The release of the movie, “Courageous,” struck a chord in the heart of many men and their desire to be a better husband, father, friend, and employee. I believe there are many men in churches who desire to change but struggle with the process. Below is a STRATEGY to guide you in leading men to change.
Start with prayer. Developing or enhancing any ministry in the context of the church should begin with prayer and seeking the heart of God. Paul modeled the key aspect of prayer by emphasizing prayer at the beginning of most of his letters in the New Testament. Pray alone or in groups. Prayer walk around the church and community.
Team up together. Effective ministry is never done alone. Prayerfully enlist other men who have a heart to minister to men. Develop a diverse team who can minister to a diverse number of men in your church and community. Always keep your pastor in the loop. One men’s author has said, “Effective men’s ministry is not a program; it’s a transformational environment built on vital relationships, which inevitably brings positive changes within the church.”
Re-discover God’s Word. What passages of Scripture from God’s Word command you and motivate you to minister to men? Don’t develop a ministry for men just so they have something to do. Develop a ministry for men because you believe God’s Word propels you to develop a dynamic men’s ministry. Examine some of the men in Scripture such as Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Nehemiah, Daniel, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, Timothy to learn from positive and negative examples in Scripture. Here are a few specific Bible verses to get you started along your journey: Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 6:12-19; 2 Timothy 2:2; 3:15-17;
Assess your context. Each church and community is unique. A men’s ministry in one church will look different from another church’s men’s ministry. It will be vital for you to contextualize your ministry to meet the needs of men in your area. A good place to start is by surveying men in your church to gather some basic information. Contact the Family Ministry Team for some survey options.
Think short-term goals. Set goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-sensitive). Gather men by planning a few large gathering events each year that will attract men. It’s better to do a few things well than many things with mediocrity. Group men into small groups, which will engage them in a variety of inward (Bible studies) and outward activities (service projects). Lifeway continues to develop men’s ministry resources that will help you disciple men. Grow leaders by investing extra time in a handful of men who will be able to turn around and invest in other men.
Envision the long-term picture and share your vision. What kind of men would you like to see your men’s ministry develop? What is the final outcome of men who spend a few years in your men’s ministry? Patrick Morely says, “Discipling men needs to move from an unusual activity in a few churches to a common characteristic of the life of most churches.”
Get mobilized in making disciples. Many men’s ministries may not start off with a big bang and large numbers but you can still have a long-term multi-generation impact if you will invest in and disciple men, but it will take time and hard work. It is worth every meeting and every minute. Elton Trueblood said, “A person has made at least a start on understanding the Christian life, when they plant shade trees under which they know full well they will never sit.”
Yearly evaluate. Evaluate your men’s ministry honestly to discover continual ways to improve by reaching and growing men. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions so that you can make strategic changes to continue reaching and developing men.
Need some help with men’s ministry? Contact Ben Phillips with the Evangelism and Church Health Team for a consultation or seminar in starting or enhancing your STRATEGY for men’s ministry in your church.