Text: Acts 1:8, II Corinthians 5:20
HYMNS: BH 445 AND 433
The Men’s Missionary Union is a Ministry Of Witnessing (Acts 1:8) for the purpose of providing inspirational and impactful leadership to the boys (men inclusive) and homes within the Baptist Convention and the global world at large. A lot of programmes and activities are put in place to achieve this through literatures (Path Way, Emphasis, Father’s Day, One Day of Prayer, Leadership Training Manual), missions, outreach, revivals, support/assistance etc) and Leadership Programmes amidst others. Globally, Royal Ambassadors is a Baptist faith based organization. In Nigeria, it is both faith and disciplined based for the purpose of touching the lives of boys and impacting eternity of men. This RA vision relates to the witnessing ministry of the MMU as Royal Ambassadors are reconciliators (II Cor 5: 20) and light of the world who should always reflect Christ (Mathew 5:14). From the above, a meting point has been established as both reflects passion for missions/soul winning and capacity development ( same for the Church ) for the purpose of affecting and effecting change within the religious and circular world.
Traditionally, the mention of MMU refers to the fathers while RA is talking of the boys. I need to point out that MMU is both the gathering of the boys and men. A gathering of men alone is regarded as BMF (Baptist Men’s Fellowship). Therefore:
BMF + RA = MMU
The Church is regarded as the body of Christ, a congregation of believers. Both RA and BMF are groups ( members ) in the church. The duty of RA to the church as captuted in the ‘blue colour’ is that of LOYALTY. First, the loyalty of the boy is to Christ as his personal Lord and Savoir , and second to the Church and her Missions. The third level of loyalty is to the organization and this we do not take lightly as the organization comes before self or other personal sentiments.
AREAS OF RELATIONSHIP
Arising from the above, it is obvious that relationship exists between the MMU and the RAs ( Church inclusive ). Below is a summary of the relationship among the trio of the Church, MMU and the RA :
- Spiritual Relationship: They are spiritual organizations who should run things as the spirit directs. The first consideration should be GOD in whatever we do as a Union or organization or church. We should never be ashamed of the gospel (IITim. 1:8) Consider also the spiritual relationship Timothy inherited and enjoyed from Lois and Eunice (ITim. 1:15) Paul often establishes spiritual relationships with the use of the word brethren e. Gal. 1:2 . This is one aspect the church must grow relationship , not only with the men and boys but with all known groups or organs of the church.
- Biological Relationship: This talks of father-son relationship. This is expected to provide intimacy between the boys and the men and by extension the church. Practical examples abound in the ministry i.e. Oyeku/Dn. James Akala, Dn. James Akala & Dawari, FAS/Badejo. This biological relationship calls for attention so that parents wont regret on their children as it happened to Eli (1Sam 2:12) and Samuel (1Sam 8:3-5). James Dobson (2002) writes on the effects of parenting on American children to justify the roles of parenting in the life of children. Many senior RAs who are fervent in the ministry are more or less biological sons to their church pastors, we are always in the mission house.
- Mentoring Relationship: “Each one mentor one” introduced by the current National President, Hon. Dr. Dawari George is an example. This means, a man is expected to mentor a RA boy. This relationship offers room for motivation, role modeling, inspirations and encouragements. I have always seen Dr. Dawari as my mentor both in life and ministry since I met him. Every man should grow to this level and likewise all senior RAs. This is why RA Counselors and Patrons are often MMU Members and RA leaders from Chapter-Association-Conference-Convention are MMU officers. No wonder MMU Chairmen are regarded and honoured as Ambasssdor – at -.Large while Church Pastors are known and honoured as First Ambasssdors. The church be able to provide a lifestyle for her members.
- Relationship of Control: this must be properly understood. The control (responsibility inclusive) of the RA is in the hands of the MMU. Issues affecting the RA are to be deliberated upon and decided by the MMU and not any other body. Control does not mean lording things over the boys. Any MMU group running away from taking responsibility will loose this aspect of relationship and this can lead to constant friction.
- Relationship of Programmes: It is expected that RAs and MMU run programmes together. This simply implies that RAs must have a place in every MMU programme and vice versa. At the last October 2017 NLTC, the National President was physically present all through the conference to provide support just I will also be with him in all his programmes and outings without being told. Boys must partake actively in all church programmes and work hand in hand with the church leadership as represented by the pastor.
- Complimentary Relationship: this simply means “Iron sharpens iron” (Prov. 27:17). The fathers must support the boys and vice versa. It is this relationship that often brings about success and oneness. Examples of this complimentary relationship abounds i.e. the RA National Headquarters Building Project, Oke-Ogun (Kotogri) MMU Missions Village Project etc. witnessed the support of the MMU and RA respectively.
Summarily, the areas of relationship x-rayed above can be captured in the aspects of:
- Meaning : Christ centered
- Vision and Mission Statements : christlikeness and positive impact
- Literatures : abound in large quantity to equip, develop and guide us.
- Leadership Trainings and Programmes. This is central to the Church as a body, MMU and RA as groups. The philosophy of RA is operation catch them young as ” it is easy to mould boys than to mend men”.
- This is known as Great Commission .The RA, MMU and the Church essentially relates on this axis. The philosophy of the RA group is grounded in the Great Commission.
- Physical Growth ie see the last line of the RA Pledge.
- Civic Responsibility ie rights education,discipleship lifestyle and the RA Anti Social Vices Club programmes. All these establish a nexus among the three (RA, MMU and the Church)
CAUSES OF BREAK-UP IN RELATIONSHIP
Below is a list of identifiable factors capable of leading to a break-up in relationship between RA and the MMU. This often happens at the leadership level.
- Lack of Mutual Respect – especially on the part of the RA boys to the father (or fathers – MMU) or to the Church pastor
- Desire for Self (selfish interest) – this applies to all parties -.chuch leadership, MMU leaderdhip and RA leaders.
- Non-recognition of the Growing Independent Mind of the Boys – especially by the fathers or church pastor.
- Abdication of Responsibilities – this applies to both side especially the boys who will want support from the fathers whom they are not available to support also. Ditto for the Church.
- Trust Failure – from all parties involved
- Indiscipline/ Hard Heartedness – on the part of the boy i.e. exhibition of social vices behaviours like: arrogance, rudeness etc.
- Struggle for Control/ Dictation – on the part of the fathers or senior RAs on the junior ones or by the Church pastor.
- Financial Matters – especially where the RA leadership is not accountable and when the boys complain or where the fathers want to take over the RA purse.
- Unproductiveness – especially when the fathers/ Church see no results or dividends on their physical and spiritual investments on the boys.
- Gap in Communication : this is key to relationship building even within the household of faith.
I shall draw my conclusion by identifying means of keeping the relationship running.
- Understand or see your involvement in RA/MMU is a calling (it is a Ministry) to promote the ideals of your local church.
- Understand the runnings/operational systems of the organizations and the Church
- Employ good accountability
- Constant reporting of developments/ carry along the MMU and the Church.
- Build relationship – the work should create intimacy between the leaders of men and boys, and between RA leaders and the Church leadership
- Avoid dictation i. e. the fathers
- Regular calling of family meetings ( for briefs and feedback )
- Seek counseling i. e. the boys
- Imbibe the culture of mutual respect i. e. the boys for the fathers (Exo. 20:12) and the pastor.
- Show unconditional love (rebuke in love) John. 4:2
- Imbibe a teachable spirit : all parties.
- Put God first (this kills all known forms of self and promotes Christ )
Coun. Ayo Adekunle
Marshal, Royal Ambassadors of Nigeria
Men’s Missionary Union,
Nigerian Baptist Convention.
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