Eventually I will begin writing topic based blog posts again…these highlight posts however, have not only driven traffic to The Present Day Man website but it’s also cultivated a lot of hope.
There are tremendous people in this world and I’m quickly realizing how incredibly blessed I am to know most of the people I know.
Which leads to my next #presentman Highlight, Pastor Jim Chapman. Big Chap, as I adoringly know him, was an evangelist (Christianese word for traveling speaker). When I traveled for Olivet Nazarene University I met Big Chap at the first of many youth camps we would be teamed at together.
This is a man I immediately respected and a man whose obedience to Jesus allowed me to soak up any knowledge I could from him.
This is a man who gave everything he had to the call Jesus put on his life until Jesus moved him in a new direction.
This is a man, whether he knew it or not, that helped solidify biblical principles of manhood in my own life.
This man is now the lead pastor New Life Church – O’Fallon and has already poured into those people just like he poured into students for many years.
The first thing I wanted Big Chap to fill you in on was an overview of his evangelism ministry…
“In my fifth year of full time youth ministry God called me to be a youth evangelist. I had always had a passion for student ministries but God had started something new in me that was going to have a larger impact.
I wanted to offer a ministry that was not just another talking head, but one that would invest in students off the stage as well as on the stage. I have a strong belief that more ministry takes place off the stage than on it.
God used and blessed that ministry beyond my wildest dreams. I was never a big time conference speaker. Most of my events took place at small churches with small youth groups who needed someone to come and invest in them. That was my calling and I stuck to it the best that I could. I was privileged to meet some amazing students and adults in my thirteen years of evangelism.”
I led worship at numerous camps with Big Chap and I was immediately drawn to not only his speaking ability, but I was drawn to his ability to interact with students and camp staff when services weren’t in session. The heartbeat of the musicians I traveled with was, investment in students lives outside of the service would always be more important than the music itself.
It was incredibly refreshing to meet a speaker with the same mindset…
The next question I asked him was, “why did you end your evangelism ministry on the road to accept a lead pastor position?”
“Years ago I received some great advice. I asked a Pastor friend of mine “How will I know when I am done with my traveling ministry?” His response was priceless. He told me that every evangelist has a message that God wants them to deliver. When you have said what God has called you to share..you’re done. I had a pretty consistent message for thirteen years. I shared it and I felt like I was done.
As I stated before when I started my speaking ministry I wanted to connect off the stage as well as on the stage. It seemed like this approach was lacking in evangelism. I wanted to fill a void. In recent years I started seeing some voids in local church ministry.
My heart became drawn to those needs. Once again God began a passion in me to do something to fill those needs. To bring a message if you will. God was opening doors for me to not only share a message in the local church but He was calling me to shape and model authenticity and simplicity in the local church.”
As previously mentioned, Big Chap taught me a lot about manhood, probably without ever realizing it. I naturally wanted to ask him what manhood meant to him?
“My father died when I was twelve years old. He was basically an invalid from the time I was five until he died. So I didn’t really have the typical father figure in my life. Manhood was not really modeled by my father. However it was modeled by other male role models in my life. Most of which I found in my church family while I was growing up.
When I think of manhood I am always drawn back to King David in the bible. David was a confident man and at times very humble. His confidence could be misplaced but he learned from his mistakes and always came back to the ultimate authority in his life, God.
In our culture it’s fashionable to be known by our sexuality, politics, sports teams and the list goes on and on. Labels. In other words “This is what I do, so this is who I am.”
That is counter-culture for those who are Christ followers. Christ followers find significance in who we are in Christ and not by what we do. When I think of manhood I think of who I am in Christ. For me it is never about what I do as much as it is about being. Being who God created me to be. A man.
Manhood is about pursuing God with all that I have in me. It is the ultimate quest for all of mankind. I want all God has for me and I want to surrender all that I have to Him. I want Him to constantly shape me and mold me into who I have been called to be, a man of God. My identity as a man is found in a relationship with His son Jesus.”
This is why in the local church we have such an incredible opportunity to be role models for children who don’t have that in their lives. As I’ve mentioned numerous times before, I had a terrific role model in my father growing up.
However, numerous male figures in my life chose to invest and pour into my life that set me on a path I will forever be grateful for.
One of my biggest frustrations is the church in recent years has emasculated Jesus. By doing so, we’ve also emasculated men in the process. Men I speak to on a regular basis feel like church is all about emotion and it’s a place for their wives or girlfriends or children to go.
The bible is filled with fighting, trials, and intense temptations that read more like an action film than a Hallmark movie.
So when I find pastors who are pouring into men and pushing a biblical manhood narrative I listen. I asked Big Chap how he is teaching men about manhood from the biblical perspective.
“Spiritual leadership is lacking for men in the church. Most churches have very active women’s ministries such as retreats, conferences, and bible studies. All geared for women. Women also make up most of the volunteers in the local church. By their actions alone women seem to be more engaged in spiritual matters than men.
As I pastor I see this vacuum first hand in my own church. One of the first things I have initiated as the pastor was something called “Coffee with Jesus”. CWJ is a time to disciple and be discipled in a very simplistic format. I wanted men to get with men and simply share what Jesus is saying and doing in their lives. No bible study or accountability questions. Simply talk about spiritual things going on in their lives. I want them to be more engaged in spiritual matters.”
Simplistic knowledge is where it all begins. Simply engaging men in discussion without the pressure of “saving them.” Yes, I said it. It is not our job to save these men and women.
Our sole purpose on this earth is to reflect Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to do His job (which He does much better than we do).
So to you Rev. Jim Chapman, a person who embodies what it is to be a man, thank you. I thank you for the mission you’ve chosen to obey. I thank you for being an example to me. I thank you for shaping me more throughout the years than I’ve verbally acknowledged and that you have realized.
I truly do love you. I hope you experience Jesus fully in this new pastorate.
I understand that often times experiencing Jesus fully means experiencing intense trial, pain, and confusion. The beauty in that is Jesus always reveals himself. It’s beautiful how Jesus is present in the awful times and in the great times.
I’m always here for you friend. Thank you for allowing me to share a small part of your story.