Picture a men’s ministry where guys who wouldn’t cross the threshold of a church take hold of the cross. Imagine a men’s ministry where guys who don’t know Jesus fall in love with a ministry that is so engaging that they then can’t avoid Jesus.
That’s not how most men’s ministries work.
Most men’s ministries fall into the doldrums of regularity for the already convinced. I’m talking about the difference between a romantic engagement and a marriage that both partners have allowed to grow stale. Men’s ministries do not thrive if the mission is to have a monthly breakfast or bbq. That’s not a mission. That’s a repetition of institutional DNA which does not touch lives, catalyze growth, or entice men who are wandering to find purpose and direction. Often the effort to preserve structures trumps the purpose of the structures, and such events fall into the routine of uninspired and out of place music, speakers who are chosen because they were available, and then setting a date for next month.
A men’s ministry should exist to build strong leaders…
Who are immersed in the word,
Who are loving their families,
And who are forwarding the kingdom.
Men need to be immersed in the word
There is not one particular learning style that is particularly masculine, but there are a
variety of learning styles. Church focuses on aural learning (listening to a lecture) and dialogical learning (sitting in a small group and talking). Both are great and essential. Two isn’t enough.
What about the guy who is a tactile learner, who isn’t learning if his hands aren’t engaged in using tools and tinkering with a project?
What about the guy who is a kinetic learner, who isn’t learning unless his body is in motion – running, or hiking, or fishing, or shooting hoops?
What about the guy who is a spatial learner, who would rather design a building than sit in it, or walk through nature than read about Creation?
What about the guy who is a mathematical learner, who is more at home in the world of numbers than relationships?
Men need to be immersed in the word, and the church needs to craft biblical learning experiences for men that both include and surpass lectures and groups.
Men need to learn to love their families
I’ve got two little projects I’m working on at home. Their the best gadgets I’ve ever gotten my hands on them, because the buttons that I push don’t work the same way every time, so I’m constantly figuring out how and why they’ve changed. Piaget did pioneering work in children’s developmental psychology by sitting around and watching his grandkids. Small wonder – these guys are mesmerizing. Men need opportunities to bond with their kids that open up avenues for shared creativity and story telling. At my church, we’ve done Daddy-daughter dates, Father-child bowling outings, and we’re about to pioneer a never-before-seen urban camping experience for dads and little ones.
Men need to be a part of forwarding the kingdom
Men should be a part of a project that is bigger that themselves, one that takes even the most introspective of us out of ourselves to focus on something global. Jesus came to create a kingdom that had no national borders, and Jesus-followers are invited into its citizenship. Want to see guys come alive? Tell them they are part of a wild west experience in an uninhabited territory where the land needs to be settled, resources attained, structures built, and a future vision unfolded. One of the great ministries we’ve experienced in men’s ministry was when a member of the congregation launched a home rehabilitation project, where men came alongside families whose homes had been tagged by the city for insufficient upkeep. The guys came in and spent a day in renovation and overhaul that did more for that family in need than they could have pulled of in months on their own. That’s kingdom work.
And I guess that’s the punchline. The kingdom needs guys, and guys need the kingdom.