These are what I have found to be the most frequently asked questions about men's ministry along with my answers.
These are what I have found to be the most frequently asked questions about men's ministry along with my answers.
A. Because we are failing to disciple men effectively.
Studies show that for every ten men in the average church:
(Statistics cited by Man In the Mirror)
In the PCA we may be doing a little better than the average church, but not much! Most of our men don’t even have a daily quiet time, much less delight their hearts in the Lord. Few have thought through what it means to love their wife as Christ loves the church, much less are they regularly focused on meeting the needs of her heart or on applying I Cor.13:4-8 to loving her. Most men have no plan for discipling their kids or much of a clue what it means to be the spiritual leaders in their homes. Fewer than 10% are actively seeking to share their faith with non-believing friends, relatives, and work associates, etc. The bar is very low.
B. Because if you help men get it right, everybody wins.
When we think covenantally, we realize that God has assigned men a strategic position of influence in the family, church, and society. He has designed our wives to be responders, and our children to have many needs that we must meet as their fathers. PCA author Pat Morley helps us see the strategic role assigned to men when he writes:
“Can you think of any way the WORLD can be made right unless the CHURCH is made right. Can you think of any way the CHURCH can be made right unless FAMILIES are made right. Can you think of any way FAMILIES can be made right unless MARRIAGES are made right. Can you think of any way MARRIAGES can be made right unless MEN are made right. Can you think of anything that has more potential to change the world than reaching MEN?”
C. Jesus was radical in his day because he treated women and children with great dignity. But he built the foundation of his church by investing heavily in 11 men. Today’s church is completely upside down in its approach. Resources are allocated and staff is added for children’s ministry, youth ministry, college ministry, singles ministry, women’s ministry, even nursery ministry before resources are invested in men’s ministry. These priorities would appear to be the exact opposite of our Lord’s. So, why should we be surprised that the church is in such bad condition?
A. Men’s ministry helps the church accomplish its mission, to make disciples. “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, 1) baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and 2) teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matt. 28:19-20
In the above text, the structure of the sentence implies that there are two parts to the way disciples are made.
1. Baptizing them:
2. Teaching them everyday obedience
Jesus qualified the kind of teaching that makes disciples—teaching that focuses on obedience: “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you..”
Men’s disciple-making ministry therefore focuses on the areas that are specific to men’s unique struggle to be obedient
The second goal of men’s ministry, therefore, is to get Biblical teaching to them that is specific to their 1) responsibilities and 2) temptations as men. These are the areas where they struggle with obedience.
B. Men’s ministry helps the church follow the Biblical method for discipling men, i.e. mobilizing the members of the body to use their gifts. “From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Eph. 4:16 “Men’s ministry” refers to the process of mobilizing members of the body to use their gifts to help men move down the discipleship path towards greater maturity in Christ. This process involves planning events and ministries for men. But is more than that. It also involves linking men to the disciple-making events and ministries in the church that are already in place. In summary, “men’s ministry” is the mobilization of some in the body to use their gifts to help the session disciple the men of the church.
C. The word, “disciple” should not be confused with the one-on-one multiplication method of discipleship. Many people associate the verb, “to disciple” with the multiplication method explained in the booklet, Born to Reproduce, by Dawson Trotman of the Navigators and the book, Master Plan of Evangelism, by Robert Coleman. This is the idea that the pastor disciples two elders for two years. Then, at the end of the 2 years, those elders each disciple two men for two years, etc.
A. Nearly all of the subgroups in the church (children, teens, college kids, singles, women, seniors) are strongly motivated to come to church events because they want to be with their friends. Men are not.Therefore, they don’t show up just because the bulletin says that a men’s event is planned.
B. Your men’s event takes men away from their homes. Many men already feel guilty about being away from home so much to do their jobs. So you have to overcome the guilt and pressure he feels NOT to be away from the family more.
C. For the 21st century man, time is the commodity of highest value. There has been an explosion of activities to compete for his time, from Karate for his kids to 200 channels on TV, including sports channels that have games nearly 24 hours a day. The length of the American work day is the highest it has ever been, while commuting time is increasing. He has less free time to give to a men’s event than ever before.
D. Today’s men are tired and busy. They spend their days in the work world where products and activities are assigned a bottom-line value. That is the way they will see your men’s event. Is the value of the event worth the time and effort to be involved? Out of a sense of commitment to the church, a man may come once to a men’s event. But tired, busy men will not consistently attend something that does not have high value to them.
E. The availability of graphic pornography at the click of a mouse means that more men are enslaved to secret sins than ever before. They may participate in something safe like playing softball. But, they won’t come regularly to events that get them connected to other men at the spiritual level. On the one hand, they know they need help, but they are terrified of the shame they would experience if they were found out.
F. Because of the way God has hardwired men, they are much more likely to come to an event when personally invited by another man. Most churches have not built a strong men’s ministry leadership team that reaches out to the men of the congregation to make these personal invitations. Instead, they resort to bulletin or pulpit announcements which are not very effective.
A. Probably, all of them. There is no “key” program to copy. We’ve heard that the following resources have been used effectively in men’s ministry in the Presbyterian Church In America, the denomination which I serve.
B. However, successful men’s ministry is not being achieved because of using any particular program. It is being achieved by churches with strong men’s ministry teams that have an effective long term strategy for building a disciple-making ministry to men. Without the right leadership and long term strategy, any program you use will be a flash in the pan.
C. That is why our strategy at the Committee for Discipleship Ministries is not to develop a men’s discipleship program. Many programs and materials already exist. Our strategy is to raise up men’s ministry coaches who can help our churches build men’s ministry teams that are equipped with an effective strategy for building a long term disciple-making ministry for men in their churches. Our goal is getting all of our men connected at the level of their spiritual battles so that they are discipling one another.
Do these stories sound familiar?
A. Because men’s ministry is so difficult, successful events don’t automatically lead to success in subsequent events or ministries. The success of events is only maximized when they are fit into an overall strategy that meets the needs of men and moves them down the path of discipleship.
B. In effective men’s ministries, part of the planning for a men’s event includes how to capture the momentum of that event and use it to move men to connect with another aspect of the church’s ministry to men. Often this is neglected.
C. It is great to have a pastor or layman who is a champion for men’s ministry. These are two of the most important ingredients to sustain long term success in your men’s ministry. However those champions may leave or get busy with other ministries. That is why it is so important for that champion to build a lay men’s ministry team around him.
D. Saturday morning men’s breakfasts can work temporarily but a monthly Saturday morning men’s breakfast is limited in what it can accomplish. The reason is that it is very limited as a vehicle for reaching the 2 goals of men’s ministry—helping men get connected to other brothers at the level of their spiritual life and giving them Biblical insight that is specific to their responsibilities and temptations as men.
A. Build a strong foundation.
B. Follow a proven strategy for the church of the 21st century to disciple men This strategy is fully explained in the book, No Man Left Behind, written by three PCA authors, Pat Morley, David Delk, and Brett Clemmer. Here is a rough overview of the strategy:
C. Purchase a copy of No Man Left Behind or attend the Man In the Mirror seminar by this title. There is much more to effective men’s ministry than the above 13 steps.
D. Call on the services of a PCA men’s ministry coach to help you with the above process. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A. Find out what the content is of the phrase men’s ministry in your session’s mind. Many PCA leaders associate the term “men’s ministry” with the Promise Keepers movement, which had its roots in the Vineyard movement.
B. Be sure your pastor and the rest of the session understand that by men’s ministry, you mean: the mobilization of some in the body to use their gifts to help the session disciple the men of the church.
C. Ask to meet with the pastor and/or session to get their ideas about men’s ministry.
D. After clarifying the term men’s ministry, ask the church leadership what their most important goals are for your church. Then explain to them how men’s ministry can help them achieve their goals.
E. Allow your pastor to have the role, at your men’s events, that he wishes to have. Some want to be the pastor. Others just want to be one of the men.
F. Be extremely loyal to your church leadership. As a men’s ministry and as a men’s ministry leadership team, be intentional in looking for ways to support and serve your pastor. Be known around the church as those who are loyal to their pastor. One men’s group had guys take turns cutting the pastor’s lawn each week. Another group gave the pastor the money to take his wife to a bed and breakfast.
A. The most important principle is to find champions for men’s ministry.
B. The second most important principle is to equip the team with an awareness of what is required to sustain an effective disciple-making ministry to men over the long haul. Tools for this equipping are mentioned under question 11.
C. The third most important principle is to constantly cast a vision for the importance of men’s ministry to the team along with encouragement and challenges to pay the price. If it were easy to build an effective men’s ministry, you would have already done it! The point is that it is difficult, discouraging, and opposed by the enemy every step of the way. The last thing Satan wants in the church is strong, spiritually connected men! He wants to bind our men in sin, guilt, and isolation. Then he can plunder their house.
Where Men Want Spiritual Help:
The Root Need:
True discipleship is not behavior modification; it is heart transformation. It is not piling more discipleship tasks on the tired backs of men; it is leading them to the feet of Christ, in whose presence the inner desires and motivations of his heart are changed. The root need of every man is the gospel of grace deeply taking root in his soul.
Many men today are tired of the constant demands upon them to perform. They can’t provide for their family as they want to without working long hours. Instead of their home being the place where they feel appreciated and refreshed—it is full of exhausting demands to perform more.
Today’s Christian man is supposed to suck it up, rub it out, and keep performing. He carries a 100 lb pack on his back called his responsibilities. The daily pressure to perform increases the lure of various kinds of escape. More than one man has found that escape in a return to his drug days, an illicit affair, a growing dependence upon alcohol, a gambling addiction, or in the secret pleasures of viewing Internet porn.
The only true escape from this constant pressure to perform is the gospel of grace. Basking in God’s unconditional love, letting our failures drive us to our savior, is the only way the soul of a man can be refreshed, his strength renewed, and his heart re-energized to follow his calling.
The bigger the demands upon us, the more we need to shun the myth that we are self-reliant and let that pressure drive us to Christ for help. In his presence, we see that some of the pressure comes from our idols of success, respect, pleasure. In his presence we realize that God specializes in impossible situations and our faith is renewed. When we do fail, we remember that the greater our sin—the greater is the love of our savior in forgiving us.
Only the gospel of grace can transform the heart of a man—and that is the ultimate goal of discipleship—heart transformation.
A. Have a clear picture of your goal: Every man meeting regularly with one or two other brothers for encouragement and accountability in their spiritual battles.
B. Recognize that each of your men can be placed on a continuum of male connection in your church that might look like this:
Know No one— Acquaintances— Friends— Brothers
C. Realize that getting men to the point where they are connected as brothers is a process that takes time. Trust must be built before men reveal what is going on inside. Usually this process takes years. It rarely happens automatically. Rather, the men’s ministry must be intentional about helping men move from the no relationships, or superficial relationships (left) to connection with a brother or two at the level of their spiritual lives (right side of continuum).
D. Men find it easiest to build friendships when they are shoulder to shoulder working together to accomplish a common task. Keep this principle in mind especially as you plan events for the least connected men—those on the left side of the continuum.
E. Although working together as a team to accomplish an objective is the most natural way men connect, we must recognize that our natural tendency in that connection is to be superficial. Christian men must be challenged to overcome their natural masculine desire for autonomy, i.e. be intentional about building relationships with other Christian men. We are to be so connected to some brothers that we confess our sins to one another (James 5:16), consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, (Heb. 10:24), and depend daily upon one another (I Cor. 12:21).
F. As you design activities for your men’s ministry, always:
G. One of the best ways to get men connected at the level of their soul is a men’s Bible Study or large-group presentation, with table discussion afterward.
H. Consider using another structure for helping men connect as brothers—Check 6 Partnerships. (Note: “I'll check your six” is military language for, “I've got your back.”)
1. Check 6 Partnerships are:
2. There is great Biblical precedent for such relationships:
3. Click here to find out more about Check 6 partnerships and the book, Forging Bonds of Brotherhood.
4. Click here to find out more about the Becoming a Band of Brothers retreat.
B. Take the 15 minute Man in the Mirror On-line training course (click www.maninthemirror.org).
C. Read and study No Man Left Behind. (order from PCA Bookstore)
D. Click here to find out more about how to host the Reaching Every Man Training at your church.
E. Email me if you would like a 30 minute phone call from a men’s ministry email@example.com.