Okay. This question is for the wives reading this post. Have you ever walked out of a particularly "heroic" film--one in which the main male protagonist saves lives, kills all the bad guys, gets the girl, withstands great pain and is funny and engaging while experiencing hardship and pain--and than notice that as you leave the theater, your husband is walking a little taller, striding a little longer and puffing his chest out a little more?
If you have sons you will notice a more pronounced version of this phenomenon when walking out of a theater after a movie like Superman. You will see your son leaping off of ledges and newspaper boxes and trying to carry his sister to safety (or punch her as the "villain"). He'll also run really fast down the sidewalk with his head down and his fist out while you yell, "Johnny, stop that--you're not Superman! You're going to hurt yourself."
What is that? Why do men do this? Are they crazy? Is this something that therapy can treat? No.
It's just the "Hero Effect" and there's nothing you can or should do to stop it. Its a man thing. For some reason, being present to and experiencing someone else's greatness up close and personal, even if its not real (ala a movie) helps create a sense inside a man that he is capable of more than he thought and that he's ready to attack life with a new passion and power. In some strange way, a man gains a portion of the strength, courage and power from being up close to the hero's heroism.
Now "Hero Effect" after a movie is short-lived, to be sure. It wears off in a couple hours and then life and the men in your life return to "normal" (whatever that is.)
But think for a minute about the effect of living and breathing and sharing space with real heroes. What if men were able to spend time with real men who are attempting great things, living beyond the status quo, taking on impossible odds and keeping a great attitude in the midst of it? I believe that kind of experience causes men to become more heroic in a lasting way in the real world.
David was that kind of man. David had a big time "Hero Effect" following his life around. The Bible takes several chapters to recount all the heroes that served under David's leadership. Big heroes seem to disproportionately foster lots of other heroes in their wake. They can't help it.
At it's best, I believe this is what the church is called to do. To be a hero factory. To foster an environment of risk, challenge, passion and spiritual conquering. Don't get confused--I didn't say that church's should have a "Superstar Effect". Superstars are all about themselves, tend to be fragile, attention-hungry and fickle and they tend to create silly posses and a wake of wannabes and imitators.
Heroes, though, whether quiet or loud, tend to produce the "Hero Effect" in those around them--they actually make other heroes. And I believe that anyone, with the courage and discipline, can act heroically on behalf of others for the good of a great cause and by it, produce the "Hero Effect" in others.
I'm praying for a church full the "Hero Effect".