WHAT is MEN’s MINISTRY?
Wow! What a question. I’d expect that you would get plenty of opinions on the subject. The unfortunate reality is that many if not most churches radically fail at developing and/or sustaining an effective ministry to men that extends any further than a weekly bible study, brotherhood breakfast, Superbowl Party, or a Wild-Game Dinner.
Don’t get me wrong, those things are not wrong and can certainly add to an overall strategy for reaching men, but if the church is not intentionally engaging men for the express purpose of helping them be who God has made them to be, then the church is failing in their responsibility.
INTERESTING STATS about MEN and the CHURCH
The church is doing a great job at reaching and providing discipleship opportunities for most of the family. There are fantastic Children’s ministries, Student ministries, and Women’s ministries; and these are critical as a part of an overall strategy for discipleship and ministry to the family. While these ministries are significantly important, here are a few interesting statistics about men and the church.
- Did you know that if a child is the first person in a household to become a Christian, there is a 3.5 percent probability everyone else in the household will follow? If the mother is the first to become a Christian, there is a 17 percent probability everyone else in the household will follow. But if the father is first, there is a 93 percent probability everyone else in the household will follow. (source: Baptist Press)
- Did you know that churches with a higher a higher proportion of women in the congregation is associated with decline rather than growth. As was the case for younger adults, the congregation that is able to attract larger proportions of men, who also tend to be less religiously active, is the exceptional congregation—and is more likely to grow. (source: FaithCommunitiesToday.org)
- Only about 10% of congregations offer ongoing ministry programs for men (compared to about 90% of churches that offer women’s and/or children’s ministries). In churches that do offer men’s ministry, fewer than 20 percent of the men actively participate. The vast majority of the men in the congregation do not interact with the men’s ministry at all. (source: David Murrow, Author of “Why Men Hate Church”)
MEN’s MINISTRY . . . JESUS STYLE
Jesus ministered to women. He ministered to children. He healed the sick, made the lame walk, and made the blind see. Jesus fed the hungry, raised the dead, and radically changed all of eternity. BUT, one thing that Jesus did very well that doesn’t get much press, even in the church . . . Jesus started a “Men’s Ministry”.
Okay, okay . . . I can almost hear the cringing now and before you blow up my email with theological corrections, I do understand and acknowledge that Jesus did a great deal more than just starting a men’s ministry. In fact, he did much more than can even be recorded. (John 21:25). My point is that Jesus did one thing that most churches don’t do very well, if at all. Jesus invested His life into building a thriving men’s ministry . . . you probably know them as the 12 disciples.
A PRACTICAL EXAMPLE
Granted, there are hundreds of books that cover the topic of Men’s Ministry and many successful models to choose from; and I certainly don’t claim to have all of the answers, but there are some key elements that seem to be clear by looking at Jesus’ example of men’s discipleship.
- Jesus was a LEADER
- Jesus was a man that others were willing to follow. Yes, Jesus was God in the flesh, but he was also a man that was tempted like the rest of us. He lived a life of integrity and secured His influence over time. One of the key characteristics of a leader of men is that he is worthy of being followed and earns the trust of those that do.
- Jesus Started with a SMALL-GROUP
- He could have started out with feeding the five thousand, gave a great keynote speech and then circulated a petition for people to join His cause. No, Jesus found a few men and invited them to join Him on His journey. In fact, Jesus started a men’s ministry with only twelve. From that original “small-group”, Jesus impacted the entire world.
- Jesus was INTENTIONAL & CONSISTENT
- Jesus spent time with His men both “On-purpose” and “With-purpose”. He was not only intentional about the investment He made in His disciples lives, but he was consistent. Over time, Jesus proved himself over and over again.
- Jesus EQUIPPED & EMPOWERED
- Jesus spent a great deal of time with his men teaching them about the kingdom of God. By personal example and through his teaching ministry, Jesus gave his disciples a clear message that would shake the world on its foundation. Jesus also empowered his men to fulfill the task he gave them to do.
ISN’T THERE IS MORE TO IT?
Yup, there is much more to it than that, but it’s not about finding the “magic bullet” or the perfect program because men are different everywhere you go. Men’s ministry in the South may require a Saturday morning men’s breakfast with Biscuits and Gravy while guys in downtown LA get together over a business “Power Lunch” to be encouraged and equipped for marketplace ministry in their business. It is absolutely NOT about finding the right program . . . it is about having the right PERSPECTIVE about who men are, what they need, and who to reach them where they are.
SEND ME YOUR FEEDBACK
I would love to hear from you about what you are doing with the men in your church. What is working and what isn’t. My heart and passion is to come alongside the church to work with pastors and staff to help them reach the men in their community. Let me know what I can do for you.