Will Wearing Masks Ever End? - Pro Tips for Removing Masks Men Wear at Church
Face Paint Removal
My sons and I just finished 70 pounds of waterfowl pepperoni sticks and sausage. Because no one in the family loves waterfowl we save the hearts, gizzards, and usable meat until after the season, when we have “sticks” made. This year we did it ourselves. It was an epic success.
Waterfowl hunting is a science. There are many moving parts before it all comes together: location, location, location, decoys, calling, and concealment. When all these come together, you still have to hit the bird!
Face paint is a requirement to hide the human face, which stands out like a sore thumb to high flying waterfowl, but removal is a pain. At the end of a long day the last thing I want to do is remove the face paint from my scruffy face with rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball.
As the world opens up again and masks slowly fade into memory (hopefully), I’m reminded of another annoying mask men wear—the veneer concealing their true self.
This week on the Men in the Arena Podcast we interviewed Patrick Tyndall, Ironman Outdoors Ministries founder and Executive Director. Ironman Outdoors is a men's ministry whose mission is to “Connect Men to Christ in the Outdoors." Patrick and his army of volunteer pro staffers lead over 40 weekend hunting and fishing retreats for men each year. From humble beginnings in his Sunday School class, the ministry has grown to 14 states and offers life changing weekends for men each year.
Patrick shared that besides hunting and fishing, the goal of these weekends is for men to “take their camo off”—to remove all masks, veneer, or figurative face paint and get real about who they are.
Sharpen My What?
The inspiration for Ironman Outdoors is Proverbs 27:17, Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Unlike strategically neutered Bible translations like The New International Version and Christian Standard Version that use “person” instead of the gender specific “man”, besides our wives, it is men that sharpen other men.
In fact, the Hebrew word used here is pene or face. A more literal translation of Proverbs 27:17 could be, “As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another man’s face.” If you want to learn more about this, listen to my message on the Men in the Arena Podcast episode 406.
We have an entire small group study explaining this passage in the Man Card Series book two, The Climb: Fighting Apathy. You can also read about this in the Field Guide: A Bathroom Book for Men.
Here are some pro tips you can employ to help men remove the camo and unveil their best self.
Pro Tips for the Leader of Men
Pro Tip 1: Leaders who love Jesus more than their mask. It starts with you as the leader. If you refuse to drop your guard because you are afraid the men will think less of you, then you have already lost. Is your love for Jesus stronger than the love of your mask?
Pro Tip 2: Leaders who have the guts to remove their masks. This goes with pro tip 1, but it is worth mentioning. You may love Jesus with all your heart, run the men’s ministry and still be a gutless coward who refuses to take his own camo off. Read my recent my blog about Ravi Zacharias called, Leaders Who Lust. Do not allow fear to hide your true self from others.
Pro Tip 3: Ask them how they are doing, then LISTEN. Sunday is a great place to hear the heart of your men. Are you a leader who listens or do you suck the air out of the room the moment you walk in? I tend to be an air sucker (if I am honest) who forces myself to walk slowly through the crowd and listen. I fail at this often and need to work harder in this area too.
Pro Tip 4: Strategic events to tear down walls. Every year we do a men’s getaway weekend, similar to Ironman Outdoors, that is designed to pull the men from their natural element, compelling them to remove their camo, but they will only go as far as their small group leader is willing to go. Choose your leaders wisely.
Pro Tip 5: Strategic groups to draw men out. If you are not strategically launching small groups for men, then you are missing the boat as a men’s ministry leader and should resign your position or repent. Small groups are the core of your men’s ministry—not events. This week we launched a new website! Check out the many small group resources we offer men. In the fall we are launching an international small group forming campaign. Be watching for updates!
Boots on the Ground
Pro Tip 6: Pastor, pastor the men first. If you are a pastor reading this, THANK YOU! I want to encourage you to throw out your training and education and read your Bible. Who did Jesus start with? Who did God start with almost every time in Scripture? Statistically, who are the high impact players in the home?
That’s right, men. Be a biblical leader starting now.
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