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.
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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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