This past weekend I had the privilege to “Hang – Out” with my mentor and friend, Jeff Kisiah, Executive Director of Band of Brothers Charlotte. Jeff taught me the concept of the Ministry of Hanging Out (MHO) when we first met many years ago. It is something we all do, hanging out, we just don’t recognize this as an opportunity for ministry or even to include it into our ministry. When a bunch of guys get together and do something they connect with or have a common interest we refer to this as ‘hanging out;’ but, we generally overlook the value of these times.
I have learned the importance of having numerous “on ramps” for enlisting men into the battle for men souls. Oftentimes we have events that really interest the men in our churches but that is all they are – events. It is an “on-ramp” that has been closed and we must wait for the next “on-ramp” to hopefully get men on a path of discipleship.
Recently, I was at an event with over 60 men in attendance. They had fun, ate, and listen to a short message. This was a great “on-ramp” opportunity for men to invite other men who are not connected to the church or sitting on the fringes. These men could then witness the importance of men rubbing shoulders (Proverbs 27:17) encouraging them to get involved in a discipling relationship. But oftentimes we don’t use these opportunities and the “on-ramp” is essentially closed.
Sometimes we go to the other extreme. Too many times the “on-ramp” we give men only provide entry points on the “deep end” of the discipleship continuum such as;
- In-Depth Bible Studies
- Leadership Training Modules
- High Commitment Venues
I was in a meeting recently where someone was sharing he didn’t understand why they couldn’t get men to come to the Bible Studies. Well, it could be the “on-ramp” is too steep or too sharp of a curve. Often men need to develop relationships with the men who are involved in those studies before he feels comfortable to attend.
Then we get frustrated when the men “on the fringe” who remain disinterested or disconnected. What do I mean by men “on the fringe?” These are men who are connected with the church but are not involved in any discipleship ministry or any ministry for that matter. Men who come because their children or wife are involved, or they come to “punch the clock.” You know them, every church has men like this. You can probably think of two or three right now. These are men who need another man to come along side of them and encourage them. The best way to do that is to have times when men can just “hang-out” and get to know each other – opportunities that interest them and when invited will have a common interest with other men.
We must provide a balance in our approach and offer entry points on the “wide end” of the discipleship continuum for those men. We want to develop relationships with the men talked about above and help them take the next right step toward a relationship in Christ.
God has worked uniquely in the lives of men through these times of men just “hanging-out.” Some examples you can use are;
- College / High School Ballgames: If you can’t attend the games think about having viewing parties for the big games.
- Hiking trips, Wilderness outings and/or Camping Trips
- Motorcycle or Bicycle rides
- Racing events: Think about a viewing party for this also if you cannot attend.
- Fishing adventures: Maybe attend a boat show.
- Hunting: Maybe attend an outdoor exposition held in your area.
- Golf Outings/Tournaments: consider hosting one.
- Attend a Classic Car Show or even host one.
One many don’t think about is Drive Time Fellowship. There may be many events or activities you participate that requires drive time. I used to take a group of men to Atlanta once a year for a men’s conference and they would tell me the most enjoyable time of the trip was the fellowship during the drive.
These suggestions are a part of “The Ministry of Hanging Out.” Now that I got you thinking you could probably think of more activities. In our Ministry to Men we need to learn and understand the importance of just hanging-out with other men. You want men to get into discipling relationships, you first need to develop relationships. And you develop relationships by “hanging-out.”
My life verse is 1 Thessalonians 2:8 when Paul writes;
“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.”
We need to be in the habit of sharing our lives with other men. Meeting them where they are at and not where we want them to be and letting them see we really do care for them and desire to share life with them. This will help in developing those opportunities to share the gospel and encourage men to come to Christ or grow deeper in their walk with Christ and move them to that place they need to be.
Start practicing “The Ministry of Hanging Out” as you minister to men and encourage your men to start seeing this as an opportunity to reach men. As you do, you will begin to see changes in the lives of men you encounter.
Together in the adventure and challenge to disciple men – Mike