By: Leonard C. Albert
I have a wonderful friend by the name of Paul Keeter. He is the senior pastor of a thriving church in Fayetteville, NC. During a recent visit he said to me, “God told me that if I would build people then He would build the church.” Wham! That really hit me big time. Since that conversation, I have asked myself this question: who is building the church? I am not necessarily talking about the physical structure but rather, the scaffolding of lives that comes together to form the body of Christ-the real church.
I think that we must first acknowledge that God is the real builder. The first part of Psalm 127:1 is a familiar yet profound Scripture: “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.”
Many pastors and leaders that I know are skilled at building fantastic churches and physical plants. I have been amazed at how they can find the land, raise the money and literally make “something out of nothing”-which, when you think about it, is an impressive skill. Architects dream something out of nothing. Builders construct something out of nothing.
I think that we all must realize that when it comes to building lives (especially men’s lives) that we are NOT the architect or the builder-God is. Real problems arise when we try to build the church without discipling the people and especially the men.
About two years ago God began to speak to me about doing a better job of reaching and training men in our local churches through LifeBuilders men’s ministry. I feel that He has given us a mandate to disciple 10,000 new men over the next five years. To do that we will need 500 churches who will commit to a five year plan to thoroughly disciple at least 20 men. The next question that naturally arises is: how do we know when we have disciple a man? We have developed a simple model. A man is disciple when he:
Walks with Christ,
Lives like Christ, and
Works for Christ.
We call our plan Ten for 10,000. We are working with 10 key states and 50 churches in each state to help accomplish our goal. Already we have 100 churches signed up and involved in identifying and training men’s leaders and beginning the process to effectively disciple the men of the local church.
Going back to what Pastor Keeter said, we must build the men and God will build the church. When we neglect the blueprints of Scripture and treat the church as our own building project, we’re asking for trouble. We may be confident in our own God-given skills, but we can never forget the foundational truth of Psalm 127:1: God builds; we labor. It’s as simple as that. Christ told Peter that upon him He would build His church-not vice versa (see Matt. 16:18). When we switch these around, we labor in vain. We are the workers, the laborers, the servants. We are not the architects or builders.
Would you like to join us as we disciple 10,000 new men? Click here for more information.