So you might have seen that as well as this being ‘Movember,’ Saturday is International Men’s Day, a day that has been set up to recognise and explore the concerns and challenges that men face. This year the specific focus is; Stop Male Suicide.
I am sure there will be some who think that International Men’s Day is just trying to do the old ‘if they have a day we want one too’ idea. But the point is that having a day to recognise issues facing men and a day to recognise the issues facing women is fantastic. To make this even more exciting, this week the House of Commons have met to talk about the issues facing men and International Men’s Day.
For over a decade CVM have been speaking about the issues facing men and in particular men in church, and have been supporting the church to respond with a long-term evangelistic strategy. We have seen thousands of men respond, lives dramatically transformed and taken from the very point of despair to an abundant new life. Part of the work of CVM has been to emphasise the importance of enabling the right conditions for men to be real, honest, open and share with other men what life is really like. The embarrassment of a dodgy prostrate, a marriage failure or redundancy that brought in the black clouds of depression.
This stuff is real, and what we have seen is that as we enable men to build friendships, to share their faith and lives whilst doing stuff they actually want to do (like eating, sport or burning stuff, did I miss anything?) men will talk, share and deal with things.
We have been building relationships with mental health experts to help produce resources later in 2017. These will help and equip our network of 500 men’s groups to support and signpost men who need to connect with the mental health charities that are available, but just don’t have the fight to get to that point themselves. The challenge is that the UK Christian church can be an incredibly positive force at the centre of this stuff, supporting, sign posting, loving and caring for broken men, lonely men, and men that just need to be part of a band of brothers to get moving again and get back in the fight.
For me, this is part of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, this is rolling up our sleeves and being willing to not just invite a bloke to church one Sunday, but journey right through the chaos, and invest in a long term plan to see a culture shifting amount of men discover real life in Jesus!