Second Chances

Featured Story: Eric Stoudt

 

“Men of Iron gave me the courage to be a leader. Going through the Strong27™ mentorship guide and being challenged by my mentor made me a better person. I started living out the things I knew in my heart I should be doing.”

From recovery houses to broken relationships, Eric’s story radiates redemption. He tells a story of a God who never gave up on him and whose plan was greater than he ever imagined. Today, Eric is a man after God’s own heart.

When Eric first met his wife Rachel, they were both coming out of broken relationships. Both were searching for something more, something greater. They knew this time around the foundation of their relationship had to be God. He had to be the center. It was this desire that led them to GT Church in West Lawn, PA.

As their faith in God grew, so did their relationship. They desired to do church the right way. They got involved, they met with leadership, and they invested in people and relationships. It was then that real life change started to happen.

In the fall of 2015, at the recommendation of friends who had been through the ministry, Eric signed up to be a protégé in Men of Iron’s Strong27™ mentorship ministry. For a man who was already growing, it was the momentum he needed. Strong27™ gave Eric a hunger for more, a hunger for God’s word, and a strong desire to lead.

“The biggest thing is accountability. It allowed me to be more intentional with my wife. I learned a great deal from setting goals and accomplishing them, and even from the goals I didn’t accomplish. Strong27™ gave me somebody, walking with me, who could help me be intentional.”

Intentionality and accountability gave Eric the strength to be a better husband, to be a better father, and to be a better leader in his church. It also gave him the opportunity to be a Strong27™ mentor the following year. Besides being a mentor Eric and his wife Rachel serve the church in other areas. Their willingness and heart to do church the right way has allowed them to serve in high capacity leadership roles within GT Church.

Men of Iron gave Eric the confidence to lead well. He is now more intentional in his relationship with his wife and with his kids. He is now a leader of other men at GT Church, helping to change a culture one man at a time.

Steve Glick

Lead With Excellence – Put God First

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

I desire to love my wife well, to look at my wife as the most beautiful woman on the planet, and to see my wife as God sees her, a daughter of the Most High. These are desires that every husband should esteem for. But does it happen naturally? Does it happen 100% of the time? Certainly not. Let’s face it, we are men, we screw up. Just open up your Bible and look at the men of God who time and time again royally screwed up. From Moses, to Peter, to King David. But what’s the common theme among these men, including us today, that plagues them? Failure to trust in God. Allowing bravado, selfishness, doubt, and things of the world to overshadow God’s wisdom and guidance. Loving your wife well starts with putting God first!

David assures us in Psalm 37 that when we delight in the Lord, when we trust in God, he will give us the desires of our heart. I think the same is true when we don’t trust in God. When we desire things apart from God, he gives us those as well. But ultimately, God wants us to willingly delight in Him!

His desire for you as a husband is fulfilled when you put your trust in Him.

In Psalm 37 King David is speaking from years of experience, decades of falling down and getting back up again. He has learned what it feels like to delight in the Lord, and learned what it feels like to delight in the world. But throughout the psalm he says, “Do not fret.” David has seen the results of putting God first and knows there is great reward for all who do the same.

Men, do not fret, delight in the Lord, He is faithful. Put God first in ALL that you do and guaranteed he will make you a better husband, a better father, a better leader.

During our dating years my wife and I experienced a lot of heartache, a lot of ups and downs. And if I’m being honest I attribute most of that to myself and my actions. I was a terrible boyfriend. I had spent a majority of my twenties apart from God, living only for myself. I didn’t know what it meant to live for God, let alone how to trust in Him and how to treat a woman. It was always me first, my feelings, my selfish desires. When her actions didn’t line up with my needs I ran the other way. Building a gulf in between us. For years I skated by as a sub-par boyfriend. I didn’t love her well, I didn’t look at her as the most beautiful woman on the planet, and certainly not as God saw her and still sees her.

It wasn’t until I surrendered my selfishness that I began to see significant change. I put it all on the table before God. I prayed that I could and would love her well, that I would see her as beautiful. I put God first. 

Ashley and I have been married for 1 year and 5 months. Marriage is hard, and takes a lot of work. But to be honest this has been the greatest 17 months of my life. I’m sure you marriage vets are getting a good chuckle out of my 17 months of experience. But in over 7 years of being with this woman I have never been more in love with her than I am today. My affection for her grows by the minute. Everyday her beauty shines through in a greater and more unique way than I ever thought was possible.

Men, God WILL give you the desires of your heart. He WILL give you a love for your wife that you never thought possible. Do not fret. Trust in the Lord. Put God first. 

 

Steve Glick

Start S.M.A.R.T. With Your Wife In 2017

“In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” – Proverbs 14:23

The saying goes, “Marriage may be the closest thing to heaven or hell any of us will know on this earth.” I don’t know about you, but my desire is to have a TRUE relationship with my wife — one that is full of love, joy, peace, happiness, etc. I desire to laugh together, cry together and communicate honestly with each other. I don’t want to “just exist” in marriage together. I want to be best friends with my wife. Best friends are committed to one another, regardless of circumstances. Best friends go out of their way for each other, willingly and consistently serving the other person. Best friends are at peace with one another.  

Marriage is hard. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. It takes a lot of work, which is why the lifelong commitment should not be taken lightly. But like anything else that is hard, the reward is so great. The ‘ROI’ on the relationship with your wife is directly correlated to the amount of investment you put into the relationship. The greater the investment, the greater the return. The more labor you put into your marriage, the greater the profit.

King Solomon reiterates this promise in Proverbs 14:23 where he says, “In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Author Steven K. Scott says, “Apply that labor to your marriage, and your profit will be measured by the amount of fulfillment you and your wife gain. Mere talk, on the other hand, Solomon warns, is cheap and easy, and leads only to poverty.” (1)

He goes on to say, “Diligent labor is demanding. It requires vision, creativity, commitment and effective partnering. Essentially, Solomon is telling us that if you are not profitable in your career, or if your marriage isn’t as fulfilling as you wish, you are probably not working diligently enough.” (2)

I read that sentence several weeks ago, and I realized the diligent labor I was putting forth in my marriage was nonexistent. My wife and I had been irritable with each other. There was very little joy and happiness oozing from our relationship, and I decided to take responsibility and make some changes.

In my previous blog, I shared a model to help you ‘Start S.M.A.R.T. in 2017’ . Below is a step-by-step model to Start S.M.A.R.T. With Your Wife in 2017.

After realizing I needed to put forth more diligent labor in my marriage, I sat down, wrote out a plan and executed it. I’ve noticed a big change in my marriage since, and I want to encourage all of us to start your marriage out with a bang in 2017. Here’s the plan…

1. Schedule a day to personally get away – Use this day to establish your personal 2017 goals. Keep it simple by using the 5F Model (Faith, Family, Friends, Fitness, Finances). IMPORTANT — this day is for you. Don’t invite anyone else. Turn your phone off, limit distractions, etc.

2. Schedule a day to get away with your wife – Don’t let her know about it until you’ve handled all the details — lunch and dinner plans, babysitting, a fun activity, etc.

3. Text your wife the details – “Hey hun, I planned a day away for just me and you. Please block out the entire day next Thursday. I’ve already made babysitting arrangements and have lunch and dinner reservations. Be ready to leave the house at 9 am.

4. Start your day out light – Do something fun together. Take her shopping, grab coffee, etc.

5. Share the why and take responsibility – When the moment is right, share with her why you planned this day. For me, I had to be honest.  I said, “I planned this day because I felt like we are going through the motions in our marriage. It’s not what it could be, and I take full responsibility for this. I want to use this day to get things back on track and to share my goals and plans with you.”

6. Recap the year with vulnerability – Share a summary of your year. Tell her about your personal successes, failures, disappointments, etc. Take it one step further by sharing your feelings on the marriage. Let her know how you appreciate her, what you love about her, etc. Go even further by sharing where you have failed her and what your desires are.

7. Share your personal 5F goals – Give her permission to hold you accountable. Encourage her to check in with you (Recommendation – make sure one of your family goals is focused on diligently loving her more effectively).

8. Encourage her – Ask her to consider establishing a 5F plan for 2017. Set a time the following week to sit down together after the kids are in bed to review them.

9. Schedule monthly check-ups – Schedule a consistent day, time and location to check-in with each other. Review your goals, talk about your marriage and be diligent!

Garret Barbush, Executive Director

Resources

1 – Steven K. Scott, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived – King Solomon’s Secrets to Success, Wealth & Happiness, page 17.
2 – Steven K. Scott, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived – King Solomon’s Secrets to Success, Wealth & Happiness, page 17.

Start S.M.A.R.T. in 2017

“Do you see a man diligent in his business?  He shall stand before kings.” Proverbs 22:29

 

For many, a new year means new goals, new dreams and new desires. A new year gives opportunity to a fresh start. It gives opportunity to get back on the right track and to make things right. Personally, I love the new year. I love the idea of planning, goal setting and evaluating the previous year.

Success rates for new year resolutions are consistently low, with a high percentage of people sliding back into old habits by the time February hits. For the culture we live in, failure is the norm. As humans, we prefer the path to least resistance. Being stretched, doing difficult things, being disciplined and living diligent lives is not what we prefer. Rather, we prefer instant gratification. Thus, mediocrity and failure is a standard most settle for.

Recently, I started reading The Richest Man Who Ever Lived – King Solomon’s Secrets to Success, Wealth and Happiness. Within the first, several pages, I found myself challenged, convicted and motivated. Steven K. Scott makes the argument that less one in a thousand people fully utilize the skill of diligence. He defines diligence as the following:

DILIGENCE is a learnable skill that combines: creative persistence, a smart-working effort rightly planned and rightly performed in a timely, efficient and effective manner to attain a result that is pure and of the highest quality of excellence. – Steven K. Scott

After reading the book, I decided ‘DILIGENCE’ would be my ‘ONE WORD’ for 2017. In the past, I have always made goals for the new year. While my goals were good, they often were focused on me — my career, my health, my finances, my hobbies. If I’m honest, the process of determining my goals was often self-centered and rarely involved other people in my life. In other words, there was very little accountability. There was no one to share my journey with, no one to celebrate with when a goal was accomplished and no one to encourage me to be creatively persistent when I got off track. I rarely ‘attained a result that was pure and of the highest quality of excellence.’ Therefore, I rarely lived a diligent life.

I made the decision for 2017 to be different. I am striving for diligence. I want to forget about the path to least resistance. I want to go down a path that will stretch me and make my soul come alive. I’m ready for adventure. Will you join me?  

Below is a simple model to think about and apply to your own life as we start 2017 with a bang!

1. Use the 5 F Model to determine your personal goals. I find it beneficial to keep my career goals separate from my personal life.

  • Faith
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Fitness
  • Finances

2. Get away. Don’t sit down and write out goals just for the sake of setting goals. Find space. Fight for quite and solitude. Pray. Sit in God’s creation. Turn your phone off. LISTEN! Seek God and invite Him into the process.

3. Keep it simple. Strive to have no more than 2 goals in each category. In some cases it’s okay to have 3. The point is to set yourself up for success, not failure. 

4. Think of others. Your life isn’t about you. It should be about others. Be abundant in your thought process.

5. Be S.M.A.R.T. “I want to lose weight” or “I want to read more” are great ideas but terrible goals. “I want to lose 30 pounds by September 1st by working out Monday, Wednesday, & Friday at 6:00 am” or “I want to read 1 book per month by reading for 30 minutes each morning before work” are S.M.A.R.T. 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-Bound

6. Frame and hang your goals. Hang them where you will get a reminder each morning. 

7. Get accountable. Share your plan with your wife, mentor, brother or close friend. Schedule regular meetings with these people in order to review your progress. Give them permission to be tough on you.

8. Execute. Anyone can sit down and write down goals. Planning is easy. Executing is difficult. Execution is the difference between diligence and mediocrity.

I’ve included my 5F goals for 2017 as a sample to follow. I trust it will help get you started in the right direction (*Note – I have 4 goals listed under ‘Family’).

Garret’s 2017 Plan for Diligence

1. Faith

  • I will find 1 day of solitude per month by having the last Monday of the month blocked off
  • I will memorize and recite 24 Bible verses by 12/31/2017 (2 per month)

2. Family

  • I will pray with my family every morning before I go to the office
  • I will date Eden (my wife) 1x per month and will plan 2 marriage weekend get-a-ways
  • I will date Kendall (my daughter) 1x per month
  • I will put my phone away every night at 8:00 pm

3. Friends

  • I will write a letter of gratitude to men who have positively impacted my life by 4/1/2017
  • I will plan and host a friend celebration with Eden by 6/1/2017

4. Fitness

  • I will go to bed every night by 10:30 pm
  • I will wake up at 4:45 am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to work out

5. Finances

  • I will revisit and plan a new monthly and annual family budget by 1/31/2017
  • I will establish and follow a monthly cash budget for my family

Garret Barbush, Executive Director

How to be a Successful Protege – Part 3 – Be Humble & Vulnerable

When I read through the New Testament I always gain a new appreciation for the apostle Paul. He’s one of my favorite men in the Bible to study. While I’m fascinated with Paul for several reasons, I’m most encouraged by his transparency, honesty, and openness. He is the complete package of humility and vulnerability.

He proves this in Romans 7:21-25 where he writes,

“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”

Paul is sharing the struggles in his life with sin. Put yourself in the shoes of the original people reading this letter. Paul is the man these people are looking up to as their spiritual leader, and yet he is opening himself up to these people by saying, “Listen, I’m human. I’ve got struggles. I admit to you that I am a sinful man.” Paul even admits his sin is overwhelming to him. Talk about GUTS! I love this about Paul!

As men, we must be willing to have courage like Paul.

A few years ago, a Strong27™ protege experienced success because of his willingness to mimic Paul’s humility and vulnerability.

“I hold nothing back from my mentor. I’m open, honest, and transparent about everything in my life—my struggles, my concerns, my worries, my goals, my dreams…everything.”

Humility and vulnerability are more than talking about “stuff.” They are more than admitting “stuff.” True humility and vulnerability shine through in a man’s life when he is both willing to accept things that are hard to accept and willing to DEAL with these things. Humility and vulnerability lead to taking off the mask to reveal who you really are. It’s about getting to the core of your heart and moving past the surface.

If we are men trying to grow toward a Godly standard of leadership and strength, then we must be willing to take off our masks. Living out humility and vulnerability allows God to break down the walls in front of us. Our mentors cannot be effective in speaking into our lives without it. They can’t encourage, support, or challenge us until we are willing invite them into our messiness.

Take off your mask, men.  The apostle Paul did.  Will you?

Garret Barbush, Executive Director

How to be a Successful Protege – Part 2 – Be Consistent

One of the greatest opportunities I was able to experience was playing competitive golf in college. The experience is something I’ll treasure forever.

The biggest blessing I pulled away from being part of Malone University’s golf program was the friendships. I come from an extremely close family, and I always tell people that my teammates were the closest thing I had to family. One of those teammates—Scotty Jones—is a friend that I’ll be forever grateful for. If I had to summarize Scotty’s golf game in one word, it would be CONSISTENCY.

Scotty’s biggest accomplishment was that he never missed a single tournament. While our team typically had an average of 12-14 members, only 5 men made the line-up. Our fall and spring seasons were constantly spent playing in qualifiers to see who would be traveling on the weekends. The team would rarely ever be the same from weekend to weekend. There were always one, two, or three new guys rotating in, which meant someone was losing their spot. However, Scotty never lost his spot…in four years!!  His golf game was the definition of CONSISTENCY, and it’s what caused him to have so much success.

In Part 1 of “How to be a Successful Protege – Have a Plan,” I wrote about the protégé who took initiative with creating an agenda for each meeting with his mentor. This same protégé experienced a huge amount of success because of CONSISTENCY.

“Not only do I create an agenda, but my mentor and I know when and where we’re meeting for the rest of the year.  We meet at the same place, on the same day, and at the same time.  There’s no guessing.  We just know.”  

I sat on the other end of the phone in amazement. The protégé went on to explain how he and his mentor met at his office every other Friday morning at 5 AM.  

“We both have families and full-time jobs, but we’re not busy at 5 AM.  It’s a time and place that works for both of us, and it’s on the calendar for the rest of the year.”

Creating an agenda helped this protégé understand what he wanted, and it put a plan in place for him to accomplish his objectives. However, having CONSISTENCY proved what price he was willing to pay to get to where he wanted to be. This man and his mentor rolled out of bed at 4:00 AM with a purpose. They both had 5:00 AM penciled in on their calendars every other Friday. There was agenda with a purpose and plan for each of those meetings. Men, this is the definition of CONSISTENCY.

Whether we are on the golf course or are part of a mentorship—we need to be striving for CONSISTENCY in our lives.

My challenge to each of you is to evaluate your own relationship with your mentor or protégé. Is the characteristic of CONSISTENCY evident in your journey together?

Garret Barbush, Executive Director

How to be a Successful Protege – Part 1 – Have a Plan

Proverbs 16:3 – “Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.”

A few years ago, I received a phone call from a pastor in Michigan. He kindly introduced himself, informed me of his church’s interest in Strong27™, and asked a lot of questions. The conversation sparked excitement inside of me when I learned his father-in-law was a protégé at Victory Church (Lancaster, PA).

“I don’t know what happened to my father-in-law, but he’s a changed man. The man I once knew is gone. What the heck is going on down there?”

I assured him neither Men of Iron or Strong27™ were the sole reasons for this radical change. God gets all the glory for using a mentor to change this man’s life. Was this protégé in a great church? Absolutely! Was he involved with and committed to Men of Iron & Strong27™? Absolutely! However, the church and the ministry are just the platforms. God used those platforms to portray this protégé’s transformation to the rest of the world.

I hung up the phone and thought to myself, “Why did this protégé have such an incredible breakthrough?” I was curious to know more about this protégé’s journey. I believe God honors individuals who take initiative in their lives. That’s what I wanted to know—was this protégé taking initiative, or were all of these blessings just “happening?” I wanted to hear from him personally, so I decided to look him up and give him a ring.

The protégé shared with me several key aspects of his journey. I believe the cause of his success lies in the things he is initiating in his journey.

“The first thing I do is create an agenda and send it to my mentor a few days before our scheduled meeting.”

Strong27™ is unique because it was designed to be a protege-driven ministry. The protégé is expected to lead the charge. He must be willing and committed to growth. This is why we stress the importance of protégés creating agendas for each scheduled meeting.

I love what Howard Hendricks states in his book As Iron Sharpens Iron.  

“If you are trying to get somewhere, you’ve got to know where you are going and how you are going to get there. If you are trying to grow, or to help someone else grow, you have got to know what the learning objective is, and how you are going to accomplish it. That’s what an agenda is. A statement of purpose, and a plan for achieving it.”

The concept is very simple, men. God allowed this protégé to make huge strides because he took initiative with creating an agenda every other week.

If you are a protégé, I encourage you to follow the lead of this protégé. Tell your mentor what you want. Tell him what your hopes are. Tell him about your fears, uncertainties, and doubts. Tell him what he can do for you. Approach him with questions. Supply him with consistent updates.

It takes intentionality, men. Have courage. Be bold. Rise up to a Godly standard of leadership and strength.

Sample Agenda

Below is a sample agenda I received from my Strong27™ protege a few weeks ago.  He created this agenda on his own and texted it to me.  He took ownership of his growth and led the meeting in conversation.  

Meeting 1 Agenda

  • Time & Location – 7:30 pm @ Your House
  • Review & Discuss the Iron Covenant (20 Minutes)
  • Review & Discuss the Personal Survey (30 Minutes)
  • Biblical Standards of Manhood Assessment (15 Minutes)
  • Establish areas of weakness – set out a plan for building my foundation (15 Minutes)
  • Prayer, Schedule Future Meetings (10 Minutes)
  • Total Meeting Time – 90 Minutes

Garret Barbush, Executive Director

Failing? You Are Adequate!

It’s been five years since transitioning from corporate America into full-time ministry and a non-profit lifestyle. The last five years have been interesting, to say the least. There have been moments where I felt like a conqueror standing on top of a mountain, and there have been moments where I felt like I was in a valley, almost ashamed to show my face. I have experienced success, but I have also experienced failure. Some of the most dangerous and lonely times have come in my seasons of failing.

I remember sitting in my office staring at my goal sheet for Men of Iron in December 2012. It was the end of the year, and I had not accomplished the goals I had set for our organization. It wasn’t just one goal I didn’t accomplish – it was several – financial goals, growth goals, etc. I sat there dumbfounded. I had always gone above and beyond my goals in my previous career. I sat at the top of our team in my previous career. Now, I found myself sitting at the top of an organization trying to come to grips with how I had failed so miserably. I began to isolate myself. I remember thinking, “God, why did you send me here? Is this really what you want me to experience?” I started to believe the lie that I was inadequate to lead Men of Iron and began questioning whether working with churches and men was what I really wanted to do with my life. Fortunately, my wife, family and friends encouraged me to quit feeling sorry myself and to quit relying solely on myself to build Men of Iron. I was reminded that Men of Iron wasn’t my organization or ministry. Men of Iron was a vision from God, and He would make it what He wanted it to be.

Failure is inevitable. Regardless of the type of journey, failure will rear its head and gnash its teeth. Unfortunately, many of us allow our failures to define us. Allowing failure to define our manhood results in isolating ourselves and feeling inadequate. When we isolate and feel inadequate, then more failure resumes. It’s a crazy, dangerous cycle. We’re not the only ones who suffer. Our families, communities and churches all suffer when we allow failure and feelings of inadequacy to define us.

Men – you are adequate to lead effectively! The Bible highlights a truth concerning your ability to lead others. The Holy Spirit will help you when you feel inadequate.

Jesus encourages the people in Luke 12:11-12 when He says, “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

When failure seems to be rearing its head and gnashing its teeth, do not worry about how you, alone, will defend yourself. Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will teach us at that time what we should do and say. Our families, churches, communities, businesses, careers, money, gifts and talents – they aren’t ours. God has blessed us with all of it. It’s His, and He will teach us how to lead each of them. Stay positive, keep your head up and lead with excellence!

Garret Barbush, Executive Director

Lead With Excellence

“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.” Proverbs 22:29

I have experienced the difference in influence between good and great leaders. From my time in the corporate world to my last 5 years in full-time ministry, I’ve been fortunate enough to work alongside passionate visionaries. These men are often organized and effective in communicating how to move a plan forward. It’s inspiring to be around people who know how to lead with excellence. I wouldn’t hesitate to go to battle with a leader who takes initiative and leads courageously.

On the other hand, I’ve also experienced working alongside people who are afraid to make a decision. They lack the courage to take initiative, and their thoughts are unorganized. They are full of excuses as to why the plan isn’t being executed. Their communication style is sometimes bland and boring. There’s no confidence, and as a result, I have often scrambled to find my way out of the commitment.

One of our core values at Men of Iron is ‘Leading With Excellence.’  It was inspired by one of Craig Groeschel’s values for LifeChurch.tv. We state, “We will lead with passion and professionalism. Excellence honors God and inspires people.”

Our world is in desperate need of honorable men who will step up to the plate to lead with excellence.

Referring to Proverbs 22:29, are you leading in a way that honors God and inspires people around you? Are you leading in a way that reflects Jesus Christ? Are you leading in such a way that people view you as a man skilled in his work? It doesn’t matter how old you are, if you’re married or single or how much money you have. Proverbs 22:29 should be a challenge to all men to be skilled in the way you are leading!

Below, you will see the three areas in which we believe men are distinctly called need to lead with excellence. Take some time to evaluate your skill of leadership in each of the three areas:

  • Leadership In Your Family
  • Leadership In Your Church
  • Leadership In Your Community

Where and how do you need to step up with excellence as a leader?

Garret Barbush, Executive Director

Family Worship – Part lll

I recently received an email from a young man that thanked Men of Iron for our recent blog post Family Worship – It’s In You.  

He stated, It encouraged me, as God has been pressing that on my heart, even before you wrote it. I know for me, l responded to the initial conviction about being the priest of my home, but then I stopped and said, “Now what?” HOW do I lead? Do we do full-blown Bible study? What are realistic expectations with little kids? How long? When?”

His email inspired me to continue writing on this topic. Check out Family Worship – Part II where I share some practical advice on this topic. I discuss things like leading your family to church and leading your family in prayer.

I want to continue discussing some practical things you can apply to this area of your journey to spiritual leadership.

Family Worship – Tip #3 – Lead Your Family in Praise

This is one that probably intimidates most men. Let me start out by sharing that I have an awful voice. Additionally, I can’t play an instrument to save my life. God did not bless me with musical talent, but it has not stopped me from leading my family in praise.

Leading your family in praise may sound like an intimidating feat, especially if you can’t sing well or play an instrument. However, don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be. You may think you need to circle your family up, put worship music on and sing as a family. While this is certainly one way to do it, it’s not the only way.  

I chose to lead my family in praise this morning with a very simple act. I was upstairs getting ready for work. My wife was downstairs preparing breakfast. I could hear my 2-year old daughter fussing, so I went downstairs, grabbed her and brought her upstairs with me while I finished getting ready for work. I pulled up a few worship songs on the YouTube app on my iPhone and sang along while I finished getting ready. My daughter loved it. She watched the video, bobbed her head and danced.  

Here are some other simple ways to lead your family in praise:

  • Choose to play worship music in the car instead of other genres
  • Choose to play worship music in your home while the kids are getting ready for school or while you are preparing dinner
  • Sing worship songs to your kids before bedtime
  • Watch a few worship videos to play before family meetings

Family Worship – Tip #4 – Lead Your Family in Reading

Men of Iron’s founder, Bryan Zeamer, has been meeting with his three sons at 6:00 am each morning to read a chapter in Proverbs. He established this discipline as a requirement when they first started, however, it’s now optional for the boys. If they want to get up and be part of the reading, then they know where they need to be at 6:00 am. They follow up the reading with a discussion on that particular chapter. This is a phenomenal habit and discipline to instill into our families!

Being the father of a 2-year old, my approach is much different. My wife and I read to our daughter before her nap and before bedtime. We have done this ever since she was a newborn. We are now reading children’s books with Bible stories and use YouVersion’s The Bible App for Kids to our advantage.

Whatever phase of life you’re in, there is no excuse not to circle your family up with the intent to read and discuss God’s Word.

Family Worship – Tip #5 – Lead Your Family in Memorizing Scripture

I recently met with a man who leads a family meeting each month with his wife and kids. Their family meetings consist of 1-2 worship songs, a Bible story/lesson and a Bible verse to memorize each month. This family’s meetings start out with each of his children reciting the verse they were assigned to memorize. He and his wife use that particular scripture to set a theme each month.

For example, the family’s memory verse last month was 2 Corinthians 9:7 – “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” In order to set this as the theme for the month, he and his wife decided to give each child an allowance and focused their teaching on generosity, tithing, giving to those in need, etc. Each child was challenged to give 10% of their allowance to the church. Additionally, they were challenged to give to someone in need and to be generous with their time, talent and treasure. All of this is happening because of challenging his family to memorize scripture!

Family Worship – Summary

Let’s not rely too heavily on the church to provide a worship experience for our families. Let’s not allow the last bit of worship we do for the week to start and end on Sunday mornings.  

Donald S. Whitney says it perfectly at the end of his introduction in Family Worship

“Having your family in a Christ-exalting, gospel-centered, Bible-teaching local church is crucial to Christian parenting. But it is not enough for conveying to your family all you want to teach them about God and your beliefs. Moreover, it is unlikely that exposure  to the church once or twice a week will impress your children enough with the greatness and glory of God that they will want to pursue him once they leave your home.

This is why family worship is so important. But even more importantly, God deserves to be worshiped daily in our homes by our families.”

Men – let’s model worship and prayer for our families. Let’s lead and guide them in a spiritual journey. Our children are watching. They will imitate our every move. They will follow us into the unknown. They desperately desire your leadership and strength. It’s in you. Find it. Accept it. Embrace it.

Read – Family Worship by Donald S. Whitney

Family Worship – It’s In You

Family Worship – Part II

Garret Barbush, Executive Director