(RNS) — Pastor Tony Evans was mentored by male elders early in his life and is now a father figure himself to younger men.
The radio broadcaster and leader of Dallas’ Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship has written a new book, “Kingdom Men Rising: A Call to Growth and Greater Influence.”
The pastor of the predominantly Black megachurch outlines in the volume, released Tuesday (April 6), his belief that Christian men are responsible for changing themselves, their families, their churches and their communities — with divine assistance.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Evans, who is “definitely on the mend” from a February coronavirus diagnosis, turns his attention to other crises, including issues of racial justice, and writes about the spiritual roles he thinks men should have in addressing them.
Evans, 71, spoke with Religion News Service about the death of his wife, Lois, less than two years ago, possible succession plans and how he advised gospel artist Kirk Franklin after a family dispute became public.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Your book is about what you believe should be the role of men in church and society. But you start by remembering your wife, Lois, who you said was ready for her death in 2019 even if you were not. How has coping with her loss changed you as a man?
It’s caused me to go deeper in my faith, in my responsibility. I still have four children, 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. And I want to reflect my love for her in how I lead them and continue the legacy she left behind. Her fingerprints are all over my life, my ministry, and my family and I want to keep that legacy so I am going deeper with God. What I’m calling men to do, I want to be doing myself at a deeper level.
You say more than once in your book that going to church isn’t enough and there needs to be action and not just talk, that “God is still waiting for men to take the first steps of faith.” What steps are you hoping men will take?
When it comes to church, they must not only attend. They must serve. What area are you serving in your church that ministers to somebody else outside of you? You can’t be just a taker in and not a dispenser of God’s goodness.
In these days with much controversy and debate about women’s roles in the church and elsewhere — such as Beth Moore’s recent departure from the Southern Baptist Convention — where do you see women fitting in the picture as you write about “Kingdom Men Rising”?
First of all, we must recognize the equality of women in God’s created order. Women should be honored, they should be valued. They should not be abused or misused or downgraded by men. At the very same time, the Bible does give a distinction in roles, just like there is in the Trinity between God the Father and God the Son. So, we should utilize and recognize, appreciate and value the gifts, the talents, the skills and the calling of women, as they have been given by God. But what we should not do is allow those things to take away from what men have been called to do. There is this downgrading of men in society, much to our fault, of course, because of our failure, which has opened the door for a lot of the criticism of men, but men need to still own their role while recognizing and appreciating the creative genius God has given women.