#4 Decline of craftsmanship
In 2014 the National Audit office suggested that for every £1 spent of public money towards apprenticeships the economy gained £18. My guess would be that equipping, training and developing people with a skill/trade is a good way to secure them work.
When I worked in Brazil at a drug rehabilitation project, and other projects a lot of emphasis was placed on bible teaching and training but very little into developing skills and a craft that could sustain the men in the project after they left.
As you might expect when men left the project, with little skill development they soon found themselves returning to a default place where nothing had enabled them to change their situation.
Now, obviously Kurt Hanh was looking at this decline in craftsmanship in a particular era and with a focus on industry but I think we can apply a spiritual lens here too. If we consider this in a church context, it is so important for us to encourage and identify skills and ability in our younger men and invest and nurture this development. We can encourage and invest in bible training, discipleship courses, leadership programs and more. But I want to extend the term ‘craft’ here, I know it doesn’t fit perfectly but stay with me. As Christian men perhaps our ‘craft’ or our transferable quality and skill or ability or however we word it is the ability to wait on the Lord.
Look around you at the development of technology and the speed at which our society moves today. I remember needing to make sure that when I went out I took 20p to call home from the phone box. If we wanted to fast forward a track of music you had to wait for the tape to get to the bit you wanted and then you would go past it.
We live in a society of immediacy, ‘if you can’t have it now it’s probably not worth having.’ And this can so easily be taken into our churches and our relationship with God. Perhaps, the ‘craft’ we have as Christian men that is so desperately needed today is the ability to wait upon the Lord.
The problem is, for us to model this we need to live it. Are you a man who shuts himself in and waits on the Lord? Do you set time aside alone with God in the stillness and just wait on God? Not your agenda but His, not your timing but His. What a wonderful thing to be able to teach and show to the next generation of young men, rushing through life, but perhaps we need to get this learnt first.