The Rushmore Report: Four Mistakes Men Need to Quit Making

I have worked with many men through my years as chaplain for the Denver Nuggets of the NBA and the Colorado Rockies of the MLB and in my involvement with other men’s groups. Through the years, Gari and I have identified habits that can lead men to absolute destruction. Some of the destruction I’ve experienced included going to federal prison. We share these four common mistakes men make in hope that you will avoid them.

Mistake #1 – Choosing your career over your children

I had a great dad, but I didn’t have a great daddy. When my siblings and I were small, my dad was playing baseball for the Cleveland Indians. When he was home, he didn’t get involved in our lives. Luckily, I learned from his mistakes. “Daddy” years are when children make secure attachments, and no one has a greater influence than daddy. If you don’t make those connections in the physically demanding daddy years, it’s hard to have influence when your kids grow into the “dad” years.

You need to play with your kids, read to them, take them to fun places, build terrific memories. Pray for them, discipline them when they need it, be creative in how to make these important connections. Be a daddy. Don’t miss this time! It goes fast, and you never get another chance.

Mistake #2 – Choosing friends who can lead you astray

I went to prison partially because of the men I did business with. I see men in their late 20s and 30s not understanding how careful they need to be with the people they hang around or do business with. The Bible says to choose your friends wisely, because whoever you spend time with, you will become like them.

Mistake #3 – Not listening to your wife – advice from Gari

One of the best parts of marriage is having someone love you deeply – listening to your dreams, hopes, and struggles; and giving you wise counsel and support. When a man has the habit of turning to some woman other than his wife for this significant support, it can lead to disaster. This woman could be his mother, resulting in undermining the importance of his wife. It could be a female coworker, a woman friend at church, or someone else, resulting in emotional or physical affairs.

Mistake #4 – Rejecting or neglecting a relationship with Jesus Christ

Nothing is more important than your relationship with God. Without his son, Jesus Christ, you will never have the power to live the life you can be proud of. God loves you and wants a personal relationship with you! He is standing at the door of your life. When you accept him as your Savior and Lord, he brings love, forgiveness, purpose for your life, and the power to live the very best life you can imagine. Your best days are ahead of you, even if you feel doomed in life today.

In my darkest moments in prison, I began to understand prison was the perfect place for me to be. God had my full attention, and he could finally free me from the chains of living my life at a reckless pace and get my temper under his control. One of the greatest things he did was help me learn to forgive myself, and give me the power to forgive others so I didn’t live the rest of my life in anger and bitterness. Knowing Christ and forgiving others has given me great freedom.

About the Authors

Bo Mitchell is chaplain and senior advisor for the Colorado Rockies. The former minor league baseball player has a master’s degree in Christian leadership and has cofounded several nonprofits. Gari Mitchell directs consulting services for Crosswalk Fellowship of Denver. Married for more than 45 years, Bo and Gari have two children and four grandchildren. Together they share their story in the book Grace Behind Bars, available now from Focus on the Family.

Battle of the Sexes

I have this theory, tested over 34 years of marriage, that men and women are somewhat different. Studies show that men are more likely than women to run stoplights, while women are more likely to change lanes without notice. Fifty-one percent of men say TV remote controls have “significantly changed” their lives, compared with just 39 percent of women. (The other 61 percent of women are married, and have therefore never been able to touch the remote.) Men leave their hotel rooms cleaner than women do.

If you’re an average man, you’ll spend 81 minutes in your car today, compared to 64 minutes for a woman. Men laugh 69 times a day, compared to just 55 times for women.

Marriage makes a woman more likely to be depressed, while having the opposite effect on men.

When snow skiing, men tend to fall on their faces. Women fall the other way.

Yes, we are different. Did you know the same Bible that tells men to “love” their wives tells women to “respect” their husbands?

Indeed, we are different. Women are shopping for Christmas presents in July, while men have the good sense to wait until Christmas Eve.

Yes, God made us different. And then he said, “It is good” (Genesis 1:27).

The Rushmore Report: Why Men Hate Going to Church

A few years ago, my faith in Christ was hanging by a thread. I loved God, but I hated going to church. Sunday morning would find my body in the pews, but my heart was elsewhere. I was so desperate I began exploring alternative religions, including Islam. Did I mention I was an elder in my church?

I was not alone. Truth is, a lot of faithful, churchgoing men are not all that excited come Sunday morning. Quite a few attend out of habit, surviving on the memories of victories won years ago. Others attend services simply to keep their wives happy. Most guys do nothing midweek to grow in their faith. Few churches are able to sustain a viable men’s ministry.

Why are men so bored in our churches? Of course, there are the hypocrites. But even men who are born-again, Spirit-filled, longtime Christian guys are clamming up and dropping out. What’s going on?

A business guru once said, “Your system is perfectly designed to give you the results you’re getting.” Christianity’s primary delivery system, the local church, is perfectly designed to reach women and older folks. That’s why our pews are filled with them. But this church system offers little to stir the masculine heart, so men find it dull and irrelevant. The more masculine the man, the more likely he is to dislike church.

What do I mean? Men and young adults are drawn to risk, challenge and adventure. But these things are discouraged in the local church. Instead, most congregations offer a safe, nurturing community – an oasis of stability and predictability. Studies show that women and seniors gravitate toward these things. Althought our official mission is one of adventure, the actual mission of most congregations is making people feel comfortable and safe – especially longtime members.

How did Christianity, founded by a man and his 12 male disciples, become the province of women? There is a pattern of feminization in Christianity going back at least 700 years, according to Dr. Leon Podles, author of The Church Impotent: the Feminization of Christianity. But the ball really got rolling in the 1800s. With the dawning of the industrial revolution, large numbers of men sought work in mines, mills, and factories, far from home and the familiar parish. Women stayed behind – and began remaking the church in their image. The Victorian era saw the rise of church nurseries, Sunday schools, lay choirs, quilting circles, ladies’ teas, soup kitchens, girls’ societies, potluck dinners, etc.

Soon, the very definition of a good Christian had changed: boldness and aggression were out; passivity and receptivity were in. Christians were to be gentle, sensitive and nurturing, focused on home and family rather than accomplishment and career. Believers were not supposed to like sex, tobacco, dancing, or other worldly pleasures. The godly were always calm, polite, and sociable. This Victorian spirituality still dominates our churches. Those of us who grew up in church hardly notice it; we can’t imagine things any other way. But a male visitor detects the feminine spirit the moment he walks in the sanctuary door. He may feel like Tom Sawyer in Aunt Polly’s parlor; he must watch his language, mind his manners and be extra polite. It’s hard for a man to be real in church because he must squeeze himself into this feminine religious mold.

Men, if you’ve felt out of place in church it’s not your fault. If you’ve tried and failed to get a men’s ministry going in your church, it’s not your fault. If you can’t get your buddies interested in church, it’s not your fault. The church system is getting the results it’s designed to get. Until that system changes, men will continue to perish, both inside and outside our congregations. Some of you don’t know what I’m talking about. A feminized church? Some guys are happy with church just as it is, and see no need for change. But try to see church through the eyes of a typical guy. It’s intimidating for a man to hold hands in a circle, to cry in public, or to imagine falling deeply in love with another man (even if his name is Jesus).

If we’re going to be fishers of men, we’ve got to do a better job considering men’s needs and expectations. Jesus did it; so must we.

About the Author

David Murrow is founder and president of Church for Men, an international organization committed to informing and influencing the local church to strive for relevance in ministering to men. His book, Why Men Hate Going to Church, offers more than 60 pages of practical ideas for bringing a healthy, life-giving masculine spirit to the local congregation.