I have been discouraged to see many young men losing vision for their lives. I have observed this both on campuses and churches at which I speak. It seems that many men are caught in perpetual adolescence. They don’t want to move into the “major leagues”. Some of these men see themselves as 16-yr old boys, and consequently everyone treats them that way.

But do you know what I believe about these men? I believe these men can be powerful agents of change for our generation! I believe they are the untapped potential of our global church! I know that these men have the capacity to become provocative thought leaders, strikingly entrepreneurial, and deeply sacrificial when their talents and passions are activated. But now, many feel lost, disoriented, and searching for something.

"Growing Up" Photo Courtesy of Betina Daniel (c)

“Growing Up” Photo Courtesy of Betina Daniel (c)

I typically use 7 steps to help men become world changers. (FYI — I believe that these steps can be duplicated and nuanced to reignite ANY world changer). Here are the 7 simple steps:

Step 1: Build trust by meeting on their turf.

No, do not invite them to your super cool hipster battle of the bands church event. Genuine heart-felt conversations rarely happen at these venues. Instead, go to them. Go to the recreation center and shoot hoops even if you are terrible at basketball. Go to their house and get schooled in “Halo 4”. Meet them at their favorite coffee joint and buy them all a drink. Nothing says, “I care about your life” more than stepping onto their turf. It will be uncomfortable and risky, but it will build trust.

Step 2: Spend time together in community.

Become the person that goes to the next flag football tourney and stands awkwardly on the sidelines. Or consider asking the guys where they are going to eat this evening (yeah, tonight!) and then go with them – invite yourself. It will feel weird at first. Be prepared to be teased, but play along and enjoy it. Let the jokes fly and do not take offense. You are becoming a part of the group, yet you are still an outsider. This process takes time. Be intentional. Be humble.

Step 3: Expect to befriend their friends.

Find ways to do things with their friends. Big decisions in life are not made in private, but are made with friends. Often young men will bounce their ideas off one another before committing to a course of action. Some say that when you get a group of guys together, they share one brain! Haha. Therefore, it is vital to get to know the whole crew. Show that you are committed by meeting their friends!

Step 4: Share the vision of changing the world.

Take the conversation to the next level any chance that you get. There is an old saying, “Small minds talk about people, average minds talk about events, but great minds talk about ideas.” Find ways to help young men think about their lives in a bigger way.

Paint a picture of what Godly, spirit-filled men look like when they walk onto a basketball court, or into a restaurant, or on their college campus. Be honest and share often. If you feel like you are becoming a broken record, then you are only halfway there. Say it again. Tell them that they are “eagles — not chickens”. Breathe life into their hearts!

Step 5: Pray awkwardly about this vision.

Move the conversation into a spiritual arena by asking them if you can pray for them… right now! Pray right on the basketball court. Pray for them at the coffee shop. Pray anywhere with them! When you pray, make sure to bless and affirm them, ask God to open doors, and believe that they will become men of God. Pray bold, audacious vision into their life. This is going to be super-awkward, but try it. It may be the first time that these young men have heard positive words spoken over their lives.

Step 6: Engage scripture together.

Insert a mini-scripture study into your interaction with these men – tack it on to the front-end or back-end of any gathering. For example, ask 2-3 of the men to come 30 minutes early to play ball. Print out the scripture onto a regular piece of paper and pass it out. Read and focus on the text. Have them ask questions about the text. Spark their curiosity.

Feel free to say “I don’t know” to a question that is difficult. Feel free to move quickly. Take a moment to speak life and encouragement from the text. Make one simple application. Follow-up on that application during the week. That’s it! You are done. Now, go hoop with everyone else. Pray and believe that God’s Word will never come back void.

Step 7: Challenge them until you see a win.

Don’t give up! As you follow-up with these men, be bold to ask difficult questions. For example — Do you really believe in Jesus? When was the last time that you really stretched your faith? How come you don’t put into practice what we study out of the Bible? Yeah, that’s awkward. Go there – get in their business. Then repeat. Do steps 1-6 all over again! Keep calling them to make the next step of faith.

Through these intentional investments, I know that God will cause these men to move into the “major leagues” and leave childish longings behind. I know it will happen. I have seen it time and time again.

There are many young men that live in my city that can testify that this investment is worth it! Many of these young men did not believe in themselves or in the power of the Gospel, but after a few semesters of the above-mentioned steps, they became world changers, influencers, and practitioners of the Gospel message. They are doing some major damage for the Kingdom right now! Woohoo! I am proud of them. So please don’t give up!!

When a win happens, go celebrate! Talk about it to everyone! Keep riding the momentum until the whole crew is set on fire as world changers. Let’s go!

What are other ways that you have been able to reignite or mature the men around you? I’d love to hear what you want to add to this list. Please comment below.