“Where are the fathers of your homes? Why are there only a few men coming to church?” I gave these questions to the pastors gathered at our lunch table. “They are out drinking in a bar somewhere,” they replied. “Would any of you go to the bars and sit with these fathers, even if it means not drinking what they are drinking?” I followed up with another question. And the answer was a big “No.”
Last week, I met up with a group of Pastors from a Southeast Asian country. After our sessions on leadership, we met up in a nearby restaurant for a meal and some conversations. It was during this time of fellowship that I asked the questions above. I refrained from telling them what Jesus showed us when he was still on earth. I avoided the tendency to come out with “guns blazing” and “preach their ears out.” I did not tell them that, in Jesus life and ministry, he went out to the people, sat with drunkards and thieves, dined with ordinary folks, and did not let the opinions of the religious majority stop him from going out to where people are gathered rather than inviting them to his gathering. I restrained myself from going into a preaching mode. I know God is working in the lives of these pastors. I am very sure they would hear the Spirit telling them all these ways of Jesus during their prayers and moments of reading the Bible.
Eventually, one of the pastors shared that the men of the community come to church or are open to hearing God’s words whenever they are in suffering or their families are in the midst of a crisis. “Remember Pastor David, last Sunday?” he continues. “After the service, when you prayed for that lady who is paralyzed, the husband came from his house and joined us for the prayer time.” I nodded in agreement. God is working. God is here.