The choice to be a mighty man of God is personal and it also takes group effort.
Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)
17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
There are some deep decisions and desires that God puts in our hearts which when implemented, you look back and realize it was the best choice ever.
With a heart full of joy, gratitude and no regrets, the story I am about to share with you is one such.
The Mighty Man of God program was one of the best decisions ever to be made by a group of 13 brothers from Nairobi Christian Church, Southern block, Dynasty and Rongai sectors, inspired by a desire to change and to stop living in mediocrity as Christians.
The Mighty Man of God Program
The Mighty Man of God program was mainly inspired by Sam Laing’s book, Mighty Man of God. The participants of the program were brothers from the Rongai and Dynasty sectors of the Nairobi Christian Church, Southern Block, who meet in the Nairobi South ‘C’ area. We were 13 in number. There were some who started but due to unavoidable circumstances could not complete the program. God gave me the opportunity to coordinate the program. We studied Sam’s book which was based on the theme of David’s mighty men in 1 Chronicles 11, 12 and 2 Samuel 38:8 – 39. We cannot even claim to be like any of David’s mighty men, but there is always a beginning and an example of how to proceed. Sam Laing starts his book by outlining why he wrote it to the men. He had seen the ‘Men’s ministry’ decline and he wanted the men to rise up. He had a number of questions to the men, “Where are the men of God’s Kingdom? Where are the men to lead the way in evangelism, in prayer, in love and in faith? Is it not the women who so often set the pace in spirituality, in numerical growth and in hearts devoted to God? And so one day, he invited the men of his group to a meeting at 5:30am..and he told them that “the inconvenience of the hour was by design” meaning the sacrifice was worth the trouble.
I got to know about the book sometime in the year 2000 from my friend and then discipler Pharis Mukuria. He had called our men’s group to an early morning meeting which was to be at 6.30am and as he put it, the inconvenience of the hour was by design. When we met and after prayer, Pharis introduced Sam Laing’s book, Mighty Man of God to us. He stated what motivated Sam to do the book, mainly that the men should rise up. This was the same message from Pharis, that the men should rise up! We started the study and we would meet at 6.30am for many months until we finished reading the book. This book inspired me and to a great extent it changed my life. I read the book Mighty Man of God about two or three more times thereafter and I always got new inspiration whenever I read it. It helped me change how I carry myself as a man and a disciple in the Kingdom of God. It also helped me change how I work and my attitudes at work and business, at home with my family and socially with my friends. The thoughts that Sam advanced helped me also to have a great regard and consideration for men first in the kingdom and all around my life. To date, Men around me are my ‘project’ or focus. When I can, I make every effort to encourage men to be better in all aspects of their lives. I notice that the world moves in certain ways because of how men carry themselves. I know that is a loaded statement but I will leave it there for now. With God’s help, I had also coordinated a similar program in some men’s groups of the Kampala International Church of Christ when I worked in Uganda and we had a wonderful time together for a good 12 years until 2018 when I took an early retirement and returned to Kenya. I believe God has given me a burden to work with the men in church.
As the South ‘C’ men’s group, we started the study around August 2017. We acknowledged that we needed to boost the Men’s Ministry because it was not doing well. It was also apparent that the brothers at church and men in general do not usually have something they do together for their own development. The women seemed to be doing a lot even in church and no wonder they are the majority! Every year at church we have a ‘Women’s Day’ but it is rare to have a Men’s Forum! That is yet a story for another day. Given that situation, I felt that God had put in my heart a deep burning desire to empower my brothers. After seeking for much advice and direction, I shared with the brothers about the Mighty Man of God book, to the effect that it could be a useful tool to help us in building our spirituality and other Godly characters in order to be better men, better disciples in the Kingdom of God. After going through the introductions and understanding the writer’s motivation, the brothers agreed to give it a ‘try’ as is usual for men; they always have a ‘lets see approach to things. We prayed about it and asked God for guidance. We also got the go ahead from the leaders and we started the study. We agreed to be meeting fortnightly on Saturdays at 6:30 am, the inconvenience of the hour notwithstanding. The venue was the Visionary School in South C where we held our church services. The weekend was preferable to the brothers since some had to go to work at 8:00am.
With regard to the study, we agreed that one and a half hours on a Saturday morning was enough time to read through a chapter. We also agreed on a format for the study; when we meet, we would read a chapter per meeting, loudly and we would each read a paragraph or so. We had some ground rules too for example, mobile phones to be on silent mode or off; calls to be received if very necessary to avoid distractions. As for responses to what we learnt per chapter, we agreed that we would not share superficially or generally. Instead we would be genuine and vulnerable in our sharing, disclose lessons learnt and areas of weakness in a way that we would help each other grow as well as pray especially for those areas of weakness. We would let go of our male egos, get out of our comfort zones and let go of the need for control; after all it was only us brothers in the study! This was adhered to gradually and so successfully that we now feel we know each other well. It made us feel closer to each other and I can say the bond is still there and we have a common agenda, glory be to God. We covered all the 17 plus one chapters of the book. Some of the topics we studied were in areas of Spirituality, Humility, Purity, Courage, Nobility, Honor, Joy, Discipline, Lovingkindness, Friendship, Family and Fitness among others. The last chapter which was also the epilogue (that’s why it is referred to as plus one) was about our Lord Jesus Christ, the Mightiest Man of all and whom we should strive to emulate as His disciples.
Every one of us had a lesson or two to learn and every one of us had a conviction or two to take home. I think for most brothers, as for me, the most convicting chapter was the first one which talked of Spirituality. That the spirituality of men was shallow. As Sam Laing puts it, “Many of us are focused on doing, not being. We want to work, accomplish and achieve for God, but we do not desire to draw near to God and deal with our inner selves. Venturing into the deep waters frightens us, so we wade in the shallows…”. Therefore there was a need for depth or to be deep; deep in prayer, deep in the study of God’s word, deep in relationships even with our families, to be deep in our expression of love or affection and deep in our commitment etc.
It was an amazing walk with the brothers as they each reflected and applied the topics studied in their lives. Many agreeably had fallen short according to their own confessions. Although not everyone was able to make it all the time, the spirit of brotherhood grew steadily. God was super faithful and we learned a lot. As a result, we decided that we will not complete the study and treat it as ‘water under the bridge’, instead, we would terminate in style..a graduation of sorts. As David said in 2 Samuel 24:24, we also decided we would not offer to God that which cost us nothing. We paid for the printing of the resolutions and certificates and also lunch for the day. We organized a graduation ceremony which was held on 16th December 2018 at Jakin Gardens in Ongata Rongai. It was officiated by our Evangelist, William Auki who also awarded the certificates of completion. It was a great success, glory be to God. We did it alongside our wives and children, who will daily be the consumers and beneficiaries of our resolutions. The writer of the book, Sam Laing, made continuous reference to wives and children as being the beneficiaries of the man’s godly character and we maintained the same concept. As we graduated, I can only confess that we are a better team than we were a year ago.
Comments from various brothers
Nicholas Memba “For me among the many things that I learnt from the book Mighty Man of God, was PURITY. Keeping myself pure. Because I realized staying pure is one of the greatest challenges for many men. I need to respect my body, I need to respect women out there by not lusting and most important I need to respect my wife by keeping our marriage pure.”.
Philip Mutula “I too learnt a lot, but there are two areas that challenged me the most ie. Spirituality, where as a Christian, I should not be shallow. I was called to be deep in all aspects of my Christian life. As a man I should work on my purity, maintain moral standards and being able to clear my heart by vulnerably confessing anything ungodly.”
Robert Matano “For me I must say they were all inspiring, however Humility stood out. The fact that I am called to be humble, to distance myself from pride. Knowing and accepting that I need others, that alone I cannot make it. I need others to help me in my Spiritual and general growth. To be approachable, especially by my wife and children and to apologise when I wrong others.”
Kennedy Awiti “To be a man of courage, to endure tough times and depend on God as I seek for his guidance in humility by seeking help and advice without prejudice. To understand God takes us through life so as to grow and be better people, righteous and courageous.”
Kennedy Gichuhi “I loved the chapter on Spirituality. The call to me as a Christian Man and a disciple was not to be shallow. Rather there is need for depth, that I should endeavor to be deep in my prayer life, my study of the word of God, deep in my relationships especially with my wife and children”
Stephen Kabacho “I really appreciate being part of this amazing group. As a single young man I learnt so much, that there is more to being a man. On spirituality, purity, keeping fit, making my bed daily even when I get married! I was surprised by the openness and trust among the group. Humility stood out for me; that I need to have a learner’s attitude. God sees everything that goes on in a man’s life. I also learnt to treat everyone with respect. Also to whom much is given, much is expected. I learnt that I need to start the day with God and finish with God. There was so much to learn and even to this day I look forward to those morning meetings.”
John Gisemba Makori (Makdec) “This study rekindled my commitment to serve God, lead my family from the front. I recommend that all brothers get an opportunity to study the book”
Anthony Kinyanjui “being called to be a man of God takes heart, mind and soul and a great deal of character. The topic on Nobility clearly exposed me on what am not but need to be. It’s not about showmanship but what truly comes from me; is it worthy imitating? Where is the true Christian gentleman in me? He is being refined..”
Eric Juma Kwoba “For me, I was challenged to totally work on my Discipline in different aspects of my life. That I must do what I ought to do not what I feel like doing. That by being disciplined I will achieve all those qualities I learned on being a mighty man of God. May God help me not to be focused on doing but to be focused on being what He expects me to be.”
We are grateful to Almighty God for helping us study powerful aspects of Godly character. I believe God inspired Sam to write the book even if he didn’t know that he would someday inspire brothers several miles away from him, brothers he doesn’t even know. Most of the brothers had never heard of Sam Laing before we started reading the book.
Many thanks to Sam for obeying God’s prompting and writing the book. He had many inspiring examples drawn from the bible and from his own life, of men who had also inspired him in his Christian walk. If possible we would like to meet you someday Bwana Sam Laing.
Many thanks to the brothers who consistently braved the Saturday morning cold, left their warm beds to attend the study sessions, may God bless them for their sacrifice and make the study fruitful in their lives. For those who are married, many thanks to the spouses who released and encouraged their husbands to attend the study sessions.
I thank my family too and especially my wife Jean who had to bear with me as I prepared notes for the study lessons sometimes late into the night.
We are grateful to the Church Leadership for allowing us to do the study and urging us on. Special thanks to Brother Charles Omolo and our Evangelist, William Auki for allowing us to do that.
Many thanks to the management of Visionary Schools who allowed us to use their premises on Saturday mornings and for our men’s all night of prayer. May God bless them abundantly!
Laing, S. (1999) Mighty Man of God, Discipleship Publications International, One Merrill Street, Woburn, MA 01801