The ministries of most churches rarely, if ever, have events that center around men. I have even heard of a church that stated we don’t need a formalized ministry to men. But interestingly, whether they have a formalized ministry to men or not, they have one—they just don’t realize it. The church will either tell the men they are valuable and care about them or tell them they are not valuable.
Some churches will intentionally target the men because they know that as the man goes, so goes the family, and so goes the church body. One such church is Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, whose senior pastor, Dr. James Emery White, lists targeting men as one of their eight strategic decisions. He states that these eight decisions have proven to be tactical in serving their mission as a church.
In an article, Eight Strategic Decisions, published on the Crosswalk website in 2017 Dr. White states,;
“At Meck, we unashamedly target men in our outreach, in our messages, in our… well, almost everything. We have become convinced through years of experience that if you get the man, you get everyone else within his orbit—specifically, his wife and his children.”
Dr. White continues by stating, “What does it mean to target men? It means you think about male sensibilities in terms of music and message, vocabulary, and style. One of the most frequent things we hear from women is: “My husband loves this church. I could never get him to church before. But now he comes here even when I don’t!” And she will go where he wants to go. Get him, you get her. Get him and her, you get the family. It’s as simple as that.”[i]
It appears that Dr. White and The Meck get it. If you want to reach the complete family, you need to target the men intentionally. Churches historically have ministries that speak to children, youth, ladies, even families as a whole. Still, they rarely have ministries that speak directly into the hearts and minds of the individual men.
During one of the meeting times with my mentor Jeff Kisiah, he shared about a visit to a church where he spoke to the men. As he was touring the church campus, he came across a table in the church’s vestibule. He found small wire baskets with brochures that provided information about key ministries of the church on the table. The brochures in the individual baskets were on the Women’s Ministry, the Youth Ministry, and the Children’s Ministry. What was missing was one for the Men’s Ministry. One would have to ask themselves visiting the church, does this church genuinely value the men, and are they serious about ministering to men? Are they targeting their men?
Another interesting fact I have discovered is when I review churches’ websites. Very few websites have anything on the site targeting men. Most will have information on the children and youth ministries, and occasionally, you will find information regarding the women’s ministries. Information on the men’s ministry will be missing.
Churches who are targeting their men will take every opportunity to reach and connect with their men. I encourage you to use every means possible to show the men they are important to the church’s life.
Recently I was invited to attend a men’s event sponsored by a church. During the event, I discovered they were planning a Bible study for their men. I was applauding them for creating another entry point for their men. Then I found they waited to announce the study five days before they were to start. Even more interesting, the Bible study announcement was made only to the men who attended the event—less than a hundred of a church of over 2,500. Does this sound like a church that is targeting its men?
I encourage you to examine what you are doing to reach the man connected with your church, especially those on the fringes. Such as the man in church regularly but not involved in any discipling relationship or even attending men’s events. What are you doing to reach these men? Because most churches don’t intentionally target men, I wonder if that contributes to most men thinking the church is just for women and children. That is something to think about.
To the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike
[i] James Emery White. Eight Strategic Decisions. Article on Crosswalk website. https://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/dr-james-emery-white/decisions-eight-strategic-strategies.html. 2017