“The Measure of a Man” is one of those exceptions. It has never gone out of print for over 40 years!
This amazing publishing story began in 1973! Dr. Gene Getz had just launched the first Fellowship Bible Church the previous year in November. Word spread and growth was immediate in this new and innovative environment.
Reflecting on those early months, Gene shared his immediate concern that numerical growth parallel spiritual growth.
“I didn’t want a church that was a mile wide and an inch thick,” he said. “I was certainly not opposed to quantitative growth. After all, the first church in Jerusalem grew by leaps and bounds. But the New Testament is clear! All of the New Testament letters focus on spiritual growth—measuring up to the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-16).
Because this first Fellowship Church was growing so rapidly, Gene knew that they needed to move forward quickly in developing spiritual leaders. Paul’s words to Timothy in his final letter impacted Gene’s thinking:
And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2).
To be true to this biblical admonition, Gene announced a Bible study for men at a local motel. To his surprise, about 25 men showed up.
Early in this process, Gene suggested they study the 20 qualities of maturity Paul outlined for church leadership in 1 Timothy Chapter 3 and Titus Chapter 1. Interest was immediate!
Gene remembers: “I set the stage for this 20 week study by pointing out that these are not just qualities for men who serve as leaders in the church. Rather, they’re spiritual goals for every Christian man.”
Gene led the first discussion on what Paul meant when he wrote that men are to “be above reproach”—in essence to have a “good reputation.” And for the sessions to follow, he asked various men to lead the discussions. As a group they spent 30 minutes studying each concept in Scripture and followed these biblical insights with a 30 minute discussion on how they could apply these truths in their own lives.
Gene reflects: “The studies were dynamic and life-changing—for all of us! I began to journal what we were learning!”
Several weeks into this process, Gene faced a very unusual moment in his life. A publishing friend, Bill Greg stopped by Gene’s office. He had heard about Fellowship Bible Church—this new and growing ministry. However he simply wanted to know what was happening.
“When Bill asked me that question, I shared what I had been journaling in my notebook—what I was learning—along with these other men. And after what seemed like a brief moment, he said—‘Gene, I want this as a book.’”
Needless to say, this men’s Bible study became the basis for the book entitled The Measure of a Man which is also subtitled “20 Attributes of a Godly Man.” It has become a classic and has continued to minister to men for over 40 years.
In terms of its longevity, Gene often comments: “This hasn’t happened because I wrote it! I simply borrowed the outline from the apostle Paul—and we all know where he got it—directly from the Holy Spirit. By God’s grace, He simply allowed me to help bring this biblical profile of maturity into our contemporary cultures of the world. What Paul wrote originally is simply an explanation of the way Christ lived—and as we develop these qualities in our lives, we are practicing what Paul wrote to the Corinthians—“be imitators of me, as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
The latest edition of The Measure of a Man is published by Revell—a division of Baker Publishing Group. But it’s a uniquely new edition—a multi-media book that contains 42 QR codes enabling the reader to access 42 teaching videos that Gene has done just for this new edition. He introduces each chapter with a video message—to set the stage for a deeper understanding of each quality. He then concludes each chapter with another video message—to facilitate discussion and application.
In the first video, Gene shared this amazing email which he received from Coach Tommy Cox, who has been with the Texas High School Coaches Association. This is what he wrote:
As a young coach and husband, my marriage ended in divorce. That’s why a Christian friend and mentor recommended “The Measure of a Man.” These principles change my life. I remarried my wife and I have been happily married for 42 years. It also allowed me to model character to my coaches and players for 30 years. When I became a head coach and later an administrator for 13 years, these same principles guided my hiring and evaluations.
Gene then commented: “Needless to say, I was greatly encouraged with this message. To me personally, it was a divine moment—to encourage me to not only update The Measure of a Man one more time but to prepare these 42 videos to encourage other men to join me in our growth together in Christ!”