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Discipling Men for the 21st Century

Author Mark Batterson shares how God made men for the virtues of tough love, will power, clear vision and moral courage. Read Transcript

NARRATOR: "New York Times" bestselling author and pastor

Mark Batterson says men and boys are confused

about their roles, responsibilities,

and relationships and the very reason God made them men.

We live in a culture that in many ways

has redefined manhood, devalued manhood.

So we've settled for something far less than God originally


NARRATOR: Mark's latest book "Play the Man"

tells guys how they can become the man God created them

to be no matter how they were raised

so they can teach the next generation about life and love.

Pastor and author Mark Batterson is here with us now.

And Mark, thanks for joining us.

Thanks for being here.

Thanks, Gordon.

Let's just get right into it.

What are some of the misconceptions

our culture has about manhood?

You know, what are they?


Well, I think gender in general is a tougher topic these days

than it has been in the past.

But the reality is God created us male and female.

So it's not just a good idea, it's a God idea.

And I think it's something that we should celebrate.

But we've got to define what that looks like,

what that means.

And I guess the short answer is Jesus.

That's what manhood looks like.

And my goal with the book was to give a target for guys

to shoot at.

And so talk about seven virtues of manhood

and hopefully at least gives them

the beginning of an understanding of how

a man becomes a man of God.

You talk about one that needs to be childlike wonder.


Which, I think in most of our modern day

conceptions of manhood is that football player,

is that somebody from a Western and, you know,

rough and tough and all of that.

But you say, no.

We need to have childlike wonder.



And guys will get the true grit, the willpower, the tough love,

the moral courage, some of the other virtues.

But this childlike wonder, I actually begin

the chapter talking about Teddy Roosevelt who

used to play a game of hide and go seek in the White House

with his kids.

He had this childlike nature to him that I've always admired.

You know, the Bible tells us that we've got

to grow out of childishness.

And so we need boys to become men.

But it's that childlike-ness-- you

know, Jesus put a child at the middle of the Kingdom of God

and said, unless you become like this little child,

you can't even get in.

And so I talk about that in the book.

And the beautiful thing about being a father

is that you can learn so much from your children.

And I think part of that is learning again

what it means to have a holy curiosity or just

a wonder about life.

And so I think men will appreciate that virtue

and I really want to help men recapture

that childlike wonder.

For me, as a father, I started to understand

God more by just being a father and understanding

the unconditional love and please bring to me

all your problems.

Don't hold back.


I'm here for you, I'm here to guide you,

I'm here to care for you.

And when your children are away, you just long

for them to be back.


You just want to be around them, you want to be dad.

And it really underscored for me the great love letter

that God has given to us.

While we were sinners, he died for us.


So true.

Just the title of the book, "Play the Man,"

what do you mean by that?


You know, there's a wonderful true story about Polycarp

who was the bishop of Smyrna.

86 years old, he's told to recant his faith, brought

into the Colosseum.

And right before being martyred for his faith,

he hears a voice from heaven that

says, "be strong, Polycarp.

Play the man."

And so I take that story and the courage

that he showed, someone who was willing to die for his faith.

The question is are we willing to live for our faith.

And so I tell that story and then kind of

build off of that story and talk about what I believe

it means to play the man.


And in India there's a proverb, "it's easier to die for Christ

than it is to live for him."

And in the living for him comes the dying daily.


And it's no longer your life, but you

live for him, the one who bought and redeemed you.

And that's a daily thing.

You have to walk that out every single day.

I know in my life, that's sometimes very hard.

You know, today, can I get some me time?


Can I get back in charge today?


And no.

If we're going to be true disciples, if we're

going to be-- as you said, to be just like Jesus,

he always was about the Father's business.


And what a great example for us.


What would you tell single moms?

Because I think in the culture today,

there aren't fathers in the house.

And we have a culture that emphasizes

baby daddy versus father.


So what's a single mom to do?


Well, I think the good news is, Gordon,

there is a heavenly Father who, I believe,

compensates for my weaknesses or my deficiency.

Or if there's not a father in someone's life,

I believe the Heavenly Father wants

to step in and say, this is my beloved son,

this is my beloved daughter in whom I'm well pleased.

The same words that he spoke over Jesus.

My prayer is to help fathers become spiritual fathers.

I think there are a lot of dads who don't know what to do.

And part of it--

I was in a room with 500 guys a few months ago

and I asked them, how many of you were intentionally

discipled by your dad?

Three hands went up.

We've got a problem.

Because we don't know--

and the last verse of the last chapter

in the last book in the Old Testament

is about turning the hearts of the fathers

to the children and the children to the fathers.

And so, really, the heartbeat of this book

is to help dads become spiritual fathers.

But then we also need men to step up and step in and be

spiritual fathers to those who aren't even

their biological father.

So that single mom, you, know my hope and prayer would

be that there would be men who see an opportunity

to step in and help that boy not just become a man,

but a man of God.

There's is a whole part of your book

about intentional discipleship.

And I think that's lost.

We're not intentional in discipleship.

We're not trying to make disciples,

even though that's a commandment from Jesus,

go and make disciples.


So we don't even do it in our home, let alone in the church.

So what's the answer to that?


Well, you know, I love youth pastors.

As a pastor, I love youth pastors.

I love youth pastors as a dad.

But it's not their job to disciple my children.

That's my job.

Now, I'm grateful for the tag team,

I think it's a team sport.

But I think the first step, Gordon, is just

taking responsibility that God has entrusted me

with these children.

And I share in the book how, as my sons

approach their 12th birthday--

I knew 13, teenage years were around the corner--

I created a discipleship covenant, designed

a year of discipleship, and then we did a rite of passage

at the end of that.

And you know, we don't have time to get

into all the wonderful details.

But I share that in the book, not as someone saying, hey,

I did it all right.

Because I made a lot of mistakes, and I

share those in the book.

But about giving man a template, a starting

point, how can I do this?


Here's how you can do it.


I congratulate you for that.

I think, in our culture, we're losing a generation

because we trusted the church to handle discipleship

and we need to learn from the Jewish people.

They do discipleship right.

And they do it in the home.

And every Saturday is a celebration

and every Saturday is the father blessing his children

with the [INAUDIBLE] blessing that God would watch over them,

He would cause his face to shine upon them.


And they love that, they crave it.

And it's the key for how they've stayed

so strong in a hostile culture.

And as Christians, increasingly, we're in a hostile culture,

we need to learn and how to do this generationally.

So the gospel doesn't stop with us,

it goes on to the next generation.


Thank you for the book.

Appreciate it.

Thank you.

All right.

You can get more great insights from Mark Batterson.

His book is called "Play the Man,

Becoming the Man God Created You to Be."

And it's available in stores nationwide.

Mark, thanks again.


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