Go for the men and the women will follow...

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So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men (aner) of Athens...” - Acts 17:22a

Dad gave me a couple pithy exhortations my first year in the pastorate. They weren't original but they carried the weight of his authority and I've passed them on to other pastors. Here are four of them: "Don't use Pardeeville as a stepping stone." "A home-visiting pastor makes a church-going people." "Preach it down; then preach it back up, again." And, "Go for the men and the women will follow."

That last one was deleted from an article on men's ministry I did for Christianity Today's journal, Leadership, back in 1989. Shortly after buying the piece, Leadership's editor left for Focus on the Family. The new editor didn't like the article, so he cut more than half the text and ran it without sending it back to me for approval. Readers won't be surprised Dad's advice "go for the men" didn't make the cut.

Jesus calls twelve men as His Disciples and we're not supposed to notice? Poor Christianity Today. Poor readership. Poor leadership.

I think of Dad's advice all the time. Parachurch organizations and church planters each have their own marketing strategies. Here are a few...

I'm hopeful readers will add to these (TB):


Young Life: Go for the leaders and the nobodies will follow.

Child Evangelism Fellowship: Go for the children and their parents will follow.

F-V: Go for the children and the great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandchildren will follow.

Inter-Varsity: Go for the nerds and no one will follow (but nerds graduate, get rich, and support I-V staff).

Campus Crusade (Cru): Go for the beautiful and the homely will follow.

Mission to North America: Go for the rich so you can be rich, too.

OPC: Go for nobody and nobody will follow.

Acts 29: Go for the alpha males and you damn well better follow!

Redeemer Presbyterian Church: Go for the women and the men will follow.