Churches always struggle to create, maintain, and justify men’s ministries. I don’t know why, but women’s ministries tend to form almost naturally. I watched a new church plant grow explosively, and as they did, they refused to start any ministry that was not excellent. Their staff said, “We had to keep saying ‘no’ to a women’s ministry because we weren’t ready.” I noticed they didn’t have to keep saying “no” to a men’s ministry.
That tends to be the way of men’s ministry. But the reality is that men’s ministry is needed in churches that don’t have them. It fills a need in the hearts of men. And it creates a need among men who haven’t been aware of what they’re missing.
Men’s Ministry Is Deeply Needed
Women’s ministries and men’s ministries tend to function very differently in churches. It’s not uncommon to find burgeoning women’s ministries. It’s uncommon that the men’s ministry has kept up. For instance, there’s an organization called Bible Study Fellowship that teaches the Scriptures in churches around the world. They have gatherings for men and for women. Here in Los Angeles, the gatherings for women outstrip the gatherings for men by more than four to one.
Men have every bit as much a need for friendship, discipleship, and purpose as women, but churches commonly report that women’s ministries have a more widespread draw and impact than men’s ministries.
A Good Men’s Ministry Fills a Need
The problem with most men’s ministries is that they have no vision or purpose. They fall into the routine of casual gatherings for regular attenders that neither intend nor achieve an impact. When we can’t have purpose, we settle for pancakes. A good men’s ministry fulfills the need for purpose. Our church launched a building project with Cargo of Dreams, a ministry that empowers churches to build schoolhouses on the church’s own campus out of shipping containers and then ships them to places in need overseas. When we did that, I watched men who had little involvement in the church spend day after day on our campus, building infrastructure, running electrical, painting, and creating what would be a fully-functioning school. It now sits in a field in South Africa, where before, the children simply met in the field without a building.
Breakfasts aren’t going to do that, because they don’t rally men to a purpose. We all need to be needed. Men’s ministries tend to thrive when guys are asked to bring skills, strength, and willingness to the table to make a difference for someone else.
Men’s Ministry Creates a Need
The men’s ministry at our church has launched a new season with the mission statement, “Our men’s ministry exists to build strong leaders who are immersed in the word, loving their families, and forwarding the kingdom.” That mission statement rallies men to the ideas of growing deep in faith, recognizably effective in family life, and impacting the world for a cause that is bigger than ourselves.
I talked to a guy who just joined our church last weekend. He said, “I’ve been to churches before, but I’ve never, you know, talked about Jesus.” Then he said, as though it were both something he was serious about and yet something that was new to him, “And now…we’re on a mission from God.”
There are guys in every neighborhood who don’t realize how big the cause is to which they are called. We often settle into our careers, our TVs, our cars, and so forth, and if we do them persistently enough, it quiets the small voice in the back of our minds that says, “There has to be something more.”
We want to lead a men’s ministry that awakens in guys the possibility that God has a big vision for them. And we want men living those visions to awaken men who aren’t.