David C. Nitz, State Evangelism Director
After the General Assembly of 2008 Florida (Tampa) made an aggressive effort to change the face of men’s ministries in our state. Feeling that the men/lay ministries in the state needed to be charged with new life and a more relevant strategy we decided to take a different approach and face the challenge of reaching and ministering to men. We felt we needed to ask ourselves tough questions and respond with a plan that would at least begin to address the pressing needs of today’s men.
The first and obvious question is “why?” Why make changes to the existing program? I think the revelation came when I hosted my first layman’s board meeting. Several of the men who served on the board did not even show up for the meeting. That was my first “heads up” that this ministry was in need of revitalization. There seemed to be a lack of passion. As the meeting progressed I personally did not feel it addressed any of the pressing needs in the lives of men. While the work being done was good work, it seemed stagnate. No one was really to be blamed, it just seemed it was time to do something new.
The name “Layman’s Board” itself seemed to conjure up ideas that were outdated or irrelevant. Since LifeBuilder’s was on our radar and I had started preliminary planning for a state event, it seemed that this board would be better called “LifeBuilder’s Board”. And rather than just laymen, why not include men who hold other offices in the church? Which leads to the second question.
“Who?” Who should we include on this board? We felt diversity was important in making this new board more effective. State Bishop Martin Taylor and I sat down and discussed the possibilities concerning this board. Since we were changing the name this opened the door to include more than just laymen. Since pastors are vital to the success of any ministry in the local church it was an obvious choice. We began looking not just for laymen, but for men who had expressed interest in men’s ministry and who had a passion to work. We also looked for men who were leaders If this team was going to change the face of men’s ministry in our state we felt they needed to be able to help lead this change.
What then would be the role of the men on this team? What is their function? First, it would be to be passionate. We wanted men who were willing to work. The LifeBuilder’s event we were planning was going to be different than anything we had ever done in Florida. I was confidant I would need their help to pull it off. I want these men to be creative. I had put together a plan, but when these men got in the same room the creative juices started flowing. These men are also promoters; part of their job to help us get the word out. I want them to make a lot of noise about the changes we we’re making.
Since our LifeBuilder’s Team is still new we are learning. I want the men’s ministry of our state to be life-giving. Our first team meeting consisted mostly of asking what could we do and how could we do it? Every man was given an assignment and then sent out to gather their team and do their part. I want it to be more than just guys sitting around talking. That’s why I chose the theme for our first LifeBuilder’s event to be “Let The Adventure Begin.” It had the feel we were doing something, going somewhere.
Since the changes we have made are still in their infancy we have yet to see the what will come of all this. However, since LifeBuilder’s 09 we have seen a definite surge in men’s ministries around the state. New men’s groups have been initiated and existing groups have been revived. This is a new venture with a new vision. So far it seems we are on the right path.