USA (MNN) – It took a crisis of faith for Lonnie Berger to really understand what helping men meant.
Berger always had a vision for evangelism, mentorship, and discipleship. He went the traditional route of training in Bible school, serving as a Gospel worker in Communist Romania and finally getting involved in his home church.
However, he soon noticed that the men he wanted to help at home were bored. His dream of mentoring men in his church crashed hard on the rocks of reality.
Lectures on theology weren’t cutting it. Men’s breakfasts and camping trips were fun but shallow. He knew the men in his church longed for something more authentic and practical. His friends desperately needed something to help them succeed in life.
Finally, Berger did the obvious thing. He was giving them what they needed, but he decided to ask them what they wanted. “One time I stopped the Bible study and said, ‘Men, tell me what’s going on in your life.’ ” It was like taking a drink from a fire hose. The needs came in a torrent. “They told me how their marriages were hurting. Their children weren’t doing well. Money was tight. Work was awful, and some admitted that they use pornography as a way of escape.”
The turning point
Stunned, Berger realized that nothing he prepared addressed any of the real-life issues with which the men admitted struggles. “I thought to myself, ‘I should leave the ministry OR write a Bible study that’s relevant for men.'”
In 2011, he chose to write that study. “Every Man A Warrior is a Bible study curriculum to help men succeed in life. For every ten men in the church, nine will have children that leave the church; eight will not be satisfied with their work. Seven have a relationship with pornography. Six can only pay the monthly minimums on their credit card, and five will get divorced. And these are the Christian men.” As if to underscore his point, believers in 32 countries (13 languages) now use the curriculum.
The answer to prayer
Berger pauses a moment to consider the rapid growth of the Every Man A Warrior ministry. He says while numbers never cease to astonish him, God reminds him that this is a project whose time has come about as a result of prayer. Millions of Christian women have been praying, ‘God, please help the men. Help them be better husbands, better fathers, and the spiritual leaders of the home’, and I’m answering those prayers.'”
The more Berger thought about the average man going about his day, the more he realized that he could offer a quick note of encouragement through radio to help set the tone for the day. In 2017, Berger became the Global Director of Trans World Radio Men’s Ministry to more effectively take Every Man A Warrior around the world. With TWR’s expertise, the 1-minute program Every Man A Warrior came into being. It is available on all podcast platforms as well as TWR360.
The process of community
Using the stories from the written curriculum, he offers some biblical perspective and encouragement in the 60-seconds for which he has a listener’s ears. It serves as a unique supplement and sometimes as an introduction to the more in-depth bible curriculum.
It is a disciple-making process, he says. By using relatable issues, the process becomes more about learning how to look at each other through a biblical lens. “Men everywhere, no matter what language they speak, struggle with these same issues. It was amazing to me that God, in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, gives us a blueprint for how to do effective men’s ministry and that means help them succeed in these practical areas of life, help them win the battles they fight every day.”
Click here for details on Every Man A Warrior.
(Headline photo courtesy Trans World Radio)