Fifth Ward Church of Christ Resource Center
The FWCOC Resource Center is a way for members to use their gifts and talents to serve God and mankind. All resources and activities listed on the site are provided FREE of charge to residents of the greater Houston area. If you are wondering how we can offer these services free, the answer lies at the heart of what we understand as God’s directive for our lives. "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (1 Peter 4:10). The FWCOC Ministry In-Brief is our way of providing a profile of Ministries at Work.
The FWCOC Ministry In-Brief - Men's Ministry
Experiences as Memories for Instilled Thinking and Outreach, Part I: Men’s Ministry Workshop
What is a memory? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word “memory” as “the power or process of reproducing or recalling what has been learned and retained especially through associative mechanisms.” That’s a great definition if you are studying, wanting to memorize by rote, or apply knowledge of concepts and topics across disciplines, but what about memories that are created through positive or negative experiences? How do such experiences help us grow? These are good questions to consider, but what do they look like in reality?
One way to gain insight into how memories impact us is by using a positive experience for instilled thinking. On January 11, 2020, the Men’s Ministry held a session, facilitated by Brother William Hamilton, that focused on ways to encourage men to accept the challenges associated with “being a man.” Breakout session topics ranged from men in society to fatherhood and why men are important in the church and the community. It was very uplifting for brothers to see and understand others’ experiences, and there was great feedback from participants.
As a follow-up to the session, Brother Karl Spencer discussed a series of questions and key points with Brother Hamilton (and his son) as a way of providing relevance to the importance of men, including social statistics (and issues), overall responsibility, and parenting. A summary of this discussion is featured here, below.
What is the importance of having Godly men in the church and linked to the community?
As Christians, our responsibility is to be the light of the world. Others see us, see that we are different and have different schedules, and see the benefit of our actions, so our efforts have to be impactful. If we know our efforts are impactful, then, as we talk with our friends, we pray and hope that they can see that impact. As long as the example is set, they can see the light of the world. For our part, we need to be more open to hearing what others have to say, in order to help them reach their full potential. Most people don’t care about what you know until they know that you care. If we are not caring people, why would anyone want to know anything about our efforts?
One discussion point included statistics related to men and how they are generalized across societal boundaries. Various statistical models indicate that children raised in fatherless homes are more likely to have a range of problems (e.g., incarceration, suicide, and behavioral issues). These statistics tend to place families into categories based on data and research. However, it is important to be aware of what statistics actually are, and not to believe that a statistic is a rule that must apply to everyone, because there is always a way to make a positive impact, especially for Christians. Fathers (and mentors) can make positive changes to combat the stats if they truly understand the situation. It is about being aware that statistics can be changed if you understand what they measure. The key is to get good advice and stay aligned with God.
Christian men must constantly reject passivity, make sacrifices, and look to God for their great reward. Doing this can be a challenge, especially when society often declares that men aren’t important, but if men step up and accept the responsibility of being men, the church will be better and, ultimately, the community will be better. Especially in the Black community, it is very important for us to understand that these are the challenges we are dealing with, and the end will be decided by the effort that we put into it.
A twofold question: What would you tell youth about the “forks in the road,” and how did you develop your son to work in the church?
Regardless of what you decide to do, challenges and forks are coming on this journey. The best things you can do are to be prepared and to have an anchor – one that is bigger than yourself. The beautiful thing about being a Christian is that it is not predicated on one person or on individuals in a church building, but on the Bible and the Gospel of Christ. Regardless of any conflicts or decisions (outside or inside of the church), the Bible is always right.
Even if you don’t have a biological son, but rather a daughter or grandchild, you can use what you have and seek Godly advice to help you raise them and persevere. Christian men understand that being a parent (or a mentor) includes simple things like going to a sports game to see your kids (or your grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc.). Kids notice when their friends say, “Your parents come to your games, but mine don’t have time.” Kids will eventually realize how blessed they were while growing up.
One of the things you should do is lead by example. When a child sees his father, grandfather, or mentor doing various things, he can emulate them. It is easy for him to cut the grass if he first sees you cutting the grass. If he sees that you are passionate about working in the church (being involved in a ministry, service, events, etc.), he will develop an understanding of what it means to serve others. If he sees what serving the Lord and others is about, it rubs off and he will get something out of it. Meaningful experiences become memories that help young men growing up.
Some children have never been good at listening to their elders, but most have never failed to imitate them. So, if they see that their father is actively involved in church services, events and in good works, they are more likely to want to be involved themselves. That’s not to say that it will always happen, but involvement is key. If this is the lifestyle that you have chosen, be committed and be responsible. At some point, they will receive the epiphany that something different is going on because their household is spiritually connected to God, and they will start to compare households.
It is not about children pleasing their parents, but about them gaining the understanding that, if they follow the right path on their own, their parents will automatically be pleased and have great joy in their child’s own understanding of serving God. This is evidenced by a firsthand statement from Brother Hamilton’s son, who, when he was asked “What is the greatest thing about your dad?” replied, “His leadership is one of the greatest things. It keeps me going, as he leads by example. He shows me what to do when needed. His leadership inspires me to want to be involved and move forward.” Brief and concise, but powerful. This is what we should all strive for as Christian men; regardless of whether you have a son, daughter, or grandchildren—or even as a mentor—leading by example is always great!
Ephesians 6:4 4 "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." (Source: Bible – New American Standard (NASB))
Ministry: Men’s Ministry.
Coordinator(s) and/or Volunteer(s): Herman Brown, William Hamilton.
Ministry In-Brief Administrator and Volunteer(s): Karl Spencer, Yolonda Gaines.
Location: Fifth Ward Church of Christ Resource Center.
Ministry In-Brief Archive:
Resource Center Highlights
The Goals and Vision of the center are to:
(1) Offer quality resources that contribute to the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of local community residents and the Greater Houston Area;
(2) Provide an opportunity for every desiring member to use their particular gifts in service to God and mankind;
(3) Cultivate a community of believers who support and encourage one another, and who ultimately bring glory to God; and
(4) Create opportunities to share the goods news of Jesus Christ and his Kingdom.
Some services require pre-registration or accompaniment by a member. Space is limited. Call or email us for additional information. Tel: 713-672-2654, Email: [email protected]