We're delighted to share with you the first part in our FMS Foundations series. Over the next few weeks, we'll be looking at First Man Standing, exploring in a series of interviews how it came to be and what the journey ahead might look like. The series will mix passion and action with the knowledge and experience of some leading voices in the area of male violence towards women and men's ministry within the UK church.
We're delighted to be able to kick off the series with the Co-Founder of Restored, Peter Grant. You can read a summary below, but we'd encourage you to catch up on the whole interview - it's well worth it!
Bekah: Peter, do you want to say a little bit about your history with Restored, and what you do, and all of that shenanigans!
Peter: I've spent most of my career working on international development. I came into Restored through Tearfund, where I was the International Director. During that time I'd heard about violence against women... but it certainly wasn't something close to my heart.... In August 2008 I went to a conference when I listened to a woman from Namibia who told her life story. I can honestly say I've never felt the presence of God so fill a room. There was just a sense of God's heart on this issue of violence against women, a sense that the world shouldn't be this way. And an immediate calling to me... And that for me was the beginning of the journey that led to Restored.
Bekah: First Man Standing came along a bit later, how did that come about?
Peter: Mandy [co-founder of Restored] and I had two big questions really, where is the Church and where are the men? God was bringing home to my heart the reality, a new understanding, of the systematic and widespread nature of violence against women... We quickly came to the conclusion that men were indispensible to Restored... it has to be men and women standing together in this... I don't know where the name First Man Standing came from but I do love it! 'Last man standing' has this heroic element to it for men, but 'first man standing' is also more active, it's taking the initiative - it's saying I'm not just going to be a passive supporter here, I'm going to be the first man in my gym, sportsteam, church, family.'
Bekah: What are your hopes going forward?
Peter: We want to go wider. To get men listening, hearing, standing alongside women. We've just scratched the surface but we really want to change the world. But we also want to go deeper... Men are willing to stand up, but what's much harder is to take men on a journey. There's a whole lot more to be done, to ask what does this look like, over weeks, months, years, to grow into the kind of man God wants you to be.
Bekah: What would you say to anyone listening in about what they can do in their everyday lives?
Peter: You really can make a difference. Being there to listen, to support in practical ways, being a First Man Standing. I'd encourage you to take some time out to reflect on your own actions, anything you need to repent of, anything you'd do differently. I'd like you to sign up to First Man Standing! I'll take this on as something God is calling me to do... Just practically, I'm reminded how powerful it is when men work together. Those little things, it's encouraging when you share them... Bet that person that makes a difference.