What Is A Man?

By Simon, Epic staff

To download this resource as a pdf, please click here.

This outreach was designed to spur discussion among non-Christians regarding the definition of authentic manhood and help point them to the person of Jesus and his radical definition of what it means to be a man. It facilitates verbalization of one’s definition of manhood and presents a biblical definition for consideration.

This outreach allows participants to discover their own values and weigh them against biblical values in a non-confrontational way. It is also allows for international students to discuss american manhood versus their culture’s definition. It is important to consider the sensitive issues of prejudice, race, and gender and even possibly the issue of sexual orientation when designing this exercise.

Part 1

Survey your group using 8 – 10 pictures you select of different men. Vary pictures by age, ethnicity, celebrity status, physical qualities. Have the last picture be an image of Jesus.

  1. Show each picture and ask your participants to rate the subject’s manliness on a scale from 1-10 (give a moment to think and respond).
  2. Have each person share why they chose that rating.
  3. Record any positive or negative traits mentioned.
Part 2

After showing the last picture of Jesus, ask them the following based on how they responded.

  1. If most of what was mentioned were outward characteristics, ask: “I noticed most of you mentioned outward character qualities for manliness (ex. muscles, height, money, fame). What inward character qualities represent manliness?”
  2. If most of what was mentioned were inward character qualities, ask: “I noticed most of you mentioned inward character qualities for manliness (ex. integrity, loving, honest, faithful). Where do you think this sense of noble character comes from?” [You may need to give examples like family, society, media, if they need help.]

If there was a balance of inward and outward qualities mentioned, ask: “I noticed there was a good balance of inward and outward character qualities for manliness mentioned (give examples). Do you think one is more important than the other?” At this point, regardless of the recent responses, ask: “Based on everything you’ve said thus far, what is your definition of a man?”

Part 3

Transition to Jesus by briefly looking at three passages from the bible. “Since so many would point to Jesus as an example of a good man, have you ever read what Jesus said about being a man?”

Read Luke 9:48. “In your own words what is Jesus saying? How does this relate to being a man?”
Read Mark 10:42-45. “What stands out to you? What similarities are there between these two passages?”
Read John 15:13. “How is this related to being a true man?”

At this point, use a bridge question to introduce the Gospel. For example: “In the previous two verses, Jesus mentioned giving his life and laying down his life for many. Do you know what he’s talking about?”

Final Thoughts

-Carefully consider the first images you show the group as these images will help your group to normalize the data. For instance show men you would expect to be rated in the middle first.
-For images you use of unknown people a brief description helps otherwise they are rated solely on first impressions.
-This outreach has a designed transition to the Gospel, but look for other moments along the way to bring it up.

To download this resource as a pdf, please click here.