Within the Christian Life Program we have several key parts to restoring men to wholeness in the Lord. We spend great sums of time in teaching the scriptures, in counseling, in helping them manage their legal issues, physical and mental health issues and in building relationships in the Christian community.
The Christian community and their local churches are really critical to success for the men, especially once they move along from here into their new world. Without those solid relationships they tend to slide back into old relationships and patterns. So we require that men attend and get involved in as much as possible a Bible believing, evangelical Christian Church.
This is not easy though for them and for the churches. The men see themselves as different than the rest of the congregation especially if they hang together with other clients at the church. In isolation they don’t meet and develop warm relationships with others. The church also may struggle with not seeing the men as just other sinners seeking a sanctuary with other sinner/saints. When they do get together it is really good and as it turns out it is no different than most folks becoming at home in a church group.
We really need churches to take up this mantel and do it wisely. These men need the resources of the saints who are ahead of them and the help to grow in the Lord. These are intentional actions marked with constant growing pains and great joys. Men getting baptized. Men celebrating anniversaries of sobriety. Men maintaining work and healthy relationship. The joys are there for the mature who can give of themselves to help guide men who have chosen to be disciples of Jesus. You don’t have to go into the world to find them, they’ll come to you and you can shepherd them to their next level in the Lord.
(Submitted by Gary Mountz, Director of Men's Ministries at City Union Mission)