We asked men on our university campus what some of the greatest struggles are for Christian men today. We discussed what true Christian manhood is and how men can rise to the potential God has given them.
It is not easy developing into a Godly man, but thankfully, God has given us His Spirit, scripture, and community to guide us in this journey.
When it comes to the call of Christian ministry and missions, some men face reservations and opposition. In this blog, we address common lies men believe and what the truth is.
What are common lies Christian men believe about ministry and missions? The biggest lie Christian men believe about ministry and missions is that they will not be able to financially provide for themselves and their families. They may also worry about their reputation or the implications of changing their career. Thankfully, countless Christian men have gone before, and their testimonies can offer support and inspiration.
Table of Contents
- Lies Christian Men Believe (& the Truth)
- Qualities and Characteristics of Christian Men
- Struggles of Christian Men and How to Overcome Them
- Why the World Needs More Strong Christian Men
- How to Respond to God’s Purpose for Your Life as a Man
- Advice from Our Bethany Global University (BGU) Staff, Students, and Alumni
Lies Christian Men Believe
Lies hinder us from living confidently as God created us to. They hinder us from being the leaders God has called us to be.
Yet, for every lie, God has truth He speaks over us. There is nothing too big for God to work in.
Listed below are common lies Christian men believe, and the truth they can rely on.
1. I Can Either Be a Provider, or I can do Ministry/Missions
In our culture, there is often a strong pressure on men to provide financially for their family. This concern is legitimate, and we understand the difficulties.
Christian men often refer to the Bible verse in 1 Timothy 5:8. This states, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1)
While it is true that men are called by God to provide for their families, there is often a misunderstanding about how they can do this.
There are numerous ways men can earn an honest income for their families while doing the work of ministry or missions.
Truth: There are multiple ways to provide while doing ministry
- Organizations and churches hire Christian workers in ministry positions and as missionaries. They pay their employees with a traditional pay check as any other job would. Employees work a set number of hours, report to a supervisor, and pay taxes.
- Individuals fundraise their salaries to pursue full-time ministry and missions. The difference is that supporters give to them directly, rather than through a third party like a church or nonprofit. Most commonly, these workers are sent through a sending organization that develops a vision and holds them accountable.
- Many missionaries begin businesses overseas to generate income. This model is called “Business as Missions.” Business owners share the love of Jesus with their employees and the local community while providing for themselves financially.
2. I Must Have a Dramatic “Call” to Ministry or Missions
Many people believe they need a dramatic spiritual encounter before they pursue ministry and missions. Whether they compare their lives to biblical examples or other Christians’ experiences, there is often the misconception they must be called through supernatural means.
The truth is, this is not the only way God speaks to us. God can speak to us in many ways—through small and daily moments, prayer, and scripture.
Truth: We all have a purpose as Christians
Many people in Christian ministry careers didn’t start with a vision, dream, or prophetic word. Rather, they were moved by God’s work in their lives.
As Christians, each one of us has a purpose. We are all called to glorify God, serve Him, love others, and share the Good News with those around us.
The scriptures show us how to live the Christian life through faith and action. This is not something that few people are called to, but all believers share.
1 Peter 3:15 states, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (2)
3. I’m Not Qualified or Worthy
We all face feelings of inadequacy from time to time. Whether we focus too much on past mistakes or fear the future, it’s easy to lose sight of God’s work in our lives.
It’s easy to fall victim to the lie that we will never be good enough. Or that our sin is too big for God. We need to stop focusing on what disqualifies us and instead focus on who qualifies us.
Psalm 103:12 reminds us, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (3)
Truth: God is the one who qualifies us and makes us worthy
Only God can make us worthy. His forgiveness breathes life over us. God speaks to us and shows us our identities as His sons. He empowers us with freedom over sin and shame.
Philippians 2:13 states, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”(4)
We can trust God’s spirit to lead us in all things. He will prepare and qualify us for the work He has called us to.
He may do this by calling you to Christian higher education, like at Bethany Global University (BGU).
Or through on-the-job training, like we offer through our work-study program.
You can move forward in confidence, knowing that God has been, and will continue preparing you.
4. Pastoral Ministry is the Only Position for Men
Even churches can hold men back from stepping into full-time ministry or missions. Some, advise men to be providers in the conventional sense.
It might feel that they only recognize pastoring as a legitimate ministry career.
So, should men renounce the world of cross-cultural ministry and missions to be a pastor? Should they pursue this more socially acceptable position?
Pastoral positions may be common ministry positions for men, but they are not the only ones. Biblically, men served as apostles, teachers, elders, overseers, deacons, and pastors.
They worked administratively, within their communities, and through evangelism and discipleship.
Truth: Men are needed globally, and in many roles, to support the work of the church and spread of the Gospel
Men are called to serve God in a variety of roles within the body of Christ. Pastors are highly regarded, and respected. But in God’s eyes, all roles are equally as important.
1 Corinthians 3:8-9 explains, “The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (5)
The goal of ministry and missions is to bring the Gospel to places that don’t have it. Then, to start churches where new believers can worship and follow God.
A Christian man can take part in this by being a pastor overseas. He can be a church leader, church planter, or evangelist. He can strategize how to reach and uplift local communities through intercultural ministry, business, education, or medical missions.
There are limitless ways men can support global ministry, disciple believers, and bring glory to God.
5. Ministry Isn’t Masculine
You may be passionate about serving God but hesitant to dive into ministry and missions because these spheres are often more prominent for women.
Do you define ministry by programs? Or do you see ministry as the overarching scope of serving God and advancing His Kingdom?
Men and women are needed in the mission field and global ministry. Each person’s role varies based on personality, experience, and passion. Some men and women are passionate about children’s ministry, vacation Bible school, and teaching English.
Other individuals prefer using their adventurous spirit to plant churches, pioneer businesses, and work manually in farms or construction.
Based on your skillsets, you may be more apt to work in one or the other. Ministry is not limited to one method but is expressed in a variety of ways.
Truth: We mirror Jesus’ Ministry, the Epitome of the Masculine Man
Ministry is made for men and women. When we read the Bible, this is clear to see.
We follow Jesus’ example of ministry. He is the definition of the masculine man. Jesus met people where they were. He served in the areas they needed. Jesus acted in compassion, humility, servanthood, leadership, and justice.
In John 5:30, Jesus says, “I seek not my own will but the will of Him who sent me.” (6) We too are called to seek the will of God, who sends us, not to fulfill our desires.
At times God will ask us to serve in places we are uncomfortable with. This may be for a brief time to fill a need. Or it may be to develop the character we need for a long-term position.
The ultimate goal of ministry is glorifying God and doing whatever it is He calls you to.
6. I Can’t Have a Family if I serve in Ministry or Missions
It can be fearful to pursue ministry and missions if you have the desire for a wife and family. It can be even harder if you already have a family.
You may wonder, how can I balance it all?
It may not be easy, but it is possible to have a healthy family and marriage while working in ministry.
You are not in this alone.
Truth: In the Bible, men of God served their families while taking part in Jesus’ ministry and sharing the Gospel
Throughout scripture we see men of God balance caring for their families and upholding and sharing the truth about God.
Peter, Jesus’ disciple, had a family. He followed Jesus with faith and boldness while providing for them and writing parts of the New Testament.
1 Corinthians 9:5 states, “Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas [that is Peter]?” (7)
Many of the team members at Bethany Global University (BGU), are also husbands and fathers. They’ve served as long-term missionaries, professors, and staff on campus, serving God faithfully in every capacity He’s called them to.
They do this with the support of their community, mentors, and churches. They are empowered to successfully balance the work of ministry while caring for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of their family.
7. I Have too Much to Lose
What are you most afraid of losing?
Your money? Status? Your idea of what the future should look like?
Jesus’ earliest followers faced these same questions.
In Matthew 19:16 Jesus said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.” (8)
Truth: What we lose in this life, we gain in eternity
In Matthew 13:44, Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” (9)
This verse says the man sold all he had with joy. How could he have such joy when he was losing all he owned? He had joy because he knew what he was gaining was much more valuable.
Following God’s call on your life is similar. You may be hesitant and nervous to take the initial step of faith, but when you do, you will find yourself on the other side, enjoying the fruits of your faith.
There is always a risk where there is a reward. In this case, we know the reward outweighs the risk.
8. It’s too Late for Me to Change Careers
Perhaps you have a career in mind you want to pursue after high school, or you already have an established job.
You can utilize the skills you currently have and bring them to cross-cultural settings around the globe.
Develop your aptitude for ministry practically and in a hands-on way by attending a Christian University like Bethany Global University (BGU). Then, take what you know to the field to make a difference.
At BGU, we offer interculturally focused ministry degrees, paired with the specialization of your choice.
We also offer a variety of M.A. programs you can read about here.
Truth: Work is Worship. You can serve God through your day-to-day career
Your work is your worship. Every part of your life as a Christian is influenced and inspired by God.
I Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (10)
You don’t have to change careers to serve God or live with a missional mindset. You can use your current occupation to display God’s love and impact those around you.
You can take your career or trade and translate it into any setting. Are you an accountant? A builder? A road commissioner?
Do your job overseas and be a Christian influence in whatever culture or location you are in.
9. A Man Shouldn’t Rely on Financial Support
The idea of asking people for money to help pay your salary is daunting. However, the concept isn’t new. Pastors around the world live off fundraised salaries.
All paid positions within a church are funded by generous supporters. The only difference between raising your own support is the format.
Many missionaries and cross-cultural Christian workers fundraise in and outside the church. This is done through a traditional tithe, or by asking individuals and churches to donate.
If we feel comfortable supporting Christian workers within the church, why do we hesitate to support those who are furthering God’s mission where there are no churches?
Truth: A Christian worker is worthy of their wages
Christians in ministry are worthy of fair wages whether they work in or outside a church building.
In the New Testament, we see believers doing both. Some Christians remained where they were and gathered as a church, while others were sent to other areas to preach the Gospel. On many accounts, these apostolic individuals were supported financially by the churches and other believers to travel.
Even Jesus was financially supported by men and women.
1 Timothy 5:18 says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” (11)
It is biblical to support and care for believers who are doing this important ministry work. This support may cover a full salary or supplement the needs of Christian workers from time to time.
We see the apostle Paul earn money for ministry through his businesses and receiving support. Both forms are valid and necessary, depending on the circumstances.
Qualities and Characteristics of Christian Men
A good Christian man stands out from other men in society. He is an example of Jesus in his family, community, nation, and world.
Christian men are called to be set apart through their love, service, humility, leadership, and care.
You may be wondering, what exactly is a good Christian man?
The men at our private Christian university in Bloomington, Minnesota, explained it like this.
Key characteristics and responsibilities of Christian men are:
- Humility and a Willingness to Grow
- Sacrificial Love and Service
- Love for their Family
- Being Proactive, Not Complacent
- Living a Dependable and Consistent Life
- Being Invested in, and Investing in Others
- Acting as a Pillar in their Community
Struggles of Christian Men and How to Overcome Them
On the topic of Christian manhood, there is one final pressing issue: the common struggles men face. Our students at BGU shared with vulnerability what is difficult for them as men in this generation.
They shared that their common struggles are:
- Transparency and Vulnerability
- Handling Cultural and Familial Pressure
- Insecurity and Pride
- Fear of Failure or Rejection
- Fear of Not Being Good Enough
- Lack of Christian Community and Male Friendships
- Lack of Outlets for Creative Masculine Expression
- Not Feeling Embraced or Wanted by Society
- Not Stepping into their Role
When asked to give solutions for these struggles, they responded with the following:
- Lean into God as Your Father to Heal You of Past Hurts
- Seek Inner Healing through Men’s Ministry, and Biblical or Professional Counseling
- Celebrate Your Success and the Men Around You
- Never Underestimate the Power of Fatherhood – if you didn’t have a father figure, you are still capable of being one.
- Express Yourself through Sports, Physical Activity, and Being Outdoors
- Find Hobbies that Are Productive and Creative
- Join a Men’s Group at Your University or Church
- Continue Pressing into Prayer and Reading Your Bible
Why the World Needs More Strong Christian Men
Men, this is a call to you. You are needed on the mission field, in ministry, and society. The Lord has an established plan for you to go forth and be leaders.
Will you step up to the challenge and trust that God will provide and guide you every step of the way?
The world needs more strong Christian men who bring justice, care for their families and communities, and love others.
Isaiah 1:17 declares, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (12)
How to Respond to God’s Purpose for Your Life as a Man
Are you looking for ways you can grow in your manhood? In service to God? And in the leadership of others?
At Bethany Global University (BGU) we offer multiple Christian ministry degrees in intercultural studies. Our affordable Christian university is the ideal place for men to develop into Godly leaders and examples.
We pair classroom learning with experiential learning. At BGU, you put your faith into action.
Your first two years on campus are spent taking full-time classes, working in our work-study program, and receiving mentorship from qualified and passionate staff.
During your junior, and part of your senior year, you live abroad through our Global Internship program, putting your studies into practice.
Learn more about our unique and multifaceted degree options here.
Advice from Our Staff, Students, and Alumni
Hear testimonies from men of God who pursued this impactful path of serving the Lord.
Logan’s Journey to a Career in Intercultural Ministry
“Before God called me to a Christian career in Intercultural Ministry, it seemed like a waste of time. It didn’t seem like it was my calling. I am a very logical person, and I needed a concrete reason to take this step.
When I looked through the Bible, I realized pursuing ministry and missions is the logical way to go.
In the scriptures, we constantly see a call to outreach. The disciples went out two by two. Jesus tells us, ‘As the Father sent me, I am sending you.’ God began to show me His heart for ministry and missions, and His heart for the world.
As a man, you will face a lot of opposition. Take a step of faith and remember that in the end, the goal is that God might be glorified.”
Advice from Logan, BGU Alumni.
How Thomas Learned to Trust God with His Finances
“One of the lies that come with being a man in ministry is that you won’t be able to fully support your family. You see other people do it so well in corporate jobs that you may worry you’ve chosen the wrong career.
But you have to remind yourself why you’re doing this. The Lord will take care of your worries and daily needs. You just have to passionately lean into that.
In the end, it’s not about the amount of money we earn. It’s about giving glory to God through our lives.”
Advice from Thomas, BGU Alumni.
Steve Eliason on How God Calls Us to a Life of Faith
“Fear and pride are two things holding men back from embracing a lifestyle of faith. The spirit of ‘independence’ that you see today is not healthy or Biblical. If you are serious about your calling, you must be committed to a lifestyle of faith.
Are you willing to trust God with all your finances, or put your hopes in the Western idea of financial security?
Advice from Steve Eliason, BGU Faculty.
How God Provided for BGU Missionaries on the Field
“God’s command to go into the world and proclaim the Gospel provides His enabling.
The scriptures tell us that God Himself will supply all our needs according to His rich resources in Christ. God can decide how He wants to supply those needs.
He can choose to provide through prayer and teams of financial support. He worked like this for my family and I during the 16 years we ministered in Brazil.
The Lord showed us that this was what He wanted us to do. He chose who would support us.
Now, for the last 24 years, God has used supporters to provide for all our teaching and ministry trips overseas. For our daily income needs, He has supplied through both supporters and income from our work here at Bethany Global University.
God will always provide, but He will also determine how.”
Advice from Ed Dudek, Retired BGU Professor and Missionary.