t teach you how to be a man. It teaches you how to go to work and work for somebody, but it doesn’t teach you how to be a man. So we have got to actually teach guys what it means to be man. And we have done a terrible job of leaving two or three generations of men out there hanging. Totally hanging. And then we just get mad at them because they’re playing video games.

Dr. Smith:
Yeah. That’s our fault. It’s our fault.

Dr. Bradley:
It’s our fault. There’s a struggling 20 year old man, he’s trying to figure it out. If there’s a 25 year old guy who’s lost about his marriage right now, 28 year old guy who’s got a kid in his hand and he doesn’t know what to do, that’s our fault.

Dr. Smith:
Well, our state convention we have a partnership with some Baptist churches in Western Kenya, and you’re right. Some of the Churches up in the mountains in a rural area and the sobriety about those young men because they just understand what it takes to provide for their family, what it takes to nurture their family. And some of the discussions that they have, the Q&A with a 13 year old over there is drastically different than the Q&A’s I do at summer camps here in the U.S.

Dr. Bradley:
Yeah. I mean, so many of our men are in arrested development because we have basically stopped developing them when they hit middle school. We really do stop the training and we’ve got to keep training them. We’ve got to keep training. This is a testimony in my class. I taught this class when I was a senior professor as well. It’s life-changing.

Dr. Smith:
Amen.

Dr. Bradley:
Why is it life-changing? Because this is the first time in their life they’ve been in a room with other men talking about what it means for them to be at man. And I can tell you, factually, that both the ones from the seminary world and these guys, their marriages are going to be totally different.

Dr. Smith:
Amen

Dr. Bradley:
Their fatherhood is going to be totally different.

Dr. Smith:
Yeah.

Dr. Bradley:
Their work and service in the church is going to be completely different. The way they are in the world and society are going to be completely different because they now understand and see, having an imagination between now and when they become a Sage figure, what God has in store for them, and what that journey looks like as they enter into these different states of being a man. It’s a gift. It’s a gift to give a boy a vision for his future. It’s a gift to give him that.

Dr. Smith:
I think pastors have to own the fact that we live in a culture where fatherlessness and out of wedlock marriages, and just a lack of kind of home nurture. We’ve got to contextually own that as part of the mission field and discipleship processes in our congregations. I was crying on mother’s day because at some point, on Twitter and other social media, at some point I could not take the amount of mother’s day tributes that began with this one particular sentence, “My father left when I was blah, blah, blah.” Then of course there was a substantial tribute to his mother.

Dr. Smith:
But the thing that broke me down after a couple of hours, I was stunned at how common that one opening sentence was. Just to see it steady on a trader stream, just it was overwhelming. The men of Issachar knew the times, we need to understand the times we’re in regarding fatherhood. We talked about manhood, but you write as much and you post very helpful videos about fatherhood and the church is discipling young men who are coming from a deficit in that area.

Dr. Bradley:
Yeah. Some of the question I’m asking boys now, teenagers, I’m not asking them, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Who cares? I don’t care about that. Seriously. Who cares? Who cares? Big deal, whatever. “Go be an astronaut. Great.” The question that matters to me as we think about their role in sustaining churches and virtue, so this is my question. I was like, “What kind of father do you want to be when you grow up? What kind of father do you want to be? Because if you want to be that kind of father, what are you doing right now to put yourself in position to be that kind of dad? Because you not just go and be that kind of dad then you have to start doing something now to get ready to be the kind of man that you say you want to be for your children.”

Dr. Bradley:
And if that answer is, “I want to be a provider, just want to make sure my kids have good material resources.” I’m like, “Well, that’s not the Bible.” I mean, “Is that it?” That’s lame. That’s a punk way of thinking about a dad. And that’s the recipe for a miserable marriage and jacked-up kids that end up on rehab. If that’s all you want to be. And we have to begin to think about the ways in which parents, and this is something you get from Psalms that you actually are parenting your children for your grandchildren. It’s your children’s children, Psalm 78. So you’re parenting your children, taking about the kind of parents that are going to be for their children. And what do we do in America is that we parent children focused on their stupid job. And so we get out what we put in.

Dr. Bradley:
So we have a bunch of really successful people, have great careers and their marriages are terrible. They don’t know how to live and thrive in a church. They don’t know anything about ministry or discipleship. They don’t know anything about the Bible, but they know a whole lot about their job and career. So whatever you incentivize, you get more of. And I’m thinking we need to put the Bible in front instead of attaching it as a Velcro, as a tertium quid, as an addendum, and put it at the center and raise the kind of boys to men that bless women and children and explode the church. We need to focus on doing that and stop leaving these guys out hanging.

Dr. Smith:
Amen. Dr. Bradley, you have been generous with your time and we are certainly thankful. I certainly personally am thankful and you are correct at the beginning. This needs to be three or four different because I think this is foundational for the church and desire to equip pastors. And so we will pray for God’s mercy that we might be able to even again, speak, even honing down on some more particular issues regarding this. Because I do think this is just a tremendously vital issue.

Dr. Smith:
If the gospel of Jesus Christ is for all peoples, and we go and we share the gospel with every creature at a very kindred tribe, tongue and nation, if in Galatians, social standing and economic standing does not distinguish follow the Jesus Christ. And we’ve got to be able to make disciples of fatherless men. We’ve got to make disciples of men who’ve been over-mothered and under-fathered. We’ve got to make disciples of blue collar men. We’ve got to make disciples of white collar men. We’ve got to make disciples of all kinds of men from areas. You’ve been in New York city. You went to seminary in St. Louis. You grew up in South Atlanta, the dirty South. And so we’ve got to be able to make disciples of men and all those types of contexts.

Dr. Smith:
And I want to affirm with you. I think right now we have tragically missed the mark and it has shown up in the life of our congregations. Unless anyone have any negative thoughts about all this talk on men when men are saved and sanctified and glorifying God in their lives, women flourish and children flourish. their children, their wives, their mothers, their sisters, their sister in the congregation who’s just sitting down to pew. The women and children flourish when men are filled with the Spirit and being fruitful for the Lord, Jesus Christ. And so we just thank you so, so much for your time, and I appreciate you so much. I wonder if you would just maybe close and just pray for pastors of Bible believing congregations who want to be faithful in this service.

Dr. Bradley:
I think it’s important to encourage pastors. They get beat up a lot from inside and out. And I think to just encourage pastors to know that, when you disciple and build up man, you will never have to worry about your church dying. It’s just a church history fact. You won’t have to worry about your numbers. You won’t have to rock your budget. You won’t have to worry about any of that stuff. You might not even need a youth pastor. If the men in your church are on fire. You don’t have to worry about people volunteering to do things. You don’t have to worry about committee work. You don’t have to worry any of that stuff. You don’t have to worry about, “Oh, we don’t have any deacons. Where are the elders?” All those issues get taken care of the extent to which the men are really set on fire.

Dr. Bradley:
So if you don’t have any men that are on fire, it doesn’t mean that it’s a done deal. I think the opportunities to really infuse some love and care for them and set them free. And then you have a problem of there’ll be wanting to do stuff and you don’t have enough for them to do.

Dr. Smith:
Amen.

Dr. Bradley:
That’s the problem you want. Pastors have so many things on their plate. Having to manage all these different constituencies and complaints and all this stuff. Budgets and landscaping and the van breaking down. Hiring staff and all those things. But I think there’s an opportunity here to take care of a lot of those other things by focusing on building up some brothers. So let me pray us out here.

Dr. Smith:
Amen.

Dr. Bradley:
Father we thank you and praise you for your goodness to us. We thank you for the mercies that you’ve shown to us in the work and person of Jesus Christ. We thank you for the resurrection and we are a people of the resurrection and people of Pentecost. And because of that, your power rests and rules and abides with your Spirit as your Spirit enables us to do the things that you have called us to do. And so father, I pray for pastors that your Spirit would rest with them. That it would give them wisdom, and insight, and vision, and imagination for ways in which they can serve the flock that you have given them as they feed the sheep.

Dr. Bradley:
Father would you feed them with your Spirit, for any of the guys who feel like they’re alone, I pray that you would give them courage to reach out and ask for help. And for those who are struggling, marriages that are in trouble, ask for help. Children in trouble, ask for some help. And that’s exactly what the church is for and why God gave it to us. So I pray this day that we would allow the Spirit to deal with the spirit as we avail ourselves to the resources of His word, and the sacraments, and the church, and all the things that God gives His people to do in His service. It is in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Dr. Smith:
Amen. Thank you so much my brother.

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