By Bob Dennis
Brotherhood of St. Andrew, Organization or Ministry?
This is the question that needs answering now, are we an organization or a ministry? The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive! Why do I write this? I strongly believe that we have to decide for ourselves and for the future of the Brotherhood, by answering the question, are we part of a ministry to men, or an organization that could be classified as a men’s ministry?
A similarity with a stretch in imagery, so let’s answer this, do you want to be a warrior or a soldier? Both are necessary, however, a warrior has the connotation of being trained and equipped for battle and able to do most anything. No, Hollywood is not in mind here! You have often heard the term prayer warrior, and maybe called one, but never have been told you are a prayer soldier.
We are listed in the Church today as a men’s ministry, and we are an organization that was incorporated by an act of congress, as you know. On the other hand, The Daughters of the King is an Order in the Episcopal Church, and has never been referred to as an organization. For better or not, this is a fact. You may have heard this statement, “we are a ministry to men, by men and for men”? Resonates better than saying “we are an organization to men, etc. I want to be part of a ministry to men and I believe you do as well.
How can we want to proceed with our belief in a ministry to men? First, we have to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Second, we have to adhere to the Three Disciplines of Prayer, Study and Service. Most of us have! However, have we answered our calling for ministry work on behalf of the Brotherhood? Are we in discernment? Equipping ourselves for ministry? Have we answered the question “Why am I a member of the Brotherhood, and how can I make a difference in the lives of the men I reach out to?
Soul-searching is healthy, just as seeking spiritual guidance is a necessary part of a preparation for your ministry. Listening through meditation and prayer to discern God’s calling to you is also essential, and being mentored by a Godly man is paramount. If you don’t have a spiritual advisor, get one. It can be a member of the clergy, a Biblically centered man or woman, and someone you have trust in.
What makes the difference in a ministry to men compared to an organization that is called a men’s ministry? My viewpoint is that in a ministry to men, a man asked what can I do to lead a man into the saving grace of our Lord and Savior. In an organization that can be true as well, but too often organizational structure and Robert’s Rules of Order “muddy the water” and who is discipling men? Organizations have dues, memberships, and men who ask the question, what will “I get” for joining the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. Ministries have men who ask the question, what can “I do” for our ministry? Further, they ask, how can I transform the lives of the men who need our ministry, how can I assist men to become better fathers, husbands and to become Godly men? To contrast, at times organizations are too focused on structure, minutes, reports and lose sight of what God has called each one of us to do, as His purpose to enrich our lives.
I want to challenge every Brother Andrew who believes in the Brotherhood that it has changed his life for the better, to tell another man who is not familiar with our ministry, what the difference we have made in his life, and not what a man will get if he joins the Brotherhood and pays dues! Yes, this is a mission and a bold one! “God grants greater responsibility to those who have been faithful with small things.” Daniel 1:8-21. We are a ministry to men, changing the lives of each man we meet, one man at a time! “Be strong and courageous.” Joshua 1:9.