Going Commando

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May 12, 2014

A large church recently held an outdoor event catering to all things “manly.” They pulled out all the stops, grilled every kind of meat you can think of, and had sponsors like power tool companies and muscle cars on display. Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor would have approved with multiple grunts.

The goal of this monstrous event? Discipleship.

At final count, over 800 men showed up. 800 men engaged in conversation, grinned as hot rods fired up, and rubbed elbows with local Christian radio personalities. The church used this opportunity to invite all within earshot of their microphones to a kick-off discipleship meeting the following week. How many men actually showed up?


Unfortunately, this is a true story, a statistical nightmare. Are we saying it wasn’t worth it for the one man who answered the call? No, but that’s hardly the point of this post.

n. commando [kəˈmaːndəu]:

(a member of) a unit of troops specially trained for tasks requiring special courage and skill.

n. pl. com·man·dos or com·man·does

A small fighting force specially trained for making quick destructive raids against enemy-held areas.

Notice the distinct differences between the singular and plural definitions. One commando is “a member of a unit,” while more than one is considered “A small fighting force.” One commando is “specially trained for tasks requiring special courage and skill,” while more than one is “specially trained for making quick destructive raids against enemy-held areas.” Don’t miss this – every commando is specially trained, indicating more in-depth training than the rest of the unit of troops.

“We are not a group designed to swell the pews of churches.  We do not exist to satisfy quotas…” (excerpt from our Manifesto) Why aren’t these our goals? Because these apparently weren’t Jesus’ goals. Though the masses thronged Him, He surrounded Himself with a chosen few, men He would go “commando” with throughout His three-year earthly ministry recorded in the Gospels.

These men, His disciples, were trained to destroy the works of the enemy. They weren’t wined and dined, but were invited to leave everything they knew. Personally invited by the King of Kings. They walked countless miles together. They broke bread together. In short, they did life together.

Commandos don’t just know each other in passing or at an occasional event sponsored by organized religion. They know each other intimately from trials they have faced — together.

Christ left His disciples because it was time. They had been trained — not enough to function as lone warriors, but enough to function as a unit. They, the disciples, were Jesus’ plan to change the world.

They still are. WE still are.

If churches, and every Christ follower for that matter, truly understood the power of “going commando,” they would do greater works than even Christ Himself. After all, isn’t that what He said? (John 14:12)


Definitions of Commando courtesy of thefreedictionary.com

  • http://www.bandofbrothersusa.net David

    Great post and a response that is, unfortunately, common among men in the church.

    In my mind, it is a clash of paradigms that we continue to see in the church and the boldness of regular men like you and I to boldly step into the alternative paradigm. The paradigms clash is one of (1)”build it they will come” programmic cool events with no real plan for discipleship or (2) intentional, relational, by invitation challenge to small groups of men to be a part of something bigger than themselves and take the next bold step in the manhood journey.

    There is nothing wrong with large events – we use large events or “watering holes” but are very intent on them having a purpose and being lead by “commando” leaders sensing the leading of the Holy Spirit when seeking to find new men that are ready to step into an intense but rewarding season of real training and discipline. We call them “fireteams” which is a military term for a small fighting unit – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fireteam

    Just as you note, it is within these small fighting teams that we see real transformation in men…. real discipleship that leads to them leading others and understanding the multiplication factor, one guy at a time… and real brotherhood that hones the focus on Kingdom advancement. Jesus had a commando group or a fireteam group that changed the world… the Holy Spirit is the same now as it was then and we have that same power.

    Thanks T.O.M

  • http://www.thirdoptionmen.org T.O.M.

    Once you get past the initial shock, “Going Commando” really isn’t all that uncomfortable now, is it? Kind of invigorating…

    “Real brotherhood.” “Kingdom advancement.” Now we’re talkin’! Thanks for the great and encouraging comment, David!

    We definitely sense a strong undercurrent of the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of men all over the globe. May it be strong enough to wash away the spirit of religiousness and that “But this is the way we’ve always done it” mindset that has gridlocked much of the church. He is calling out His elite fighters; we’re glad you’ve answered the call.

    To the King!

  • http://www.lancetullis.blogspot.com ltullis

    The time has come for a new generation of leadership in men’s ministry to emerge.

  • Brian Hawkins

    “Commandos don’t just know each other in passing or the occasional event sponsored by organized religion. They know each other intimately from the trials they face together on a daily basis.”

    I’d sure like to know where other commandos are in my area. You don’t get that kind of team spirit online, and as noted, a commando is a member of a unit. Alone, you can’t be a commando. What is a solitary commando? A sniper, perhaps? We have to pick off enemies one by one, and maintain a low profile. With training, we can get good at that, but a sniper can’t make “quick destructive raids against enemy-held areas.” That is a job for commandos. A thousand lonely snipers won’t win a single country. But a unit of commandos can take this world for Christ.

  • http://www.thirdoptionmen.org T.O.M.

    Brian- we are currently working on a web-based locator that will help you find other commandos in your geographical area (and we’re not just saying that; it’s a project we have been working on for quite a while- actually building a brand new application from scratch)! It’s called Engage™. Trust us; you’ll know when it’s operational.

    • Chris Gould

      I have been working with a group of guys on an idea called Foundry that I believe would really tie in well with Engage, give me an address to email to and I send you what we are working on.

  • http://thirdoptionmen.org/author/evandawson Evan Dawson

    @ltullis – My thoughts exactly. The only questions is, will those who have gone before us take on the role of mentor (which many of us need whether we know it or not), or see us as competition and give in to greed and pride?

  • Steve

    I would like more info on that I feel a fire building in the basement and I need some direction so I can unleesh it for the good instead.where do I start.so I an do what GOD is telling me.

  • http://www.ivedieddaily.com Chris

    I am so ready to Engage!

    “Everybody with your fist held high, lemme hear your battlecry!” -Pillar

    God bless and keep the faith!


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryan-Van-Slyke/653293402 Bryan Van Slyke

    I’ll admit, upon seeing the post on Facebook, I anticipated a story of some dudes pants getting pulled down and some how learning ‘humility’ or something from it all. You never know…

    Seriously, that’s a crazy statistic. Being a disciple means going further, deeper and being more Intentional about your walk with Christ and others. I’m ready to go commando (It will take some explaining though).

    Thanks for the post.

    • thirdoptionmen

      “Being a disciple means going further, deeper and being more Intentional about your walk with Christ and others.”

      Now there’s a quote!

  • http://twitter.com/SnortingHorses Dan Benson

    What exactly are we attacking as commandos? Most men’s groups don;t much more than mow the lawn or fix the leaky faucet at church. Oooh-Rah, my ascot. We’re supposed to be discipling/leading our children (Deut. 6) and wives (Eph. 5&6) and reaching out to love our neighbors. Let’s help each other do those things. Storm the gates of hell, baby!