Where Are The Men?

20180407_120229[1]If you have a hundred men in your church, how big is your men’s ministry?  Sometimes our assumptions and paradigms limit us from seeing the bigger picture.  This is true with men’s ministry.  We need to understand how to maximize the kingdom impact of every interaction your church has with every man.

The second most asked question I hear is, “How can I keep the men involved?”  You are concern because the men are not coming to the monthly breakfasts or men only events and you are not sure why.  The most asked question is, “How can I get the younger men involved?”  Well, unlike a few decades ago when men seemed eager to gather together on a Saturday morning, men, especially younger men, are busier than they have ever been.  So, to answer both questions we must change our approach on how to reach the men to develop relationships thereby encouraging discipleship.

To do this we need to shift our thinking from the concept that only the men who attend the monthly breakfasts or a men’s only event is a part of your men’s ministry.  Start thinking of men’s ministry as an ‘all-inclusive’ men’s ministry; in other words, that every man connected with the church is part of the men’s ministry.  Begin by thinking and making a list of everything your church does that touches any man.  This will be a major paradigm shift for most churches.  But by doing this it will help to understand that anything a church does that touches a man’s life also impacts a man’s life.  When you begin to understand this, you will also begin to understand that everything the church does that touches men, is a part of men’s ministry or ministering to men.

To reach the men and help them grow in Christ we must go to where they are at.  I don’t remember reading in the word where Jesus said, “We’ll disciple you if you come to our activities or events.”  He said, “Go and make disciples.”  God is calling us to go to where our men are and disciple them there.  Jesus went to where the people were at and said, “Follow me.”

Disciple MakingPut on your thinking caps and begin to think of all the areas your men are involved.  Here are a few to get your thinking juices flowing;

  • Sunday School Teachers
  • Community projects
  • Youth Workers
  • Choir, Praise Team, or band members
  • Ushers or Greeters
  • Disaster Relief

Are there other areas men are involved in your church that we didn’t list?  You should be able to add to this this.

After you have compiled this list begin to think how can you minister to these men?  We need to be reaching every man that has any connection to the church.  Your surveys we discussed in the last article should include these men.

Next time we will talk about some ideas that you can do to reach these men once you discover where they are at.  From the man on the fringes to the man who is actively involved in the ministries of the church.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

Time to Start Planning

Discipleship GroupNow is the time to begin planning for your next year of ministering to men.  September is when most churches gear up for the next twelve months and you need to be ready to go when it arrives.  Before you even realize it, Fall of 2018 will be upon us.  It seems like yesterday we rung-in 2018 and in a couple of weeks, we will be halfway through the year.

I have discovered the churches that have vibrant ministries to men have a plan as they come out of the summer months and enter what is considered the traditional first month of Fall.  So start planning, NOW!

If you haven’t performed a survey of your men, this is the time to do it over the next few weeks.  You will need to plan a few weeks to conduct the survey as many men will be taking their families on vacation during the month of June and July.  You want to be sure you capture the thoughts of as many men as possible when you do the survey.  I would recommend you plan an annual survey since the desires of men will change with each passing year.  If you will click here the link will take you to a sample survey you can use or use as a template to create your own.  If you create your own, I would caution not to make it too complex.  You want the individual to complete the survey in just a couple of minutes.

Once the surveys are completed, here is how you use them;

  • Bucket the interest of your men. You will probably find the men in your church have varying interests.  You need to do all you can to target each one of those interests that have the attention of at least five men.  You may find that as you plan for those interests, there will be others who will show an interest also; rather it is a fellowship event or a study.
  • Be intentional in your planning. You do not want any man to feel left out.  That is hard; but, it is a goal to strive for as you seek to develop intentional relationships with every man.  You may not be able to plan for every interest but give it consideration.  It could be something that can be done the next year, so be sure to keep a list of those interests.
  • Use the interests to create multiple entry points. When you create those entry points in the area of a man’s interest, it indicates to him you care about him.  He will be more likely to participate and begin developing relationships that will help him grow in his walk with Christ.
  • Update your database. If you don’t have one – create one.  This helps the leadership team to know the men – or as a coach would say, know his players.  A coach must know his players, so he understands what skills the player needs to work on and how he fits onto the team.  This will help the leadership team to understand what studies men are looking for and activities to participate.

Next time we will talk about areas where you will find men in the church that most Ministries to Men don’t venture into to target men for the kingdom of God.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

Men’s Ministry Leadership Team

Discipleship Group

If a church desires to have a vibrant Men’s Ministry one of the most important attributes of the ministry is to have a leadership team that creates the foundation of the ministry. By ensuring a solid foundation is laid when developing a men’s ministry will result in the continued growth of the ministry even when there is turnover in leadership.

I have observed three types of Men’s Ministry leadership within the churches;

  1. The Event-Driven Leadership: The Men’s Ministry revolves around having various events – usually the same ones every year.
  2. The Leader-Driven Leadership: Centered around one person who make all the calls on the direction of the ministry. Generally, involves only those activities that interest him and that he is most familiar with.
  3. The Discipleship-Driven: This is where the team is focused on getting men into discipling relationships to grow them in Christ. Event activities are used to create a next right step for men to take into these relationships.

In most cases, types 1 and 2 usually morph into an Event/Leader-Driven type of Men’s Ministry. The concern with these Men’s Ministry types is that when the leader moves on, and is no longer in charge, the ministry dies.

The Discipleship-Driven Men’s Ministry is the type of Men’s Ministry every church should be striving to achieve. The concern is many men’s ministry leaders believe events is the means to the end. When our goal is to get men into discipling relationships by using the events to begin those relationships by giving the men a next right step.

The Leadership Team of a Discipleship-Driven Men’s Ministry (which actually becomes Ministering to Men) looks like this.

  1. Pastor: The pastor must have an enthusiastic involvement. This does not mean he leads or attends the leadership meetings, but he speaks into the lives of his men regularly from the pulpit encouraging them to be in a discipling relationship. He supports the leadership team giving them the resources to be successful. In everything the church does he evaluates how it connects with the men.
  2. Primary Leader: Rather you call him the Men’s Ministry Director or Coordinator or some other name this person needs to have a burden and passion to reach the men of the church and community. He should be a man who loves God, has a heart for men, and has the right set of gifts to lead other leaders.
  3. Leadership Team: Surrounding the primary leader with a team of men who shares many of the attributes of the primary leader. This is essential because one day the Primary Leader will move on to other ministry opportunities as God leads. Then one of the members of the Leadership Team can take the role of Primary Leader and the ministry to men will continue with a solid leadership foundation in place.

Man in the Mirror refers to this as the Three-Strands of Leadership for Ministering to Men; an involved Pastor, a leader with a heart for men, and leadership team members who displays the same attributes of the leader. The leadership team of a Discipleship-Driven Ministry is the foundation for any successful Ministry to Men.

Be Intentional With Relationships

Rocket ScienceRemember when you taught someone how to perform a task and you would tell them, “This is not rocket science?”  Well, after working in men’s ministry, coordinating events for men, discipling men, facilitating men small groups, and meeting one on one with men, let me tell you – ministering to men IS ROCKET SCIENCE!  I don’t say that to discourage you put to let you know that I know the frustration many of you may have as you seek to get your men involved in the ministries designed to bring men into a deeper walk with Christ.

Recently I was talking to someone who had, a few weeks earlier, started a small group and I could tell in his voice there was a little frustration.  This was the first time he had ever attempted to lead a group of men.  I encouraged him to just be obedient to the calling God had placed on his life and let God do the work.  Continue to pour his life into these men, praying for them and being there for them.  Even if only one man shows up, that would be who God would want you to share life with at that moment.  Paul said it best to the people of Thessalonica when he wrote in his second letter to the Thessalonians, “Being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (2 Thess. 2:8).

Discipleship GroupSo often we think we need to have a deep bible study when we get our men together but sometimes we need to just do life and allow God to open the opportunities for us to share the gospel or a word of encouragement.  I meet with a group of men once a month to have breakfast just to talk and let them share what is happening in their life, getting to know them, and opening myself up to them; not really having any agenda.  There is another group I meet with once a week as we study through the disciplines of a godly man.  All for the purpose to develop relationships and to impact the Gospel of Christ in their lives by either just sharing life or speaking the Word directly into their life.

When I first began to work in Men’s Ministry I thought we had to have big events and get as many men to attend as possible.  My reasoning was if we had these events and if we could get men to attend, men’s lives would begin to change.  However, I quickly learned this is only a small piece of the puzzle.  There is nothing wrong with big events and they do have a place; but, these events should be used to begin connecting with men.  From these events you should always be looking for ways to encourage men to take the next step; to become involved in a intentional discipling relationship.

Working with men is all about developing those relationships for the purpose to disciple.  Even putting yourself out there to share some of your life’s successes and failures.  Men need to see you as being just as fallible as they are.  They need to see that you have overcome situations in your life and your trust is rooted in your relationship with Christ.  When men see you as one of them, then they will begin to open-up.  It doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time.

Often we use Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” in our respective men’s ministries.  There is truth here, but the only way this can be applied in our lives is to spend time with other men who have a passion to grow deeper in a relationship with God.  Other men, who we will give permission to challenge us when they see us missing the mark; holding us accountable in our walk with Christ.  This can only occur if we are intentional about developing discipling relationships.

Let me encourage you, if you do not have such a man in your life; find one.  You will be blessed to have that man who will challenge you, be a listening ear when you need to talk, and more importantly, pray for you.  “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”  To have someone in your life that will sharpen you, to knock off those rough edges and smooth the edge so you can be ready to fight the battle that lays before us every day.

There is a battle for men’s souls happening all around us.  And we need men who will stand shoulder to shoulder with us every day.  Will you be a man who will stand shoulder to shoulder with another man in this battle?  Will you pour your life into other men?  Do you want to change families in your church?  Do you want to change your church to be more of an impact to your community?  Then start by sharing life with other men – the Gospel of Christ – developing intentional relationships that will sharpen each of us to be the man God desires for us all.

Together in the adventure and challenge to disciple men – Mike

 

Target All Men on Father’s Day

cropped-cropped-mens-ministry11.jpgYou are thinking we are still almost two months from Father’s Day so why are we talking about Father’s Day now.  Well, let me ask you as Men’s Ministry Leaders and Pastors this question, ‘What are you doing to do to target your men on Father’s Day?’  I know, not all men are Dads, but a good number are.  And all of us have Dads.  What a great day to reach out to all the men of the church and community.

Some would argue that we should not celebrate Father’s Day as it is awkward for those who do not have children.  But the Bible tells us to honor our mothers and fathers (Exodus 20:12).  As a Men’s Ministry Consultant, I believe this day is a great day to target our men and we should take advantage of this day.

Sonora Smart Dodd in Spokane, Washington, who was one of six children raised by a widower, had an idea of having a day to celebrate our Fathers while sitting in church on Mother’s Day.  She went to local churches, the YMCA, and others to gather support for her idea.  On June 19, 1910 Washington State celebrated the first statewide Father’s Day in the nation.  Though Father’s Day has become a commercial entity in today’s culture, it does have its roots in the church.

If we are going to use Father’s Day to reach out to the men of our church and community, we need to start planning now.

2013-09-07 08.28.45A few years ago, when I was a Men’s Ministry Leader in a local church we gave out books to ALL the men who came on campus that day.  It was a book for all men, not just for dads.  We also invited the men to attend a six-week study of the book that would begin a couple of weeks after Father’s Day.  We had over 20 men take advantage of that opportunity.  As a result, we had several success stories from that book give away and study.  One story was a man who took the book to work and started meeting with some of his fellow workers before start time to work through the book.  Great things came out of that experience.  After finishing the book, the men wanted more.

This is just one activity you can do to reach your men through Father’s Day.  But there are others and here are some thoughts of some activities.  It is my hope this will whet your appetite for more and as you ponder on these maybe you can vision other activities your church can do.

  • Deliver a message that targets ALL the men encouraging them to be the men that God expects them to be.  Use this time to encourage the men on the hard work it is to be men of God in today’s environment.  Be sure you talk to all the men and be careful of isolating a particular group of men.  Nothing wrong though to spend a few minutes communicating gratitude and thankfulness for dads to be dads.
  • Have a Father/Son outing sometime during the weekend. Men whose children are grown or men who do not have children could adopt a fatherless child for this event.  This way you are inviting all men to participate.  If you have a military contingent in your area.  Think about the children whose dads are deployed during this time.
  • Reach out to those men in your church and community in the military and are deployed. Find out from their families what they would like to have and see if you can make it happen.
  • Give the men a book that will encourage them and offer a few weeks study of the book.
  • Arrange an outing to a sporting event that all men can participate. Or maybe a sports watch night in the fellowship hall or someone’s house on a big screen TV.

The suggestions below may not be associated with Father’s Day weekend but can be done in conjunction with;

  • Reach out to Dads who children are attending your local church’s VBS. Maybe provide a gift certificate to a local restaurant or sports event or Fair they can take their child to.  Or maybe a father/child Hot Dog dinner.
  • If your church has a summer day care ministry think on the same lines as above for the men whose children are involved.
  • Think about the Dads whose children are involved in the youth ministry or other children ministry activities.

These are just a few of the ideas a church can do to reach out and target men.  If we desire to reach our men we have to be intentional in our efforts.  Look around your church and you may see many other opportunities to reach your men.

So, once again, ‘What are you doing to intentionally target your men during Father’s Day weekend?’  Intentionality is one of the areas most Men’s Ministries are lacking in their quest to reach men for the kingdom of Christ.  If you want to reach more men and get them involve you have to be intentional in your efforts.

Just remember, on Father’s Day, don’t make it all about fathers but develop opportunities for ALL MEN!

Together in the adventure and challenge to disciple men – Mike.

Getting Men Involved in Men’s Ministry

20180407_135802[1]This past weekend I attended the North Carolina Baptist on Mission (NCBM) Mission Conference.  While there I assisted in leading breakout sessions on Men’s Ministry or Ministry to Men as I like to refer to it these days.

The attendees to the breakout sessions were asked to complete an information card with a couple of questions.  One of the questions was asking for their biggest struggle or challenge they faced in ministering to the men of their church.  The area most of the attendees stated their biggest challenge did not surprise me as this is what I often hear.  Their biggest challenge?  ‘How can we get more men involved including the younger men?’  This is a great question.

20180407_120229[1]This is a common issue with most churches who desire to have a vibrant ministry to men.  There are three areas that churches lack as they seek to reach the men of the church.  When I began in ministering to men a number of years ago my mentor share these with me and he regularly reminds me of them.  As I visit churches and talk with men’s leaders I see these ‘lack of actions’ in the majority of churches.  So, what are they?

  1. Lack of Intentionality. Failing to target the men of the church.  Many churches desire to have a ministry to men, but they do not target the men or think about how to involve the men in everything they do.  What does it mean to target men?  The pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church puts it this way, “We unashamedly target men in our church, in our messages, in our… well, almost everything.”  Statistics tells us that if you get the man, you get everyone else within his sphere of influence – especially his family.  With the younger men their lives have become so busy in this day they have very little time to attend another activity, so you have to think outside the box.  Which leads to the second point.
  2. Lack of Multiple Entry Points. Often, we think in terms of a Saturday Morning Breakfast, Tuesday Night Supper, or a Bible Study.  But what are you doing to reach the men whose children attend VBS, the church’s Pre-school, youth ministries, men who are involved in the Welcoming Team or ushering or singing in the choir.  Are you encouraging Sunday School Teachers or Home Groups Fellowships to develop something for the men attending?  I have heard of a Lead Usher using business cards to place a verse on one side and a few points about the verse on the other side.  He then gives these cards to the men helping the next Sunday, using the cards as a short devotion, then praying with the men before they begin the morning.  Just five minutes and he is ministering to men.  Or the Sunday School teacher that plans outings with just his men in the class developing relationships to disciple.  There are many ways to create entry points for men to be ministered though the various ministries of the church, we just need to look beyond what we have considered the normal venue for ministering to men.  Which to do this takes us to the next point.
  3. Knowing Your Players. My mentor was a basketball coach for many years thereby using this term.  But you understand what I am saying.  Get to know your men.  Not all men will be drawn to a particular event or study but maybe if it is something they are interested in they will come.  You know the famous line from the movie Field of Dreams, “Build it and they will come.”  Conduct a survey with the men of your church.  Go to baptistsonmission.org/Church-Programs/Men-s-Ministry/Resources-and-Events for a ‘Simple Interest Men’s Survey.’  Or use it to create your own.  Just don’t make it too complex.  Then use the information from the surveys to get to Know Your Players and then create opportunities for Entry Points for your men.

There you are, the three common lack of actions most every church is not doing.  When you get your ministry team together begin thinking in these terms.  As you put these actions in play I believe you will begin to see more men involved, especially your younger men.

Together in the adventure and challenge to disciple men – Mike

Two Are Better Than One: Conclusion

Two are better than oneThe past several posts we have been looking at Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12;

9Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts.  10For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up…. 12And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him.  A cord of three strands is not easily broken. (CSB)

In this series using the above text as a guide, we talked about how men should be Working Together; Walking Together; and Watching Together as we go through life and live for Christ.  (Click on each topic to see the associated article).

In all of this we desire to help men understand the importance of discipling each other, pouring our lives into one another.  Paul helped us understand the importance of this when he told the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 2:8;

“We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.”

As we close out this series I want to leave with you three thoughts from those of us who work in ministering to men that we have found that every man needs:

  1. Men need something to give their lives to.

When we first began this series, I discuss the various activities men can be involved in to assist their communities and their local church.  There are many mission opportunities men can be involved with to reach out into the community to share the love of Christ.  Winning you the opportunity to share the gospel message with those who you are ministering to.  You need to be involved in mission work.  You need to be alongside other men to keep you focus and bring a greater return on your efforts.

  1. Someone to share it with.

Find someone who will walk alongside of you.  That will hold you accountable.  Us older men need to be making ourselves available to mentor younger men.  You may say – I don’t have anything to give.  I say – you will be surprise.  Some of you have 20, 30, 40, even 50 years of life experience and working in the church to share.  This is valuable experience to help a young man navigate the difficulties of this world.  I am encouraged when I see young men seeking older men to mentor them.  We need someone who we can talk with – pray with – that can be our confidant.  Someone who will hold our feet to the fire, so to speak.  Asking us the hard questions to insure we stay on the path and not stray.  I know of men in their 80s who still have men like this in their lives.

  1. A personal system that offers a reasonable explanation for why the first two are so difficult.

Every man, regardless of who you are, or where you are in your spiritual walk, need to be in a small men’s study group.  If you are in a Sunday School class with your wife that is great.  But what I am talking about here is meeting with another man, or two, or three, or more for the purpose of studying the bible and talking though how to apply God’s Word into your life as a man.  Men need other men to share their rewards and struggles with.  To help navigate this world we live in.  To insure we are living the life Christ wants us to live.

In the past couple of months, I discussed how men are WORKING TOGETHER as indicated in Ecclesiastes 4:9 so they can have a greater return on their labor as they minister to this lost and dying world.  We discussed the importance that every man should have someone in their life, so they are WALKING TOGETHER as encouraged in Ecclesiastes 4:10 of this spiritual journey we are on.  Helping us to be transformed into the image of Christ.  Then we discussed each man should have another to walk with them as spoken of in Ecclesiastes 4:12, so they can WATCH TOGETHER.  Watching out for each other to prevent one from falling into a pit.  And if they do fall, to help pull them out.

I hope this series has been helpful to you and I would enjoy hearing from you on your thoughts.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike.