DMM Ministry Spotlight: Dave Brown-WACMM
Periodically we want to highlight some of the members of NCMM and draw from their well of Proverbial wisdom. This month’s spotlight is on a longtime NCMM Member and friend, Dave Brown. We have asked some of these sages a few questions that they have responded to. Dave’s response to those questions follows his brief bio.
From the WACMM website: Dave is the Director and Pastor-at-Large of the Washington Area Coalition of Men’s Ministries (WACMM), a non-profit, non-denominational ministry to develop and encourage ministries to men in the mid-Atlantic region. Founded in 1999, WACMM is one of the oldest and largest coalitions of local men’s ministries in the nation. He served thirty years in the Federal Government holding senior policy and management positions in the U. S. Congress, the Executive Office of the President and the Executive Branch, where he was a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES). From 1981-1989, he served as an appointee of President Ronald Reagan. Dave is a 1969 honors graduate of Ohio University and the Senior Managers in Government Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He received his theological education from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. Dave and his wife Susan reside in Kensington Maryland and are members of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg MD. They’ve led a small group for fourteen years and are active in Jews for Jesus. They have three adult children: Stacey, Michael and Brian and two granddaughters Emma Lynn and Jocelyn Fae.
DMM: Why have you invested so much of your life reaching out to men when so many find men’s ministry hard and even unrewarding?
Dave: The only reason I’m doing this is that God called me into this work. And he has enabled me, empowered me to do it. Left to my own devices, I would’ve chosen to do something safer, maybe more popular. When I’ve tried to do ministry under my own steam, I’ve failed miserably and then re-learn the same lessons. When letting him to have his own way in me I’ve seen amazing things happen in my life and in the lives of other men. I obviously prefer the latter result but nevertheless I still struggle to die to self, as all the brothers do. Ministering to men is the hardest, most frustrating, and most challenging ministry in the church AND its most important. The Bible portrays men as foundational to God’s redemptive plan. In fact, the Bible has a “masculine feel”. John Piper said something like that a couple years ago and got horrific flak from cultural critics and many within the church. I firmly believe the biblical narrative shows, and certainly the historical data bears it out, that as go the men, so go the marriages, the families, the churches, the communities and the culture. That is why ministry to men is on cutting edge of spiritual warfare.
DMM: What has been your biggest challenge in leading men?
Dave: That’s easy – getting them to read with passion and purpose. Men today not only are reading less than ever before but what they do read is a pretty thin gruel of tips, techniques, bromides and moralism’s. Men today are the more biblically illiterate than ever before, including so many men who called themselves Christians. Consequently it’s incredibly difficult to lead men who don’t know God and don’t know themselves. Preaching and teaching men the gospel therefore is the most important thing I do for men. Christian men are literally Men of the Word. Scripture illumined by the Holy Spirit fuels us, ignites us and fans us out. Jesus says, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” “Nothing” is not a little something. Reading the bible (with good theology) reminds us that we’re both desperately needy and constant receivers of his grace and power.
DMM: Tell us one of your most memorable moments in being a men’s ministry maverick!
Dave: A dozen years ago when I was the men’s pastor at a 12.000+ church I was counseling a very troubled middled-aged man who had, among other things, a serious absent father issue. After working with him for a couple month’s, he called me one evening to say things were so bad, so hopeless in his ife that he intended to end it. When I arrived at his home I had to talk him out of plunging a butcher knife into his heart. It was a very long night with him but the Lord graciously intervened to restrain his impulses and to give me the countenance and the words to help him. The Lord showed me in that situation just how broken and desperate men can be and how ready I must be to give them hope that only be found in Christ Jesus. It also deepened my appreciation of the importance of ministering to men who carry deep, dangerous wounds from absent or abusive fathers.
DMM: I know there have been a lot but, if you can, tell us the biggest change you’ve seen in ministering to men over the last 10-15 years?
Dave: By far the most encouraging change I see in ministering to men is found in the rise of the Gospel Coalition movement. Its young, vibrant pastors and leaders from all kinds of churches and backgrounds are boldly preaching the power of the gospel in a masculine context. They understand, embrace and teach the doctrine of biblical manhood and womanhood. The movement is unflinchingly dealing with rampant gender confusion in the culture and the church. This includes rebutting those who distort or ignore what Scripture says about gender. Last week I was at one of the movement’s gatherings in Louisville where 8,000 pastors gathered, two-thirds of them in their twenties and thirties. This movement is where the young men are – young men eager to be authentic men who live in the light of the gospel’s freedom. I’m greatly heartened by the pastors in the vanguard of this gospel-driven ministry such as Darrin Patrick, Matt Chandler, Joshua Harris, Kevin DeYoung, J. D. Greear, Jared Wilson, Thabiti Anyabwile and Tullian Tchividjian. Most of these guys are younger than my own sons. But they are bringing men in their churches and those impacted by this movement back to the centrality of Christ and his gospel, which redeems our fallen masculinity. And that is a big deal that we should be locking arms with.
DMM: Why are you hopeful that what you’re doing is and will make a difference?
Dave: Certainly if I just looked at what’s happening in the world and even in many churches, there would be no end to my despair. But I know this to be true. When God’s word is faithfully studied and boldly proclaimed, it is always sufficient to accomplish God’s purposes in my life and the ministry he’s bestowed upon men. In Isaiah 55:11 he promises “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it”.I’m further hopeful because Jesus assures me in John 16:33, “…take heart, because I have overcome the world.” He doesn’t say “I will” but I “have” overcome. His victory was accomplished when he cried out on his cross “It is finished”. I believe what God says, trust it and rest in it and that to me makes all the difference in the world and in eternity.
DMM: Have you ever thought about quitting or getting out of men’s ministry? If so, what caused it and why didn’t you? If not, what has been the biggest factor keeping you engaged and passionate?
Dave: I continue to stand post until God relieves me. I am in a ministry transition which will take me into some deeper facets of ministry teaching, preaching and writing.
DMM: As you look ahead what revs your engine about men’s ministry (cuz we know it’s not the money :)?
Dave: I’m most jazzed when men truly discover, and in some cases rediscover, the beauty and power of the gospel, live in light of its freedom and thereby find their satisfaction in Christ and Christ alone.
DMM: Finally, if you were having lunch with a guy just starting a men’s ministry today, what ONE thing would you want to make sure he knew.
Dave: The Gospel!
Well said, Dave. Well said.