By Leonard C. Albert
God is moving in the hearts of men. He is calling men to stand up for what they believe in—to be faithful in their personal walk with Christ, to their families and to their church. In order to begin an effective ministry to men in your church or to revive your existing men’s ministry, you need to assemble a team of dedicated people to organize and lead the effort. Sometimes it is possible to attract men to the local church through exciting events or conferences. We call these “momentum creating events.” Years of experience tell us that the only way to keep these men involved is to provide a well-planned, on-going local church men’s ministry with clear purposes and credible people involved. This section shows how to find the men who will lead other men in the local church.
Campus Crusade for Christ founder, Bill Bright, has often said, “Everything boils down to leadership.” Dr. Pat Morley, founder of Man in the Mirror Ministries says that, “The height of your men’s ministry will be determined by the depth of your leadership.”
The truth is that in order to begin and/or sustain an effective ministry to men and disciple new ones, you will need to put together a small group of dedicated leaders who truly want to see the church minister to men. Someone has to organize and lead the effort. It is essential to choose your leaders wisely. You will need to choose not only a team leader, but a whole team if you want to reach and disciple men. Reaching men through other men using groups and teams is God’s idea. In the Old Testament, King David had his mighty men, Jesus recruited and trained twelve disciples, and the early church had deacons, elders and lay ministers. The same is true today—you need an organized force to reach men—a band of brothers with an arrow through their heart for men’s ministry in the local church. Let’s look at a strategy to find them.
Identify the Men Who Can Lead
There are basically three types of leaders: (1) those who are now involved, (2) those who are in training to become leaders, and (3) those who feel that God is calling them in this area. This brings us to a present truth: your leaders don’t have to start out committed—that can come later. Here are the steps involved:
- Prayerfully write out a list of the ten or twelve most spiritually respected men in your church.
- At this point it doesn’t matter how busy their schedules are or even if they are interested or not.
- Focus on men who have a heart for God and for reaching others. Let them make up their own minds under God’s leadership.
- The idea is to identify and equip a men’s ministry leadership team who will in turn produce cutting edge ministry opportunities for the men. Pray for God to give you favor with these perspective candidates.
- Look for individual leadership team members who have one or more of these abilities:
- Salespeople. These men are the “persuaders” because they know how to get other people excited about an idea. They are forever salespeople because it is just in them to try to persuade others to join in on a plan or idea. They are great to have on your team because, by instinct, they help others feel the excitement of the challenge and they convey the spirit of “we can do this” when it comes to ministry.
- Doers. These are the men who can “cut to the chase” and get the job done. They are front-line guys who, as we say, can “deliver the mail.” They have the skills to deliver ministry so tasks are completed properly and on time.
- Administrators. These are the men that possess the natural talent to coordinate, plan and troubleshoot. They have the ability to see “what’s coming down the pike” and be proactive in helping solve potential problems. They not only do the work, but because they are leaders, they uphold others who also are working.
Schedule a Preliminary Meeting
Approach each of them and say something like this: “God has put it on my mind to explore the need and desirability of starting (or reorganizing) a LifeBuilders men’s ministry in our church. I believe you are one of a handful of men that the other men in our church would follow. I want to have a meeting to discuss the possibilities. Would you be willing to pray about coming to this one meeting and give your counsel?” It is quite possible that not all will respond positively, but hopefully, five or six of the men will step forward for possible leadership positions.
Pointers for the first meeting:
- Keep the first meeting to a maximum of one hour. If everyone knows it’s a one hour meeting, you can be very productive. Besides, a long, tiring meeting may create second thoughts about going further.
- In preparation for this initial meeting, you will want to share your vision for the men of the church. It is important to understand that the ultimate purpose of any LifeBuilders men’s ministry is to reach and win men to Christ and to disciple them into an authentic Christ-centered relationship. As you put together a vision statement for your men’s ministry, you want to be specific enough so that others capture a sense of where the ministry is going. Yet you want to be loose enough with details, so that you can easily incorporate creative new ideas as new leaders join the team.
- Try to answer these questions before the meeting:
- What is the main goal we’ll accomplish through this ministry?
- Why do we want a men’s ministry in the church? (Hint: see #2 above.)
- What methods will we use—what is our philosophy of ministry?
- How will we create, capture and sustain momentum among our men?
- Do we have ideas about what activities and programs we might incorporate into our ministry?
- How can we demonstrate that a healthy men’s ministry will strengthen the whole church?
- Begin with prayer (about five minutes.)
- Review the history of ministry to men in your church (about five minutes).
- Be up front and honest about the blessing and the burdens of previous attempts at men’s ministry.
- Share the potential of a new or renewed LifeBuilders men’s ministry. Our new LifeBuilders plan with an emphasis on discipleship will renew your men’s ministry because many men will be won to Christ, discipled and by extension, bless the families in our church and community.
- Talk a little about the environment for reaching men (about 15 minutes.)
- How are men doing?
- What are their problems?
- How should the church respond?
- Review our LifeBuilders discipleship materials (about 15 minutes). Talk about the potential of discipling and training the men of your church.
- Closing comments:
- “It seems clear that God is calling us to reach the men of our church and help them grow. I would like to suggest that, together, we go through a three week process of designing a men’s ministry for our church using the Church of God LifeBuilders Men’s Ministry material as a guide. Who would like to give it a try?”
Activities for Leadership Team Members
Later on we explain in detail some of the specific duties of the men’s ministry team members. At this point it is important to consider the “big picture” of your ministry to men and look at some general areas that will need leadership from the team. Keep in mind that these individual men can recruit other men to work with them, thus forming a small group or team. Here’s a list:
- Strategy and Coordination. This man is responsible for focusing on strategic (overall, long-term) issues of the ministry. He helps define identity, themes, and priorities at the ministry level. He offers advice about the overall direction of the LifeBuilders ministry to men. This person works with the LifeBuilders team leader to plan the conferences, seminars and ministry events for the men of the church.
- Community. This member helps develop a sense of “male friendliness” in the church. He finds ways to make male visitors feel at home when they visit the church services. This person will provide various entry points where both newcomers and seasoned attendees feel comfortable, connected, inspired, and transformed. He actively welcomes and greets individuals at men’s functions. He also provides follow-up and coordination for people interested in getting involved in other areas of ministry. This man is responsible for the publishing of a men’s monthly e-mail or printed newsletter.
- Prayer and Intercession. This man leads the prayer effort with intercession for people, plans, and activities for the men. He provides a prayer covering and is available to pray with other teams or men’s groups. He will be the point man for the “Pastor’s Prayer Partner” program (see LifeBuilders Resource Action Manual for details).
- Head Coach. LifeBuilders men’s ministry has developed a plan to train a key leader in each local church to help coach and mentor other men. This man helps men deepen their spiritual maturity and build genuine friendships. They coordinate the discipleship training process, put together mentoring relationships and explore approaches for discipleship and spiritual formation.
- Ministry Projects and Resources. This man leads the effort to find meaningful ministry for the men of the church. This will include the LifeBuilders Matthew 25 Men effort. This man plans and coordinates community outreach and other short-term service-oriented projects. He is constantly looking for the best materials to win and disciple men such as our LifeBuilders Essentials discipleship course. He maintains a list of speakers, books, and other resources for the men, and makes these available at monthly meetings and other conferences.
Schedule a LifeBuilders Men’s Ministry Leadership Team Kickoff Meeting
Now that you’ve got the men’s leaders recruited and in place it’s time to release them to lead. The ways in which these men are released become a model for the way they release others who will work under them. Always remember that the senior pastor or his appointee is always invited to be a part of this and any other gathering. Here are some pointers on the content of this meeting:
- Cast the vision. Tell the leadership team exactly what should be accomplished through the LifeBuilders men’s ministry chapter.
- State the purpose. Why do we want a disciple making ministry to the men of our church?
- Connect LifeBuilders to the church vision. Show how this men’s ministry is vital to the health and growth of the local church.
- Show the positive benefits of this effort. Explain that the LifeBuilders men’s ministry will not segregate the men, but instead motivate and empower them for leadership and service church-wide.
- Explain the commitment. Tell the men what you expect from them. Clarify the amount of time and money necessary to get the job done right.
The Chinese have many beautiful sayings. One goes like this: Do not fear going forward slowly. Fear only to stand still. We do not have the luxury of waiting. We are now in a life and death battle for the souls of men. We live in a fallen world, but God is more powerful than that fallen world. With an effective LifeBuilders Men’s Ministry leadership team we can help protect men from Satan’s proven ability to make them come in second. We can help keep men safe from the pain and grief that sin brings. We can help men do excellent ministry in the church.
We believe that it is a winnable battle if we move forward now to reach, train and equip men for ministry. This is an exciting and fruit producing mission! Oh yes, here is another ancient Chinese proverb: The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago…the next best time is now.
Let’s get started!