A Church’s Example of Targeting Men

If you have followed me for any time, you will know I often talk about targeting men in the local church. Well, recently, I was invited to attend a one-night men’s conference, and I want to give a shout-out to Temple Baptist Church in New Bern, NC, for being about targeting their men.

From the time I walked in the door to the time I left, Temple was targeting me as a man. Everywhere I looked, I saw indications they believe men are important in the church’s life.

When I walked into the lobby or vestibule, as known in some churches, I saw two large TVs with slides on the walls on each side of the doors leading into the Worship Center. One had information about a men’s retreat the church was encouraging men to attend in a month.

The other TV had a large title on the screen that said: “Men Getting Connected.” It listed studies men could participate in, such as a Deep Bible Study Group, Mixed Issues including Pornography, and Chemical Dependency. They also listed activities men could be involved with, such as a Men’s Work Day and Sports ministry. Then the screen listed several coed classes men could lead their families to attend.

Another TV on the other side of the lobby had information on another conference men could participate in case they couldn’t participate in the one mentioned earlier.

They didn’t stop there. When I walked into the restrooms, they had signs displayed predominately at any place a man may stand, providing information encouraging men to participate in activities.

I often ask leaders when men visit your church how would they answer this question about men, “Here men are (Blank).”  When I left Temple Baptist Church that evening, it was no doubt in my mind I would answer that question with “Here, men are important.”

I asked the Men’s Ministry Leadership Team Leader Jerry Ramsey why it was essential to target and engage the men. He stated, “God expects us as men, whom He has ordained, to step forward and lead. I want to help men realize their rightful place in their family, the church, and the community through the example in Jesus Christ and God’s Word.”

Leaders, if you truly want to target and engage your men, you not only need to have discipling opportunities for the men to partake but everywhere they turn they need to see something about men displayed. They need to hear the pastors talking about men and they need to be reading about men.

You can have many men participating invisibly in various ministries of the church, but if men do not visibly see the church speaking to men, they will walk out the door after visiting, saying, “Here, men are not important or just a nuisance.”

Another observation I had while visiting Temple Baptist Church was when I sat at a table with five men from the church. I asked them two questions. What drew them to the church, and what has kept them here? To a man, their answer to both questions was the men’s ministry and small groups.

When they walked into the church, they saw the church was about connecting with men.

I want to encourage you to evaluate how your church connects with the men who attend the church? Is it visible? Or do the men have to decide to attend regularly before discovering how the church connects with men?

My prayer is that from the moment they walk in the door, men feel valued and important to the church’s ministry.

I pray you will join me in the challenge and adventure to disciple every man.

Are You Targeting Your Men?

For a man to get it, he must be ministered to. And not by just sitting in the pews on Sunday morning listening to the pastor speak. Or in a Sunday school class listening. But being around other men who has his back.

I recently had a colleague tell me that a friend of his stated that Men’s Ministry does not minister to the needs of the people. My first response to that was… WOW! that is someone who doesn’t understand what men’s ministry or ministering to men is all about. I would have to say I don’t think I have heard anyone say that before.

I have heard a church leader say, “I don’t think we need to have a formal men’s ministry.” And to that individual, I did say then you do not understand what ministering to men is all about.

The sad thing is that even though many in the church may not say either of these statements out loud, there are probably some who agree. Though there are churches that have a vibrant and effective men’s ministry, less than 5% of the churches in the United States have an active men’s ministry of any sort – effective or not. So by virtue of their actions, the churches are agreeing with these statements.

A friend in ministry, Jim Ramos, often says, “When men get it – everyone wins.” And that is so true. When a man understands what it means to be a man of God. When a man understands what it means to be a husband who loves his wife, cares for her, shows her honor, tries to live with her in an understanding way. When he recognizes that he is to be an example to his children to bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Then that man will be a man worth emulating. He will be a man that will be – not only beneficial to his family – but also to the church and community.

But for a man to get it, he must be ministered to. And not by just sitting in the pews on Sunday morning listening to the pastor speak. Or in a Sunday school class listening. But being around other men who has his back. He sees and hears from men letting him know that he is not the only one struggling in life. A church should intentionally target its men.

In 2017 the article Eight Strategic Decisions was published on the Crosswalk website. It quoted the pastor of the Mecklenburg Community Church. The pastor stated, “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.”

So, what does it mean to target men? It means you think about the male sensibilities in terms of music and message, vocabulary, and style.

What churches may see as just breakfast fellowships, outings, conferences, workdays where men get together to enjoy each other’s company, should be used to help men take the next right step. A step into an adventure and challenge of developing relationships with men who can encourage them in their spiritual walk.

Men need to have those one-on-one relationships. They need a Barnabas in their life. They need that man who can help them through tough times and rejoice with them in the good times. They need an Ecclesiastes 4 man in their life. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10,

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But pity him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

So, my question to you is, does your church think men’s ministry doesn’t reach the needs of the people? Does your church believe it doesn’t need a formalized men’s ministry plan to reach every man in the church?

Remember the statement from Jim Ramos I made earlier, “When the men get it – everyone wins”? Well, unless you have a strategic plan to pour into the men of the church, the men are not going to get it, and everyone will not win.

So, I encourage you to step back and evaluate your church’s ministry to men. Are you intentionally targeting your men? Are you providing studies and materials for men to grow into the men of God they should be? To be those husbands that love their wives as Christ loves the church. To bring up their children in the training and instruction of the Lord.

And the exciting side-effect of targeting your men to be the men of God created them to be – as the renewing transforms their heart and minds, they will seek and desire to move out and meet the physical needs of the people.

I pray you will join me in the challenge and adventure to disciple every man.

God bless.

Mike

What Are You Conformed To?

This week I have been reading in Ezekiel 11.  It is a continuation of the episode titled, “Are You Hard-Headed for the Gospel?” but with a different perspective.

In chapter 11, we see that God is speaking to Ezekiel about the people of Israel and shares some observations and warnings. In v12, God reminds the Israelites they have not followed Him by keeping His laws and have conformed to the standards of the nations around them.

How many of us – men – have allowed ourselves to be conformed to this world in many areas of our lives. We have not followed God’s instructions and trained ourselves in righteousness, allowing the Holy Spirit to conform us into the image of God.

Our spiritual growth is referred to as the process of sanctification. This includes two aspects, 1) becoming less like what we were before we came to Christ and 2) becoming more like Jesus.

The Bible says in Romans 12:2,

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

If you are not changing but continue to conform to this world, you need to evaluate yourself to discover where you stand in your relationship with God. The Bible says in Lamentations 3:40 that we need to examine ourselves and return to the Lord.

We should strive to be more like Jesus every day, follow His instructions, and apply His teachings to our lives. The Bible says in John 14:15 that Jesus said,

If you love me, you will obey my commandments.

God told Ezekiel that after scattering the Israelites because of their rebellious and obstinate ways, He will gather them back. And when they return, they will remove all the vile images and detestable idols. Do you have any detestable idols in your life? And recognize that an idol does not have to be a stature, it could be your job or any processions you may have.

God said He would give them an undivided heart or a heart of unity. He will put a new spirit in them or a sensible spirit. And He would remove the heart of stone and give them a tender and reponsive heart.

Then they will follow God’s decrees and be careful to keep His laws.

The Bible says in Ezekiel 11 20 that God said,

They will be my people, and I will be their God.

Men!  Are you still being conformed by this world, or are you being transformed by the renewing of your mind?

Are you putting away vile and detestable acts, or are you holding on to them, resulting in a stunted spiritual growth or possibly no growth at all?

The bible says in Ezekiel 11:21 that if we continue to hold on to these things, it will bring about destruction on our lives.

Will you hold to the promise of God in Ezekiel 3:19, giving you an undivided heart, putting a new spirit within you, and softening your heart so that you can follow His decrees and be careful to keep His commandments?

The Bible says in Joshua 1:8,

Do not let this Book of the Law (the Bible for us) depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.

I pray, men, this is your desire. The only way we can follow God’s instructions and to train ourselves in righteousness is to be in the Word of God.

Well, I pray that you will join me in the challenge and adventure to disciple every man.

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