This weekend is the “Stronger” Men’s Conference in Springfield, MO. It’s billed as a conference to “empower and motivate men to live out God’s view of manhood and be the best husbands, fathers, and leaders God has called them to be”. To that end, they will hear speakers, worship together, hear members of the Philadelphia Eagles football team, and watch MMA fighting. Just what Jesus would do, right?
In general, I have no problem with men getting together to spur each other on to be better Christians. And, if they have interests in common, so much the better.
The issue I have is that so many Christian men’s conferences and women’s conferences purport to show men and women how to be Godly Men and Godly Women when there is very little biblical support for such roles.
When we read the Gospels, Jesus never divided out the men from the women to teach them separately. Sure, he had his twelve disciples that he taught on their own from time to time, but he never instructed them in things “just for men”. He was educating them in things that were more in-depth than he could teach a large crowd.
Even Paul rarely taught about men’s and women’s roles, and when he did it was always in the context of specific issues in specific churches. That’s why we don’t see all Christian women wearing head coverings these days (1 Corinthians 11:6).
If you want to be a godly man or woman, you need to do pretty much the same thing: follow Jesus. Jesus didn’t come to earth to die for men differently than he died for women. Grace is the same for all of us. Colossians 3:11 tells us "11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised,barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all."
If you are a guy who likes MMA and stereotypically manly stuff, you might enjoy the Stronger conference. If you are a guy who likes Bach and poetry, it might not be the place for you. But, you can both be men of God, men whom Jesus died for, men who can be great husbands and dads.
The same for women. You might like women’s conferences with all the crafty stuff and pretty things and that’s totally cool for you. But, if you prefer sports or books, that’s fine too. There’s nothing in the Bible that says that you’ll be a second-class Christian wife or mother.
You be you. Jesus died for all of us, male and female. Nothing he said, though, ties us down into society’s or the church’s stereotyped roles. God is big enough to allow you to be who you are. Love God, love others!