Urban America faces many challenges. One issue that often gets overlooked is fatherlessness and a biblical vision of manhood.
From his urban church in Philadelphia Pastor Eric Mason faces these challenges head on and addresses them in his book Manhood Restored and Unleashed. Pastor Mason shares how his community is taking action to shine God’s light and conform to the image of Christ.
“We’re really trying to live out Ephesians 3:20-21. We want to see God re-frame the face of Christ’s grace and strength through the church, restoring one family and one life at a time through the might of the gospel.
“As that begins happening, you see fathers on the playground playing with the children, redeemed by the Gospel, engaging family, going to work, etc. We want to have faithful consistency in developing and restoring men and restoring families.”
Pastor Mason shares how a community rebuilding project has led him into fruitful conversations with Muslims.
“As our playground was getting built, Muslims were walking past looking at it and they were asking us, ‘Why are you doing this?’
“We began to engage with them…you can tell that they were taken back at the counter-cultural disposition of Christianity.”
By displaying Christianity, we can redeem our communities for the Glory of God.
“As we faithfully, over a long period of time, display Godly manhood, display Godly womanhood, understand the beautiful historic doctrines of the faith and be able to articulate them.”
Pastor Mason’s community also understands the importance of being conformed to the image of Christ.
“Loving our neighbors, working like Paul says, ‘With our own hands…’ not being lazy, fathering our children, raising our children, buying property, seeking the peace of the city, etc.”
Community transformation doesn’t happen overnight, it happens over time.
“We’re not looking for one big event to splash down a competitive edge for the church; we want to be the Pilgrim people of God in the city, who live in light of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ…and over time, Pilgrim and apprentice to Jesus Christ.”
Over time, people will be naturally curious about the light that is shining in the community, eventually walking towards it.
“As God shapes us and as God forms us, as we repent of sin and as we grow, people can be attracted to the glorious community, drawn into the community by the Spirit as we live the life of the Gospel and proclaim His excellence.”