Posts in category Stepping Up products

Stepping Up as couples



I’ve led small groups in my home and in church for years, but the response from a group of ladies actually took me by surprise.

The Stepping Up 10-week video series is geared toward men, challenging them to be all God desires them to be as husbands and fathers. I was a little more than halfway through leading my third group of men through the study when I heard the voice of a woman in one of the sessions.

stepping up as couples

Chuck and Melissa Douglas

“It must be hard to be a man today.”

That sentence validated what I suspect so many men feel in our culture, and I wanted my wife to hear it. Melissa is very supportive, but she was not involved with the details of my leading this study. After all, this was my thing with the guys, not something for the ladies.

That is until we talked that evening.

I told her that I really wanted her to understand not only how the series was challenging me as a husband and father, but how most of the struggles that we men face are really common to all of us. That is when she suggested that we go through the study together with other couples.

Navigating the masculine landscape from a woman’s perspective

Most of the more than 100,000 who have done Stepping Up, have been men participating in either a small group or a weekend event setting for men. Still, we took the study to our couples’ small group at church with a question: “Can a wife learn anything from attending a video-based Bible study geared toward her husband?” In other words, would it work to do a study where we were stepping up as couples? After just the first session, we had our answer: a resounding “Yes!”

Rebecca Jarrard, one of those ladies, commented, “Women need to be clear on the pressures their husbands face daily so they can understand and encourage them in ways that fulfill their biblical roles as wives.” For Rebecca, attending the Stepping Up small group was a “peek inside the male mind.” The study helped her understand God’s perspective on the subject of masculinity, not the kind the world offers, but the biblical kind of masculinity for which God designed men.

Another friend and classmate, Chrissy Batson, thought that attending the study as a couple was a great idea. She did not shy away when she heard the study was originally geared toward men and contains mostly male-oriented subject matter. “That doesn’t scare me,” she said. “I’m always interested in my husband’s perspective, even if it’s not easy to hear.”

Coming into the study, she felt she was doing a pretty good job of understanding her husband, but also recognized her failures. She wanted to be more proactive in setting her husband up to be the leader in their home that they both wanted him to be.

Counter-cultural – in a good way

A surprise in presenting the study for couples was how the material applied to our daughters. Each of the women commented on their eagerness to understand real biblical masculinity—not just as a way to make them better mothers to their sons, but also to be better equipped to talk to their daughters about what “Mr. Right” really looks like.

Each couple who participated in the study agreed that they don’t want to just talk about real biblical manhood in their homes—they want to model it. They acknowledged that little exists in the current culture which resembles manhood and family leadership the way God intended. In the course of the study, a few of the ladies commented on ways that society is working against them and their children in their quest for building a family based on God’s design. Stepping Up helped them understand how important it is for husbands and wives to be proactive in teaching their children time-tested biblical principles that apply to every member of the family. They also came to understand how important it is to work together as a team to fulfill God’s purposes for their families.

The benefit of a wife … stepping up

Of course, we husbands are reaping a benefit as well. Several of the men expressed genuine eagerness for their wives to hear the same things they would have heard in a Stepping Up series for just men. One of the husbands said having his wife on the same page, as he works to achieve his goals for manhood, is invaluable.

“Knowing that she understands and empathizes with my struggles is deeply comforting. I know I’m not alone, but I have my best cheerleader at my side. Each of our wives wants the best for us as men, and their investment in this study proves their sincerity.”

Rebecca’s husband, Ken, put it this way, “We’ve always been partners, but now she understands how she completes me like never before. After 22 years of marriage my wife is beginning to understand the male mind in new ways—our struggles and challenges. What a benefit to my sons!”

The perspective of a group facilitator

Experiencing Stepping Up as a couple has given my Melissa a deeper understanding of how to come alongside me as I seek to pass along a biblical legacy to my boys. She is regularly encouraging me to live out the commitments I’ve made to my family. Rebecca and Chrissy are doing the same thing for their husbands.

As a group facilitator, I had a sense that the Stepping Up material would be valuable to the couples. But I really wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming response of our wives and the insightful discussion they contributed to the study. What is even more important is the sense of unity all the couples have gained by attending the Stepping Up series together.

One wife expressed it best when she said that going through the workbook study with her husband made them feel like they are part of a team.

A winning team.

Stepping Up as couples  - STEPSeekTruthYou have just finished reading the Stepping Up as couples post from the Stepping Up blog for men.

Stepping Up as couples  - STEPthinkHave you and your wife ever talked about what it means to be a man? What would that conversation look like?

Stepping Up as couples  - STEPembraceAsk your wife what she and your children need you to be as a man? Tell her what she does that empowers you.

Stepping Up as couples  - STEPPassItOnBe part of the Stepping Up 10-week series study with other men, or even with couples.

– – –

stepping up as couplesChuck Douglas earned a Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. A former police officer, Chuck authored a study in the Homebuilders Couple Series, Protecting Your First Responder Marriage. Chuck enjoys spending time outdoors with his family, hunting and fishing near their home in the North Georgia mountains. He and his wife Melissa have been married for 22 years and have been on staff with FamilyLife since 2001. They have four children.

 

What makes a leader?



In creating the Stepping Up men’s video series, FamilyLife interviewed men in the New Orleans French Quarter, asking the following question:

“What makes a leader?”
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Some of the guys in the video were on target with their answers, others were a bit off. Below, we’ve pulled some quotes, not from just any guy on the street, but from some men who have been intentional about their leadership.

. . .

“If you look in Ephesians, Chapter 5, and you look at the list of qualifications, really, for a husband — you look at this picture of what it means to be a Christ-like leader — basically, to lead a wife as Christ leads the church. You find that the picture is not just about a guy who pounds his chest and says, ‘Me man; you woman — me speak; you do.’ He’s to lead in love. He’s to lead in the Word. He’s to lead in righteousness. He’s to lead in selflessness, and he is to lead in intimacy.

“Most guys don’t understand servant-leadership from that perspective. So, it’s very important that when we talk about the way a husband is supposed to lead, we don’t just take the culture’s definition of leadership and superimpose that on the Scriptures. We have to get into the Word of God to determine what biblical leadership in the home looks like; and then look for an individual who understands that, as opposed to just the cultural norm.”

– Voddie Baucham, from “Discovering Biblical Leadership,”  FamilyLife Today® radio broadcast

“The statue is of William Leftwich. It is a statue of a man, with one arm pointed to his left — his rifle is in that arm — his body is clearly running in the direction of his outstretched rifle. His right arm is crooked; and it is beckoning those who, although unseen, are behind him. His head is pointed back at them. You can tell he’s yelling something. Below that statue, it says simply, ‘Follow me!’

“And that, I think, is a phenomenal picture of leadership. It is: ‘If you want to know where to go, watch me. Follow me because I will be doing what I ask you to do, and I will be leading the way toward a mission that is worthy of being accomplished.’ This man, ultimately, died in Viet Nam because he went on every rescue mission for the Reconnaissance Marines that he sent out. One day, on the rescue mission of the men he commanded, his helicopter was shot down and he died. He was doing exactly what he asked his men to do. When he said, “’Follow me!’ they listened.”

– Donovan Campbell, author of The Leader’s Code, from “Characteristics of a Leader,” FamilyLife Today radio broadcast

“Two words — serve and lead — may seem like a contradiction, but they are inseparable according to Scripture. While the Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:23 that ‘the husband is the head of the wife,’ he quickly puts to rest any notions that this leadership allows any form of selfish male dominance. He completes the sentence with ‘as Christ also is the head of the church.’ Then the passage goes on to say that husbands should love their wives ‘just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her’ (verse 25).

“This paints a picture of leadership that is contrary to how the world views it. A man is called to be a servant-leader — to take responsibility for his wife and children and to put their needs ahead of his own. He is called to demonstrate selfless, sacrificial love — the type of love we see in God toward his children.”

– Dennis Rainey, “5 Ways Men Need to Step Up”

Super Saturday successes



Here are some early reports from Stepping Up Super Saturday events from around the country. We’d love to hear a report or comment from you if you were part of the Stepping Up Super Saturday in some way.

If you missed Super Saturday, no problem. Find out how to go through Stepping Up with a group of guys by visiting SteppingUp.com.

Super Saturday by the numbers

  • More than an estimated 600 events hosted on or around 2/1/14
  • Estimated over 10,000 men attending
  • 133 known Stepping Up@Home events held
  • 316 men attending as reported by the Stepping Up@Home hosts

Some Super Saturday guest comments

  • Super Saturday success“I can now see the importance of doing this in a group session instead of by myself. Overall the need for this idea of manhood, ‘right of passage’, to be ‘mainstream’ is so extreme I feel challenged to help my family and friends and especially the church where the ball has been dropped!”
  • “Thus far the sessions have caused me to pause and opened my eyes and heart to the question at hand. My past has flooded through my thoughts as I have watched and listened to these beginning sessions. They have drawn me in and I long to discover more. Not only so that I can apply these principles as I begin a new chapter in my life, but so that I may also be prepared to minister to and guide my son and son-in-laws.”
  • Super Saturday success“Almost 50 men in Hagerstown, MD! Awesome program, FamilyLife!!!!”
  • “And the Rock Church in Scarborough, Maine is going to have changed lives, families, and marriages!”
  • “I can’t wait to share this resource with the men of my church. This material is exactly what we are looking for to help lead, transform, and feed the men of our congregation.”
  • “This is exactly what the Men’s Leadership Team at my church identified as a need last week. This material is right on target and a great need.”
  • “If this session doesn’t get you motivated in one way or another for the way we as men are to live our lives, then you need to start over! Very good I will be watching these videos again tomorrow! Thank you for this and I am only on session 1!”

Make champions on Super Saturday



Super Saturday facemask videoWhile the numbers weren’t anywhere close to the 164 million who watched last year’s Super Bowl, the effect of the 2013 Stepping Up Super Saturday will be felt for years to come.

Last year, at least 23,000 men gathered around the nation and world, not to watch a championship, but to help each other become champions at home. They met in homes, churches, places of business, and on college campuses. They gathered in groups from a handful to a hundred in all 50 states as well as in Hungary, Mexico, and the Cayman Islands.

And on February 1, the day before this Super Bowl, many of those men will be leading new groups of men through FamilyLife’s one-day Stepping Up™ Video Event. They will follow the lead of men from last year who organized events in their own communities — guys like Frank Johnson and Tony Dronkers — who hosted an event in the Washington DC area to help fellow pastors and men’s ministry leaders. That enabled men to jump start their own churches’ ministry to men. And those men are likely to be leading others through the Super Saturday event next month.

One of last year’s events was organized by a 16-year-old named Westley and two of his friends who had been through Stepping Up material with their church small group leader, and now wanted to encourage and equip other teens to step into their new role as young men.  Fifty teens and grown men ended up being impacted by that event.

Our communities need men who understand God’s unique design and calling on a man’s life and want to share that with guys who are in desperate need of vision, teaching, encouragement, and accountability. The one-day Super Saturday event is a way to get men started on a clear path to courageous manhood.

You can be that catalyst for your church, business, or community. Visit the Stepping Up website to find out where there are events near you. Or better yet, host your own event and  invite men in your circle of influence. All the materials you need to put on an event are available through the website (and right now at more than half off). Videos that give guidance and ideas for pulling it off are also available through the site.

If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment or question on this blog, and we’d be glad to help.

May God bless you as you lead in your home and come alongside fellow believers to help them do the same.

If a play’s a winner, run it again



Maybe you’re one of the many thousands of men who did the Stepping Up Super Saturday event last year. Or maybe you have been part of a weekly Stepping Up men’s video study group.

Run it again.

Why Do STEPPING UP more than once?

run it again

Jeff Kemp with receiver Jerry Rice

When I was with the San Francisco 49ers, we had a play we called Brown Right, Fox 2, Z Post. My receiver ran a post route behind the free safety, who had bitten on the run-play fake. I threw the ball and the receiver caught the pass for a touchdown.  It was a huge help to our team that game, not to mention that Jerry Rice and I loved running that play.

Not too long after that, the coach suggested we run the play again.

What? Again? So soon? We just ran that?

Well, he called the play again so we ran it again … many times, in fact.  It scored five more touchdowns in a six-week stretch of games. Of course, it didn’t look exactly the same, and the players on the field changed a bit each time. But it worked. It was awesome. It scored and it helped our team to WIN.

Maybe you’ve already done a Stepping Up men’s video study. Why would you do STEPPING UP again?

Because it was fun. Guys loved it. It changed lives. It got guys into groups talking about life and Jesus. It gave your church and men’s group a big WIN.

Manhood and discipleship are not one-time events. Stepping Up could be run three times a year in a church and it would not be too much. After all, we retain only 10-20% of what we learn each time. Plus, new guys are always brought and impacted. Friendships are forged, issues are dealt with and manhood is displayed. Men accept Christ and catch vision to disciple their families and other men.

So, as they say, if a play is a winner … don’t forget to run it again!

To find out more about participating in the Stepping Up Super Saturday event the day before Super Sunday, or about doing a video study, visit the Stepping Up website, or just contact us for more information.

Super Saturday: A day before the big game



Experts include Bill Bennett, Tony Dungy, Crawford Loritts, Dennis Rainey and many others

If there was ever a time when men need vision for what it means to be a godly man, this is it. Imagine if we could call men from all walks of life to become courageous, godly leaders in their own lives, marriages, churches, and communities. Well, we can. And it all starts with you.

On the Saturday before the Super Bowl, we’re calling on thousands of churches across America to host a Stepping Up Super Saturday: one life-changing day that could turn the tide for men in your ministry, and across America.

Stepping Up Super Saturday proudly presents the Stepping Up Video Event, a DVD-based kit designed for an all-day event. High quality DVDs deliver dramatic stories, humorous vignettes, man-on-the-street interviews, and expert teaching from the more than two dozen ministry leaders. Watch this video from FamilyLife Vice-President and former NFL quarterback Jeff Kemp to learn more about how you and the other men in your realm can step up on Super Saturday.

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Today’s men are shrinking back when they should be stepping up. Help them tackle the challenges of modern life head on by hosting Stepping Up Super Saturday at your church February 1, 2014. Sign up today, order your Video Event Kit  and….GAME ON!

What is courage? Meet Red Erwin



What is courage? It’s an easy question to ask. A bit harder to define. And even harder to live out. But it’s a desire in the heart of every man.

So, what is courage? Many famous men have offered definitions:

“Courage is being scared to death, and saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne

“Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.” –George S. Patton

“Courage is … a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.” – G.K. Chesterton

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important.” –Ambrose Redmoon

“Courage is knowing what not to fear.” – Plato

“Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.” – World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker

It was another young airman in the next world war that found himself in a situation that demanded courage. His story sets the tone for the entire Stepping Up men’s video series. “Red” Erwin didn’t chose the moment, but was thrust into it. He only chose how he responded to it. Watch that segment.

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Now that’s courage. Like Ambrose Redmoon put it, it wasn’t that Erwin wasn’t scared for his own life; it’s just that he judged the lives of his 10 fellow airmen as more important.

What is courage? Meet Red Erwin

Although his actions meant a lifetime of pain and disfigurement for him, he carried with him the right to wear the coveted Congressional Medal of Honor. The greater impact, though, is one that will outlast his 80 years of life on earth is the example he is for others.

In that way, courage is something we all have the opportunity to show. Very few of us will have the opportunity to be war heroes, but courage is about making the right choice in the moment, and most moments are just everyday moments. What decisions have you made in the day-to-day of life that have shown courage?

What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

A new battle for godly manhood begins



Imagine if we could call men from all walks of life to become courageous, godly leaders in their own lives, marriages, churches, and communities. Well, we can. And the new battle for godly manhood starts with you.

Super Saturday battle for godly manhood - FamilyLife Stepping UpFamilyLife proudly presents the Stepping Up Super Saturday Video Event, a DVD-based kit designed for an all-day men’s event. High quality videos deliver dramatic stories, humorous vignettes, man-on-the-street interviews, and expert teaching from 12 renowned men’s ministry leaders, like Dennis Rainey, Robert Lewis, Tony Dungy, and Bill Bennett.

On the Saturday before the Super Bowl®, you can host a life-changing one-day video event that will call and equip men to Step Up to godly manhood! It’s easy, we’ll show you how.

We’re praying that thousands of men across America will host a Stepping Up Super Saturday: one life-changing day that could turn the tide for men in your community, and across America. Last year over 20,000 men attended a Super Saturday Video Event with rave reviews.

“Loved the event. I only heard positive comments from the men in our church. It was well done, we could do it for a reasonable cost, and had 60 men involved in a church of 350 (men, women, and children.) That’s pretty good. I think it hit where the men were at. In the closing comments we had 10-12 men share they were deeply challenged by it. I could tell by their comments that the material struck a chord through which the Holy Spirit is working.”

Men Stepping Up — A Super Saturday recap



Four weeks ago, we were in great anticipation of the Super Saturday Stepping Up event that was about to explode across the nation with more than 23,000 men attending more than 1,000 events from Alaska to Florida and New Hampshire to Hawaii.  Though the fervor has died down, the stories that came out of that great event are uncovered almost daily.  This past week, FamilyLife sent out their newsletter, The Family Room with an article about what happened on Super Saturday.  We thought it would be good to share some of the stories that we’ve captured at the one month mark after the event and hope you are continuing to be encouraged by what God did in so many men’s lives that day.

We know there are more events happening.  If you have an event and want to draw attention to it, don’t hesitate to share your Stepping Up event on our Facebook Page – MenSteppingUp and we’ll post it so that as many men as we can reach know about it.  Additionally, if you are starting a follow up study (like our Stepping Up 10 week video study), share that as well.  Events are great.  They are catalytic and can energize a community, church, or neighborhood.  But, eventually, the energy from the event fades and the only way any movement can be sustained is by leaders stepping up and making it happen.  Tell us those stories as well on our Facebook Page or in the comments below.  Celebration is best done together!  Enjoy the stories of what happened on February 2, 2013 and what God did and continues to do in homes, churches, and communities around the country.

Men Stepping Up - Super Saturday event

Men Stepping Up on Super Saturday

History was made on Super Bowl Sunday, February 3, 2013, when a record 164.1 million fans tuned into CBS and watched the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31. But the Ravens weren’t the only champions that weekend. The day before, on Super Saturday, an estimated 23,000 men gathered together for FamilyLife’s one-day Stepping Up Video Event.  These men were not yearning for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Instead, they want to be champions at home.

They met in churches, houses, offices, and on college campuses. They were at retreat centers, restaurants, prisons, and military bases. They met in all 50 states and around the world: in Budapest, Hungary …  Mexico City … the Cayman Islands.

Regardless of where the men gathered on February 2, or the size of their group, they all were taught how to step up courageously to be God’s man. They watched DVDs featuring ministry leaders like Dennis Rainey, Robert Lewis, Matt Chandler, Mark Driscoll, Voddie Baucham, and others.

Dennis Rainey, the president of FamilyLife, decided to show up unannounced at the Super Saturday gathering at FamilyLife in Little Rock, Arkansas.  He went because it was organized by a 16-year-old young man named Westley and two of his buddies. More than 50 men were in attendance there. “I wouldn’t have missed how three young men made an impact on their peers and men of all ages,” Rainey says.

Now stories are pouring into FamilyLife about how God worked through the Stepping Up event. Here are three:

Men Stepping Up - Super Saturday Event

Lake Ridge Baptist Church and Washington Area Coalition of Men’s Ministries (WACMM)

Pastor Frank Johnson of Lake Ridge Baptist Church (Lake Ridge, Virginia) teamed up with WACMM’s conference director, Tony Dronkers, to host a Super Saturday Stepping Up event. WACMM is focused on helping not only pastors, but also the leaders of their men’s ministry. Dronkers says that Super Saturday was a great fit. Pastor Johnson wanted to jump start his ministry to his men, and WACMM was able to bring some other churches together to share the opportunity.

So on February 2, more than 60 men watched the Stepping Up videos at Lake Ridge Baptist Church. Twenty-three were from the host church; the rest were from the community and other small churches in the area. One man drove about 100 miles with his son to attend.  “I loved the conference and the impact it had in reminding us who we are called to be as men of God,” he said.

For Lake Ridge Baptist Church, Super Saturday was a starting point for a men’s ministry. Pastor Johnson is now leading the Stepping Up follow-up series for the men in his church. Twelve men attended the first session. One of them, Scott, brought his three sons, and said, “I am using this as part of the answer to God’s call to raise my sons to be courageous young men.”

Crete Berean Church (Crete, Nebraska)

Pastor Kyle Bond had been praying that God would direct him to a simple curriculum that could be used as a catalyst to get men motivated to being the men that God has called them to be. He believes that Stepping Up was an answer to his prayer.

Eighteen men, ranging from 27 to 82 years of age, came to the Super Saturday event at Crete Berean Church. Pastor Bond said, “To a man, they have all said it was great and challenging.” One of the men had recently …

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A father, a son, and a lifelong lesson



lifelong lesson - Stepping Up

Bob Helvey, one of my colleagues here at FamilyLife, tells a great story about another father who stepped up and was intentional in training his son with a lifelong lesson.

When Bob was 10, he was a paperboy, and on one cold Virginia night, a gust of wind knocked him off his bike. Then he watched in shock as his bundle of newspapers came apart and blew away.  At that point, this boy had a choice: He could step up, be responsible, and retrieve all the papers, or he could give up and go home.  Bob did what boys do — he pedaled home.

When he arrived, his father said, “You sure finished your paper route early.” Bob explained what had happened, and then his father said, “Get your coat, Son, and meet me in the car.”

They drove to the scene of the crime, and Bob felt some satisfaction when he didn’t see any newspaper pages on the ground. But his dad parked and told Bob to follow him. They walked to a nearby house, where they were greeted by a man who invited them inside. There Bob was confronted with an amazing sight — an entire room full of newspaper pages! With hardly a word, the two men helped the young boy piece every newspaper back together. Then Bob proceeded to complete his paper route with his father as chauffeur.

A Lifelong Lesson

That character lesson was so powerful that Bob wrote about it 40 years later in a tribute to his father. “It was a little annoying that Dad didn’t give me a lecture,” Bob wrote. “He knew he didn’t have to. The everlasting warmth I felt of a difficult task completed, a duty fulfilled, was its own mentor.”  Bob wondered how his dad had known just where to go that day. Years later he learned that, after the accident, the neighbor had called his father to complain about his “good for nothing” son. “Together they conspired to teach a young boy a lifelong lesson,” Bob wrote. “It worked. The neighbor must have been a father too.”

God gives us a unique opportunity as fathers to join Him in what has to be one of the most noble, transcendent assignments we’ll ever have as men: He gives us the privilege of joining with Him in shaping the next generation of men. But we won’t fulfill those responsibilities unless we’re willing to step up and be intentional in how we raise our sons.

Copyright (c) 2014 FamilyLife.

STEPSeek - 10-point checklistYou just read a post by Dennis Rainey, “A father, a son, and a lifelong lesson” on the Stepping Up blog.

STEPThink - 10-point checklistWilliam Bennett, author of The Book of Man, talks about his shaping influences as a boy on FamilyLife Today.

STEPEmbrace - 10-point checklistBuilding character starts with “Modeling Integrity to Your Child.” Read the article on FamilyLife.com.

STEPPass - 10-point checklistThis story is featured in Stepping Up™  video series. Consider leading a father-son group through Stepping Up.

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