Become a Godly Man: Grow in the Shade

Being a Godly Man isn't easy - but it's easier when it's done with other men. BetterMan offers a system where men can help other men grow in all areas.

Australian Buloke. Schinopsis brasiliensis. Schinopsis balansae. Lignum vitae. Piptadenia macrocarpa. What do they have in common? They are the hardest woods in the world. Used for things like commercial property and shipbuilding, their density, toughness, and durability make them the most sought-after material in the world. 

These trees grow in the shade of older, stronger trees when young. Under the shadow of like-hearted trees, the saplings cannot gorge on sunlight. Thus, their wood stays dense; it does not become porous and moist, avoiding disease. 

It is disastrous to take the tree and plant it in the middle of a field, void of shade from older, stronger trees. The sapling gorges on sunlight. The wood becomes airy, porous, and susceptible to all types of disease. The wood becomes worthless. Not even fit for Ikea. 

Nature has a fantastic way of teaching us practical principles. It's almost like someone designed it...the sapling that grows in the shadow of an older, mature tree, grows to be worthy of his calling. The sapling left to splurge on the light, alone, outside the reach of older mature brothers, is almost destined for ruin.

You get where this is going. A lot of men today are suffering from a disease, what I call "weak oak syndrome." Most men did not grow up with spiritual fathers. 41% of men today are growing up without an actual father. This does not include the countless men who grew up with a man in the home that was detached, aloof, and maybe even abusive. Most men today grew up as functional orphans who now wrestle with what it means to be a man.

Brothers, we need shade. We need stronger wood. My absolute favorite thing about BetterMan: we cast shade. We encourage strong oaks, no matter how imperfect, to come alongside saplings and show them the way. We give men a language and license to be the men God has called them to be, and we do it in the shade. 

6-8 oaks sitting around a table/fire/barn/garage/humidor discovering God's timeless design for manhood. Men growing together in the shade of other men. 

Strong wood makes safe homes. Rich marriages. Healthy Churches. Transformed cities. 


Chris Harper [aka Harp] is a speaker, writer, and disciple-maker serving as the CEO of BetterMan. Equipping more than 2500+ churches and 300,000+ men, BetterMan is calling the Church back to men.