“Guard This Man” (1 Kings 20:39) is the Men’s Ministries theme for 2019. The “man” we are to guard, for the sake of application, is one’s self. Philippians 4:7 states, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”1 This verse echoes that whatever is in the heart comes out. It is essential that we pour “life” into our hearts.
As an Army Chaplain, I have been trained to guard not only myself but to guard others. One must be able to have a “strong fellowship” with the people you are with in order to trust and guard one another. One might ask the question, “How do you do that?” There are 3 things one can do to build strong fellowship:
- By breaking bread with one another. In many countries, breaking bread is a sign of coming into a covenant with someone. When you come into a covenant, you become joined with one another– you would lay down your life for that person. This is echoed in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”1
- Go where people are. We have to step out of our comfort zones and go where people are. I remember as a chaplain, I couldn’t just sit in my office and expect people to come to me. I would be waiting and waiting if I did that. As I began to go to their work sites, I was able to talk and fellowship with them. I always brought something with me, for example, water or a snack. This always broke the ice, and they would start sharing with me almost anything about their life. This opened the door to ministry.
- Be available. So many times I have heard stories of people saying they can’t connect with their pastor. I always made it a priority to give out my cell phone number and email and told the soldiers they could call or email anytime. I meant what I said, and I emphasized that over and over. Several soldiers have called me late at night because of the problems they were facing. This created “strong fellowship.” If you are not available, people will feel like you do not care.
The emphasis of these 3 points is to fellowship. We should, as Christ followers, get outside the walls of the church and connect with the lost. The only way to do this is to “Just Do It.” I believe Nike had it right with that slogan. So, let’s get out there and make an impact for The Kingdom.
1Holy Bible, American Standard Version, Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995.
Matthew S. Brown serves as the Senior Pastor of River Church, an IPHC member church in New Horizons Ministries. Matthew serves as the 316 Quarter Master Italian Chaplain for the Army Reserves. He is the newest member of the General Men’s Ministries Board. Matthew, his wife Bonnie, and their six children make their home in Ada, Oklahoma.