Some time back my mentor in men’s ministry introduced me to a concept he called Barnabas Luncheon Appointment or BLA for short.
Often, I will see pictures of him on Facebook meeting with someone with a caption saying something about a BLA moment. These times have always encouraged me as I continue with the ministry God has placed on me.
A BLA is a time for men to meet and talk about what God is doing in their lives and how we could pray for each other. Though I don’t have the opportunity to have those BLAs with him as often we use to, I still enjoy having them with other men that God has brought into my life for various reasons. Though the name implies you are meeting over food (and most meetings with men is over food), it doesn’t have to be. It can be at any time and at any place.
As a men’s leader, I want to encourage you to make it a point to spend time with your men periodically, one-on-one, and begin to develop relationships with them that goes beyond the group times. These are the times when you can focus on the man and pour your life into him. It gives him an opportunity to be more open to you about issues in their life they may not wish to share with others and for you to pray and encourage him.
Now it is unrealistic to think you can spend quality time with all the men in your church like this, so you will need to pray for God to direct you to the men to create those BLA moments. As you demonstrate this, maybe other men in your church will begin to imitate you and begin their own BLA ministry, most likely from the men you meet with. As my mentor demonstrated this to me and I often saw him doing this it impressed upon me the importance. It certainly was important for me
Ask God to show you a few men in your church or other areas of your life that you could invite to breakfast, lunch, dinner, or over a drink or coffee. Begin a relationship where you can pour your life into them. Paul spoke of this when he wrote his first letter to the Thessalonians;
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. (1 Thess. 2:8 CSB)
We may not reach every man in our church to personally influence them but we can reach a few. Prayerfully through this example, God will encourage other men to develop their own BLA ministries – just like my mentor encourage me.
Hope to hear great things about your BLA ministry.
Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike