Book Review: Play The Man, Becoming The Man God Created You To Be
As a Christian life coach, author, and speaker, it is my calling to help men, families, and young adults in their earthly walks as they continue to grow and develop into the family, church, business, and community leaders that God is calling them to become.
I am constantly searching for fresh resources to help me continue to grow/stretch in my own walk as a husband, father, professional, leader and, yes, as a life coach. I enjoy reading a wide variety of books, and subscribe to the notion that there is always something new to learn by picking up a book. You just never know what nugget, story, sentence, or phrase may illuminate something inside of you, and help you to transcend your very thought and being. As Pastor Mark Batterson says, “leaders are readers”.
Recently, I picked up a copy of Pastor Batterson’s book, “Play The Man”. I have read several of his previous titles, and have an appreciation for his writing style and for the content that he covers. While he is a Pastor by trade, and has demonstrated a deep working knowledge of theology, he also has a practical/relatable way of writing that helps readers to reach a high level of comprehension on topics that may otherwise be beyond their grasp. He writes with a relatable voice, rather than in an over your head religiously superior dialect. Play The Man is also presented in this easy reading style, and brings home an excellent blend of Christian principles/content/references, along with enough relatability to make it a call to action rather than a scolding lecture from someone looking down their nose at you.
The book is comprised of two main parts:
Part One: Play The Man (The Seven Virtues)
1.) Tough Love
2.) Childlike Wonder
3.) Will Power
4.) Raw Passion
5.) True Grit
6.) Clear Vision
7.) Moral Courage
Part Two: Make The Man (The Rite of Passage)
No Man's Land
The Discipleship Covenant
The Rite of Passage
Coach Shane holding his copy of, "Play The Man", by Mark Batterson
Throughout Part One Batterson does a fine job of presenting his thoughts regarding what it means to be a man, which he summarizes with the concept of, “play the man”. Several famous men from history are presented as examples throughout the book, including, Teddy Rosevelt, John Wesley Powell, Andrew Jackson, and George Washington. Relevant Bible passages, including stories and quotes from Jesus, are also appropriately referenced throughout the text. One such memorable excerpt appears in the Chapter discussing, “Tough Love”, where Batterson describes Jesus as throwing, “a temple tantrum”, when He got mad at the money changers who turned the temple into a den of thieves.
In Part Two, Batterson shifts gears from describing how a man of God should, “Play The Man”, to instead focus on how a man of God should, “Make The Man” — meaning, how a father should raise his son. This second part of the book is shorter in length, but equally robust in breadth. Batterson describes how he approached his own sons’ transition from boyhood to manhood, and presents a “Discipleship Covenant” that he used to guide a “Year of Discipleship” that he led his sons on as they approached their twelfth birthdays.
The “Year of Discipleship” entailed a Physical Challenge, Intellectual Challenge, and Spiritual Challenge. Batterson strategically designed each of the challenges to push his sons in those specific areas, while also supporting their growth, understanding, and appreciation of each discipline.
The “Discipleship Covenant” was an agreement that spelled out the challenges, and featured one component specific to the son and one component specific to the father. Batterson and his sons signed the covenants, which he says increased their buy-in and commitment to following through with them. It was refreshing to see, within this Pastor’s elaborately thought out program, Batterson’s honesty and humility again shine through. Instead of pretending that everything went according to plan, Batterson readily admitted that there were struggles within the “Year of Discipleship”, even sharing that at one point he felt that he had not held up his end of the deal, and ended up extending the program an additional six months in order to see it through properly. The realness revealed an endearing quality to Batterson, and hopefully will demonstrate to others that even famous Pastors struggle in their own walk as a parent from time to time. But, Batterson is also quick to acknowledge that we do not need to be perfect parents, instead pointing to the fact that, “I’ve challenged you to play the man and make the man, but these aren’t accomplished via human effort. They’re not things you do for God; God does them for you. You are the man, in Christ.”
Our country, our world, needs more men of God who are willing to put in the effort to be the best men that they can be (through God’s grace), and who are also willing to do whatever it takes to raise up the next generation of men in a manner that will position them to love and serve God with all of their mind, body, and soul. We can no longer sit back and expect our boys, young men, and even mature men to magically become the husbands, fathers, professionals, and leaders that God commands men to be, simply by taking them to church for an hour each week. We must be thoughtful (following God’s Word to us), intentional, proactive, and consistent in educating and cultivating boys to be men. And not just men, but men of God.
As Batterson writes, it is time for us to “Play The Man”, as well as “Make The Man”. His book is an excellent resource, another tool, to use in helping us think about what it means to be men of God. Of course the Bible, God’s Word, is the first and foremost source that we need to constantly read, research, meditate, and instruct on. The time is now, let us stand up and be the men that God has called and prepared us to be!
Coach Shane is a disciple of Jesus Christ, a husband, a father, and an entrepreneur. He is an International Coach Federation (ICF) trained life coach and graduate of the Certified Professional Life Coach (CPLC) program from the Christian Coach Institute. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree (BA) and Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA).
Coach Shane has a heart for helping men, families, and young adults in their earthly walks as they continue to grow and develop into the family, church, business, and community leaders that God is calling them to become. He does not teach about the Bible or religion as a trained Pastor or theologian would, but rather relates Christian principles to the everyday walk of earthly life, doing so from a layman’s perspective. Applying a Christian perspective to real life. For more information visit Shane Hansen, Christian Life Coach, LLC
PHONE: (920) 428-1564
FACEBOOK: Shane Hansen, Christian Life Coach, LLC