1. Greetings to the Men’s Fellowship, Ghana Methodist Chaplaincy, UK. At the centre of the Chaplaincy is the desire to live and express our Christian faith. I will like to reflect on the role of men in the Church today in the context of the aims of the Chaplaincy: ‘to heed the calling of the universal Christian Church to respond to the gospel of God’s love in Jesus Christ and to live out its discipleship in worship and mission through the various Ghanaian languages, and will seek to help its members to grow and learn in harmony as Christians in the traditional Ghanaian hospitality by caring and supporting one another spiritually and materially, and also, evangelise more people and make them followers of Jesus Christ – irrespective of race, gender or age…’ Roles is this context are sets of connected missional engagements, rights and obligations; a prescribed or expected behaviour associated with a particular position or status in a group or organisation hence, roles are not in isolation. Role, in sociology points to ‘the behaviour expected of an individual who occupies a given social position or status. A role is a comprehensive pattern of behaviour that is socially recognised, providing a means of identifying and placing an individual in a society.’ Roles as pattern of responsibilities are more of functions than control.
2. When God creates man and woman, He gives them a unique missional identity and purpose in life. For example, God designs a specific role for man to fulfill, living out the role that begins at home, to increase human flourishing. In our age of victims, filled with Adams, we are armed to the teeth with reasons why what we did was simply not our fault. The question, “Where are you” from an all-knowing God seems a silly question, ‘but the query has little to do with physical location … it relates to his spiritual state,’ and roles. Just as Adam had been given the responsibility to tend the Garden, with a wife to guide and protect and a warning not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but to trust in God, God is asking us today, “Where are you in your role”? Are you hiding because of sin and rebellion that are jeopardising your calling, roles, and responsibilities (Is 59:2)? Enough of role evasion. God is looking and searching for ‘a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land that I might not destroy it but I found no one” (Ezk 22:30). In the days of Ezekiel walls were built to protect the cities from invaders. A gap in that wall would allow invaders inside the city. God says “I have built a wall of righteousness to protect everyone but I have left a gap for a man to fill.” God has appointed men to become husbands and fathers with divine roles and responsibilities. This breakfast meeting summons us as men to do away with childish things, boys to become men. May God find you and me today in Jesus name.
3. Apostle Paul in his letter to Titus made it clear that young men are to be godly examples (Titus 2:6-8, 1 Tim 2:6-8). Areas of importance as to the man’s role in society today calls for men of prayer (I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere), men of principle (lifting up holy hands) and men of practice (without wrath and doubting). To fully understand the unchanging missional roles of man especially in a secular age, we need to understand the age we are in and the Creator of man, God. Charles Taylor in his book, ‘A Secular Age,’ based on the phenomenon of secularisation since the Reformation and the beginning of modernity points to ‘series of new departures, in which earlier form of religious life (roles) have been dissolved or destabilised and new one have been created,’ and family inclusive. Using the words of Richard Rohr, ‘since the eighteenth century Enlightenment, there has been little emphasis on spiritual practices and pathways wherein you could know holy and true things for yourself,’ including the roles of man today.
4. God is Eternal just as the future of man and woman is eternal but their earthly roles were missional until they were subsequently influenced by another created being, the serpent (Satan – Gen 3). Sin, the inclination to do evil, thus entered into human’s nature, and in place of the blessings God planned, a curse came upon the earth. The created role of a Missional God amounts to blessings just as the roles of men invite us to be a blessing to our families, churches, communities, and nations. Failure to operate in our roles as God commanded resulted to a curse upon the earth. God reversed the curse by chosen from among the nations a man, named Abraham, to whom He revealed Himself. In response, Abraham chose to be God’s servant. Through Abraham and his descendants, God began His salvation for all humanity and culminated in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born a human, a descendant of Abraham. The thing that qualifies a person to inherit Abraham’s blessing and role is faith. We must first surrender our Isaac to God in order to function as fathers of nations and in churches.
5. What does it mean to be a man in the beginning and in today’s world? To be a man in the beginning was first spiritual and it goes beyond the gender roles – masculinity and femininity as a set of guidelines imposed upon men and women as a consequence of culture and history. To be a man, we need God’s revelation and in humility respond to His salvation in order to be empowered for God’s mission.
6. The secular age in contrast continue to create, redefine, and perpetuate different ideals preventing men from being true to God’s image and roles to their family, communities and themselves. The role of men in the church today start at home. President Abraham Lincoln, a former President of United State of America said “The strength of a nation lies in the homes of its people.” God missional created role from home between a man and a woman is not a mistake but a pointer to man’s role in the family which is beyond just a father figure in child’s and family life.
7. The role of man as husband not ‘horseband’ beginning at home with many titles or degrees like ‘MBA’ connects with the woman as wife, a model of Proverb 31 woman. The main role of a model of Proverb 31 woman is to do the man ‘good and not evil all the days of her life’ hence the young man is repeatedly told that his choice of a wife will be a determining influence on his role, life, and career (v 12). The role of men in the church today begins with his focus affection on his wife alone in order to find spirituality, security, abundance and satisfaction in performing his roles in the family, church, community and in the nation. It is pertinent to note that women of 21st century are as strong and capable as men, they tend to be economically independent, ‘the line between male’s and female’s roles is becoming more blurred as women tend to be as ambitious in business world as men.
8. No matter what the current state of manhood is, the role of men in the church (as a husband and a father) is invaluable and will never be substituted. Traditional values are biblical and deserve for existence in order to create healthy generations in the church and our nations in general. In conclusion, the Beatitude in Matthew 5 sets out kingdom principles in three parts that determines the effectiveness of the role of men in the church today, namely: The need for salvation, the fruit of salvation, and the result of salvation. The parental background and testimony of John Wesley with the Moravian Christians provides a practical reflection.