I have learned the importance of having numerous “on ramps” for enlisting men in the Battle For Men’s Souls (B4MS). Too many leaders only provide entry points on the “deep end” of the discipleship continum such as; In-Depth Bible Studies, Leadership Training Modules, or High Commitment Venues. This is only going to reach a small number of men.
The best image I can give you to reach the men of your church and community is a casting net. In ministering to men you need to cast a wide net of numerous entry points to bring the men in and help them grow to the point you can take them into those deep bible studies. Men who are on the fringes or has no interest in church will generally not attend any of the “deep end” studies.
We need to create activities that accentuates the Ministry of “Hanging Out.” We want to reach those who are on the fringes who remain disinterested of disconnected. We do this by providing a balance approach and offer entry points on the “wide end.”
In my expereince, I have seen God work uniquely in the lives of men through these various entry points . These “Entry Points” could be activities such as attending ballgames together, taking a hiking trip, attending racing events, or classic car shows. It could include a wilderness adventure – a retreat. One such event is a men’s outdoor weekend where the men have an opportunity to skeet shoot, throw hatchets, archery, etc. Maybe an all day fishing trip. And Yes, a monthly Saturday morning breakfast or evening meal during the week is an “on ramp” activity.
All of these can be included in your “Ministry of Hanging Out.” Most churches so often think within the box and only conduct events for men who are spiritually growing. I have heard leaders say but my men want those studies that dive into the Word. That’s great and I encourage you do those studies. But what about the man who is not there yet. You have to feed a young child milk first and help him graduate to the meat. Even the Apostle Paul recognized when people needed milk and not solid food (1 Co. 3:1-3).
I had a pastor once tell me that you need to take the men deep and then send them out wide. Though I will agree with him in concept, but he was forgetting on the front end that you have to get the men something (milk) that would bring them in to take them deep (solid food). So a church needs to cast the net wide, slowly bring the men in through various “on-ramps,” gradually take them deep, and then send them out.
To develop an active and effective ministry to men in your community a church needs to have something for men every month. Recognizing that not every man will participate in every event planned. Your leadership team should develop activities for men to hang out based on the interst of the men. Which leads us to the third mistake churches make when minitering to men and I will cover that in my next post.
So I will leave you with this question.
How balanced is your approach in reaching ALL Types of men?
To the challenge and adventure to disciple men. – Mike