Book Notice: “As You Go: Creating a Missional Culture of Gospel-Centered Students”

Thank you for having been about to ask. Yes, Alvin Reid has committed another act of Reid_As_you_goliterature. Dr. Reid, SEBTS professor of evangelism and student ministry, has published a new book As You Go: Creating A Missional Culture of Gospel-Centered Students (NavPress). Those of us who know Dr. Reid perceive in him a real passion both for gospel-centered ministry and for students. Fittingly, then, As You Go calls students and student ministry leaders to the same sort of passion.

The back cover of the book states the context and goal of the book:

“Today’s students long for a rich, meaningful faith. They want something more than a moral code and therapeutic worship that leaves them unsatisfied and uninspired. Speaker, author, and evangelism professor Alvin L. Reid reveals a key to capturing students’ hearts for life: a missional youth ministry. Through practical teaching and powerful application tools, discover how giving teens a grander purpose and vision and encouraging them to see all of life as a mission field transforms their faith, their lives, and the world.”

Reid’s proposal is a simple one: return student ministry to the biblical moorings any faithful ministry needs. Thus he offers four interrelated ways: a return to 1) God-centered theology and worship; 2) the gospel (“a radical, Christocentric transformation . . .” p. 19); 3) the goal that is to glorify God; and 4) the gathering, which is to connect teens to the whole congregation not just one another (pp. 18–21). For those who desire to glorify God in their church’s student ministry–as a student, student minister, pastor, or parent–this book will help them reach that goal. Follow the link above to pick up your copy.

Family Matters

Susannah Wesley bore 19 children, 10 of whom died before age two. But two of those who did survive were used of God to shake a nation. John and Charles Wesley preached the gospel, wrote hymns, and established a renewed faith for the land of Great Britain that spread globally.

Susannah has been remembered as one of the great mothers in history. Read just a few of her thoughts on raising children:

  1. Allow no eating between meals.
  2. Teach each child to pray as soon as they can speak.
  3. Require all children to be quiet during family worship.
  4. Give a child nothing that they cry for, and only that which they ask for politely.
  5. To prevent lying, punish no fault that is first confessed and repented of.
  6. Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished.
  7. Never punish a child twice for a single offense.
  8. Commend and reward good behavior.
  9. Commend any attempt to please, even if poorly performed.
  10. Strictly observe all promises.
  11. Require no daughter to work before she can read well.
  12. Teach children to fear the rod.

Susannah never had a high political office, nor did she earn great degrees or titles. We must remember that the most important people have the shortest of titles: Mom. Dad. Son. Daughter. Pastor.

I love Southeastern for a lot of reasons, but the one that marks our school we do not talk a lot about relates to the value of family: the family of God in the local church, our seminary family, and the nuclear family.

We know that the family is under assault today. The best way to defend the family is to demonstrate the gospel’s effect on families of believers. Such families realize our wretchedness and great need of daily grace, and prioritize the gospel and the mission of God for the people of God to the nations for the glory of God. We who follow Christ do not always demonstrate a moral superiority over all others, but we are aware of divine grace. And a divine calling.

Here are just a few examples of our faculty who demonstrate the gospel in their homes:

Steve McKinion and his wife Ginger have shown the work of God’s grace in their journey with Harrison in his valiant battle against cancer, encouraged by his siblings Lachlan and Blakely;

President Akin and wife Charlotte have raised four godly young men who serve the Lord in ministry;

George and Catherine Robinson have taken their whole family (3 kids) on a mission trip to Asia;

Tony and Kim Merida have famously championed adoption by their words and by their example with five children of their own they chose to adopt.

Tomorrow I will walk our beautiful daughter Hannah down the aisle in Binkley Chapel where she will take the hand of a fine young man named Corey – whom she met while traveling with me in ministry — who will be her husband. Four weeks later our son Josh will marry a precious young lady named Jacqueline – a pastor’s daughter and a student in our college – in the same chapel. Michelle and I have been blessed with children after we thought for a season we would never have any. And now they begin their own families, with Jesus at the center.

Makes me think of the wonderful hymn penned by Charles Wesley days after his conversion:

Amazing love, how can it be

That Thou my God would die for me!

We deserve nothing but God’s wrath, but in His great mercy He has given us eternal life by faith. And He has given us family.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

 

Q&A 8: Why Are So Many Men So Immature?

10.4.2011

Question: What do you think stands as the main contributing factor in why many men today seem to be less mature than the generations of old? What do you feel are the spiritual applications?

Reply: (by Danny Akin and Alvin Reid): This is an excellent question and one that is quite relevant and extremely important for our times. When we see beer commercials mocking the immaturity of young men in our culture, we know that we have a problem! More significant individuals have addressed this issue as well, including a recent article entitled “Why men are in trouble?” by William Bennett. One of the better articles written some time ago is “Wimps and Barbarians” by Terrence Moore.

Dr. Reid addresses this in every class and preached on this subject in chapel (Click here for chapel message on October 28, 2010). Dr. Akin deals with this topic on a consistent basis in forums on campus and elsewhere. He especially raises the issue in the context of female/male service on the international mission field where women serve in massively superior numbers to men. In June 2009, for example, there were 331 journey girls and 126 journey men serving among the nations.

We live in a day when the average purchaser of video games is a 34 year old male; a time of prolonged adolescence and delayed responsibility. The root of this, in part, is sociological and goes back a few generations. The rise of the common school which led to public school education, housing massive numbers of children with one another more than being integrated in society with multiple generations, child labor laws which protected children from working in factories (a good thing) while failing to give responsibilities they could handle (a bad thing), and the practical reality that the median age in the United States has grown from 16 in 1800 to 35 in 2000 all play a role.

However, more recent factors include the rise of adolescence as a separate category fueled by such literary pieces as “The Lord of the Flies” and “Catcher in the Rye,” both published in the 1950s; the movie “Rebel Without a Cause” in 1954; the rise of rock and roll and a growing juvenile culture have all accelerated the growing immaturity of young men. Where once upon a time young men trained for war or for industry, young men today train for video games and play fantasy football.

We have a generation of soft boys. We have had several generations of wimps!

Add to that the reality of the absentee father, what we would argue may be the most dire of all other factors, and you can see to some extent how we have gotten to the place we are today. For the first time in American history we have a generation today where close to 40% are growing up without a father in the home. As we look ahead, at least one estimate has 55% of Millennial children growing up without a father in the home (Parenting the Millennials, 7).

We believe one of the most fundamental challenges of the church today has to do with raising up a generation of young men who become men of God, not spiritual wimps on the one hand or boorish barbarians on the other. We simply have too many who can be described as BANs, or half boy, half man.

What is a man? More specifically what is a man of God? Paul addresses this in I Timothy 6:11f. Here is a great place to begin the construction process of a man of God. First, Paul says recognize who you are! We are men of God. “You, man of God.” This is indicative. If you are a man and a believer, you are a man of God, so be who you are! Now, what are the marks of this man?

He is a runner: Paul says to flee and to pursue (verse 11). We are to run from the things listed in 6:3-10 such as false doctrine, slander, the love of money, useless arguments, etc. It is not the mark of a man of God to be constantly arguing over secondary issues. We are to run after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.

Men of God respect authority. And, they keep their word! They persevere, even when it is hard. One of the marks of this immature generation of men is their inability to persevere. More young men that women drop out of Alvin’s workout group each semester. More young ladies than young men are heading to the mission field. This is pathetic.

Men of God are also gentle. Being a man does not mean you watch MMA or talk tough. That may actually demonstrate adolescent behavior. Grown men can cheer for their sports team with gusto, speak to a child with gentleness, and love on their wives with tenderness.

Men of God are runners; they are also fighters. We are to “fight the good fight of faith” (v. 12). Some things are worth fighting over. Let us fight against Satan and his kingdom. Let us wage war against heresy on the one hand and legalism on the other. Let us man up and take a stand when necessary. Shepherds of local churches do not only guide the sheep with gentleness; they confront wolves with ferociousness.

Men of God are also wrestlers: we are to “take hold of” or “grasp firmly” eternal life (verse 12). Men do not spend their time and emotions fooling around with insignificant matters. Men of God give their lives to matters of eternity.

Finally, men of God are guardians. In verse 14 and following Paul reminds us to guard the things God commands. We must stand on the message of God and live out the message of God in our generation.

One of our students fought in Somalia and was rightly portrayed as a hero in “Black Hawk Down.” He talks about the wimpiness he sees in churches and how effeminate it is!We are convinced that the quota for wimps has been met in the church! It is time for a “man of God revolution!”

So what can you do? Get men involved in the lives of younger men. Challenge them to go on mission assignments nationally and internationally. Get them into the Word. Teach them theology. Read Titus 2 carefully and put it into practice for both men and women in your church. See the prolonged adolescence of young men as an idol in our time that must be confronted by the gospel. Be the man God saved you to be. The time is now and the need has never been greater.