Who Are My "300" For the MIGHTY Series?
As I gear up for my next series, I wanted to explore, define, and refine who are my "300".
This really is a "thinking out loud" piece that will potentially help others who need to come up with their own "300."
Let's look at the text from Judges 7:
2 The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ 3 Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained.
4 And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.” 6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water. 7 And the Lord said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.”
What are the two primary criteria?
First, God releases "whoever is fearful and trembling." These are the people who, in their hearts, didn't have the courage the battle. Perhaps they didn't have enough trust in God during this difficult season.
So the "heart" test for the 300 would be whether the person fears entering the new territory I want to bring them. The reverse would be the person who wants to enter into it.
So my territory is Reclaiming Manhood for the High-Performance Man. So there are some who are "fearful and trembling" about the topic. The negative version would be they don't really want to change. They don't want to enter the challenge of what it means to live more fully into the Gospel while pursuing a high-performance career.
Does the "fearful and trembling" work to rule out the prideful, the man who feels he does not need to strengthen his definition of being a man in a high-pressure environment because he doesn't see the slow assault upon his identity?
Does the "fearful and trembling" help me define the positive attributes of someone I want?
I would say that the attribute is someone has courage. Courage is what lets people take a journey into a new area. The "heart" of courage is to not have fear, following God's command to Joshua.
Not everyone is like that. Many people live in fear.
Even if your teaching is to help people overcome fear...there are some who fear being able to overcome fear!
The person who ventures forward and raises his hand and says, "I want to overcome fear" is the person to speak to...I think.
What those fears are, and what courage looks like, depends on the nature of your teaching and the topic. This is where getting to know that persona really well matters.
I know I am excited and resonate when Godly men are willing to risk being vulnerable because they see strength on the other side.
I know I get excited when a man begins to question the false promises of the world and seeks a greater Kingdom because his very soul thirsts for it.
I know the men who will thrive in this value the connections with other men, even if they don't really know how to get there.
Alright! Onto the next criteria.
God commanded Gideon to let the following people go:
“Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.”
The positive attributes were those "who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths" -- the 300.
This has room for interpretation. Visually, those who lapped and knelt did not face forward in readiness. They took their eye of the ball, so to speak.
The analogy with a dog suggested that these are men who served their flesh, whose god is their belly, tapping into a more animalistic side, than a spiritual one. Those who kneeled down had to dip their heads into the water, looking into it, rather than facing out, always ready.
I don't know. It seems like there is some practical wisdom behind God's filter. The man who remains ready, eyes forward, is not necessarily the strongest or most successful, but he is vigilant. He is ready.
The "300" for me is someone who is active, who wants to engage in the teaching, and is receptive to coaching.
They also "see" the landscape, which in this case, the implications in their life of not tackling the deep identity issues that affect their careers, their finances, and their relationships.
I would also say there's a "readiness" criteria: their life isn't in disarray, their emotions aren't wrecked; but they recognize there are areas that they can grow and improve.
I believe getting into the details of those categories, the stories, the actual words and pains, will also help.
But in the end, even you recognize and can speak to their pain, there is still something "else" that you need to articulate to get to the "300".
For me, the "courage": they have something inside of them willing to go into a new territory, and have a trust in God that advancing the Kingdom in this way is a priority.
They have a "readiness": they see the horizon looking forward, and perhaps tactically they aren't absorbed in something else immediate or urgent.
My "300" for "MIGHTY" have some of those attributes.
As you build out your "300", what are yours? Does it match these two categories and can you dig in deeper (deeper than I have here) in terms of what it actually looks like?
One way that I could probably go deeper is to explore the reasons why they are ready for this battle, and why their hearts are so full.
Hah, here's a thought: this critera seems to match Friday Night Lights' Coach Taylor's mantra: "Full Hearts. Clear Eyes. Can't Lose." Hm, that's pretty cool.
The power of the "300" is that you don't need, nor do you want, to appeal to everyone, to the masses. You need your "300" -- I guess some circles say you need your "1000 Fans" but same idea.
Cast for your "300" and see what you catch your net.
You may be surprised.