Chad Schreur, who leads the men’s ministry at Hillcrest Christian Reformed Church in Hudsonville, Mich., is seeing leaders develop with a focus on discipleship.
Since 2016, Schreur has used the discipleship program Every Man A Warrior to encourage men to grow deeper in their faith. The material is based on a series of Bible studies written by Lonnie Berger, a longtime staff worker with The Navigators ministry.
Schreur said the program begins with an emphasis on meditating on and memorizing Scripture. It then goes into practical applications for applying the Word to issues such as marriage, parenting, work, and moral purity.
“You have a format that enables you to engage the Word more deeply,” Schreur said. “You slow down, not just read it, but listen to God and ask questions about the passage and apply it to your life.”
The format is small-group discussion based on each lesson. In the first phase of the program, there is a designated facilitator, but in later phases, each member of a group takes turns being a facilitator, Schreur said.
Joshua Jongsma started attending the study shortly after he and his wife became members at Hillcrest. He expressed some doubts at first about being able to memorize verses but now says the study has helped him grow in his faith.
“It was great connecting with a group of men I most likely would not have otherwise had a lot of interaction with,” Jongsma said. “The lessons helped guide our discussions around our faith, marriages, work, and other areas of life that I don't always have an opportunity to discuss. I really appreciated the relationships I built, and the lessons and quiet times helped grow my spirituality and helped to remind me to keep God present in all areas of my life.”
Another member, Chris Kucharski, said the most important takeaway for him from the study was about all Scripture being breathed by God and the importance of meditating on it. He said it has affected every area of his life.
“I have learned as a dad to parent with intention, as a husband to love my wife as Christ loved the church and give myself for her, as a working man I work as if I am working for the Lord and to be responsible with God's money, as a disciple I learned I have been given a mission to go (and spread his good news),” Kucharski said.
Schruer said the principles of Every Man A Warrior are applicable whether men are single or married, or whether they have children or not. About 45 men have gone through the program, and he said the small groups have helped to develop leaders within the congregation.
“You have more mature believers who are then engaged in other ministries,” he said. “You’ve got men who are better husbands, better fathers, better able to deal with adversity at work, because they’re walking with God in this and not trying to do it on their own.”