Man on the Run

Helping Hyper-Hobbied Men Recognize the Best Things in Life

About The Book

Do you have a hyper-hobbied man in your life? Maybe you are a hyper-hobbied man. Hobbies and adventurous pursuits are good for the soul, says author Zeke Pipher. In fact, the human spirit was designed for challenge, stimulation, even risk. So why a book about hyper-hobbied men? Because too much of a good thing can pull men away from the even more important things—like family, friends, and church.

But there is another way. Men are capable of living with passion and zeal while at the same time remaining balanced and faithful to their most important relationships and priorities. They can learn to run hard and run well, while running after the right things. To do this, men need the help and support of their wives, children, friends, and greater community. If these basics are in place, watch out. Everyone wins when men are on the run.

Passionate, pursuit-driven men can make great husbands, fathers, friends, and colleagues precisely because of their tenacious tendencies. Yet the qualities that make men pursue adventure above all else can wreck their lives; overzealous men end up losing out on the best things in life. How to have the best of both worlds is what this book is all about.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Man on the Run includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your conversation. The suggested questions are intended to help your group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

 
Introduction

Dr. Ezekiel Pipher, a Pastor at an evangelical church in Nebraska, examines the concept of men whose extreme passions and pursuits drive a wedge between them and their families. When men pursue their hobbies at the expense of their family lives, all family members can suffer extreme consequences.  Pipher examines how this happens and what men can to do turn their attention back to their families without giving up the activities they enjoy most.  Dr. Pipher helps men and women understand why men so doggedly chase these pursuits in the first place, and what they can do to keep their family lives intact.  Man on the Run seeks to motivate men to live their lives with happiness, enthusiasm, and balance.

Topics & Questions for Discussion
 
1.  Why did you choose to read or discuss this book with your small group? What initially drew you to this topic?

2.  Are you familiar with men who pursue their hobbies at the expense of their family lives, either within your own family or among your acquaintances? How have you witnessed these men’s behavior affecting their relationships?

3.  Pipher writes that “[t]he desire to belong to a brotherhood of friends is rooted very deep in the hearts of men.  When a man believes that excelling in an interest or career will enhance this sense of belonging, he’ll put tremendous effort into that endeavor.”  How is the way that women socialize different than this description of men’s form of socialization? How would you describe what is most important to women in terms of relationships with other women? Why might these differences account for some of the difficulties men face that Pipher examines in his book?

4.  Are there any hobbies not covered in this book that you think are particularly demanding of men’s time? Are there any specific hobbies or pursuits that have caused a problem in your family? Discuss.

5.  Pipher writes of his years in college and the dissatisfaction he felt with his life until he turned to God. He writes, “I wanted to do what was right. I wanted to be a good man. I just couldn’t find the power to transform myself. This flip-flopping between who I was and who I wanted to be was exhausting.” Later, he writes, “I was tired of being in control of my life. I’d journeyed to the end of myself and didn’t have the legs to go further.” Do you agree with or relate to his experience? Have you ever found that giving yourself over to certain religious beliefs or other ways of thinking has made your life easier? If not, why do you disagree with this way of thinking? How can letting go of old habits or changing your perspective be beneficial?

6.  Pipher lays his own life bare in this book, writing of incidents when he behaved less than admirably—from inconsiderate things he said to his friends to problems in his own marriage. By being candid about his own troubles and missteps, does he build a stronger case for others to follow his advice? 

7.  Do you think the phenomenon described in this book is limited to only men, or have you known women who neglect their families in order to chase their own pursuits? Why might this be more of an issue for men than for women?

8.  Pipher describes some of the activities that some men pursue as “addictions” and “obsessions.” These terms indicate that the men are “no longer in control.” Do you agree? What would you say are some of the essential characteristics that define addiction and obsession?

9.  “Much like having a boil scraped off or a tooth extracted, the transformation of our hearts is not fun.” Why do we often fear the pain of change, even when it might be a lesser pain than what we are currently living with? Why is it sometimes more “comfortable” to live with unhappiness than to take the steps to make a change? Can you think of a time where you especially resisted change? What was the outcome?

10.  Would you say the audience for this book is primarily men or women?  Can you think of anyone in particular to whom you would recommend this book?

11.  Do you have any of your own advice or techniques to help individuals in your life to better balance their passionate pursuits with their family life? What are they?

12.  What did you find most helpful about this book?  Were there particular elements or anecdotes that stood out to you?  Is there anything you think Pipher could have explored in more detail?  Did you come away feeling that you have helpful suggestions to apply to your own life?


Enhance Your Small Group


1.  If you liked Man on the Run, check out books on similar topics such as The Measure of a Man by Gene Getz, Wild at Heart by John Eldredge and Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker.  These titles explore the roles of men within their families, their communities, and their churches.

2.  In the spirit of Man on the Run, organize a calendar of events for your small group where you each pick one of your favorite activities to do with the group. Whether it’s sports, arts and crafts, cooking, or just having a picnic, you can spend time doing one thing that everyone enjoys—together!

3.  Listen to Dr. Pipher’s sermons here: http://heartlandefc.org/category/sermons/. Which sermon did you relate to or enjoy the most?

About The Author

Micah Unruh

Zeke Pipher is the senior pastor of Heartland Evangelical Free Church in central Nebraska. His sermons are broadcast each week throughout central Nebraska, northern Kansas, southern South Dakota, and western Iowa. His articles and photos appear regularly in several national sports magazines, including Deer and Deer Hunting, Bow & Arrow Hunting, and Petersen’s Bowhunting. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Talbot School of Theology and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He speaks regularly to men on issues such as marriage, friendship, parenting, and the life of the sportsman.

Raves and Reviews

“If you or someone you love is suffering from the tricky obsession targeted in Man on the Run, you will find that the author is sympathetic (he’s been cured), knowledgeable (he’s an experienced counselor) and practical (no hocus-pocus here). He also has a hair-trigger sense of humor that puts the spoonful of sugar into the right medicine. I highly recommend this book, not only to all who are afflicted with hyper-hobby syndrome, but also to those who want to help them.”

– Warren W. Wiersbe, author and former pastor of Moody Church, Chicago, IL

“Because far too many men have allowed their passion for the outdoors to cause them to miss the target when it comes to hitting the all-important mark of being a good husband and father, a book like Man on the Run is a must resource. The good news about this book is that it is written in a language that sportsmen and men of all types will readily relate to and clearly understand. This vital feature of the text is true because Zeke Pipher has been there. He has made the painful misses, but he’s also successfully dialed in his sights and now enjoys the fruit of change. His longing to help his fellow men know that success is as strong as the guidance he has written into this book."

– Steve Chapman, author of A Look at Life from a Deer Stand

“Man on the Run contains some insights that are very important to most men. All of us at times let our occupation or our hobbies consume us to a degree that is unhealthy in terms of maintaining balance in our lives, particularly as it relates to our families. Zeke Pipher writes informatively about a way to keep things in perspective and to maintain a healthy relationship with our wives and our children. I recommend it highly.”

– Tom Osborne, athletic director and former head football coach, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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