New Zealand 2011 IV

The 2011 Men’s Challenge is officially over. 25,000 miles traveled. One day officially lost. Nine presentations in four days. Seventy men met, encouraged, and challenged. I even watched a rugby game (now that’s above and beyond the call of duty!–New Zealand lost to Australia. Devastating.)

It’s a lot of time, effort, and money to make these trips. Are they worth it? Here are a few things to put in the balance as you and I ask that question:

  1. These trips let me connect with ministers/missionaries working in small, often struggling churches. I spend a great deal of the time on these trips meeting with, encouraging, and working through struggles with godly men. It is one of the greatest pleasures I find in work of this sort.
  2. I get to bring a series of messages that encourage and motivate God’s people.
  3. I get to model a different preaching style just to expand the thinking of ministers about what is possible in the pulpit. Missionary preaching tends to be pretty prosaic and basic. They seem to appreciate a reminder that sermons can be more poetic … that story and parable is still powerful.
  4. These leaders and I often get to talk through pragmatics when it comes to their churches. How do churches change? How does leadership work? The power of focus. Developing a vision.
  5. We often get to talk through theology when it comes to their churches. What is the gospel? What is the proper authority of an evangelist? What is the essential business of the church?
  6. I get to recommend resources and ideas they don’t have ready access to: books, web sites, churches that are doing innovative, effective things, etc.
  7. I am a “safe” outlet for church leaders to vent frustrations, discuss difficult people, talk through challenges.
  8. I am also a “creative sounding board” for church leaders—to suggest different approaches, to think outside the box, to consider alternative ways of approaching problems.
  9. I get to focus on the next generation of Christians at events like this—the teens and twenty-somethings who attend and could well be the future leaders of these churches. I take what time I can to eat with these younger men, thank them for being present, and encourage them for their roles in the future.

I feel very privileged to play this role. And I am very grateful to all of you who make it financially possible for me to travel and spend time at events like Men’s Challenge 2011. Thank you.

© 2012 by Tim Woodroof. Reproduction of this material requires permission from the author.