Targeting Your Men

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. 2017

Who Are The Men in Your Life?

We are already in the sixth month of this year?  It seems like yesterday, as a young Junior High student, I was counting the years to the new millennium.  It seemed like a long time before the millennium back then.  I even wondered if I would even see that magical year.  Now, here we are into the 21st year of that new millennium, and I am now counting the years till my 100th birthday.  I don’t know if the Lord will allow me to see that, but I do know that no matter how old you are, we need other men in our lives.

Men, by nature, are isolationists. Some of you may be thinking as you read that, “I disagree with that.  I like hanging around with other men.  I mean, I hunt with other men, go fishing, attend ballgames… man, I am even involved with the Men’s Ministry in my church.  I am not an isolationist.” 

That may be true, but what I mean by being an isolationist is that we like to keep things to ourselves.  We don’t wear our feelings on our sleeves.  We don’t share our struggles with other men.  Because we are strong men.  We don’t want to seem weak.  I don’t want people – especially other men – to know that I struggle with life. 

Well, join the club, we all struggle with life rather we want to admit it or not.  Ecclesiastes 4:9 tells us, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor” (NASB).  Verse ten tells us, “For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.”  Then verse 10 continues providing a warning to us about not having someone there to pick us up, “But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” 

The scripture truth here is that every man needs another man in his life regardless of who he is.  A man that can pick him up when he falls.  A man that can encourage him during his struggles.  A man that can be a sounding board, a counselor, a mentor.

Many years ago, I was told that I need three types of men in my life.  That has stuck with me.  As I get older, I see the wisdom in this and why God gave Solomon the wisdom to write the encouragement in scriptures for a man to have another man to walk beside him.  What are those types of men?  They all come from scripture.  Their names are synonymously associated with what they are to be to a man: Paul, Barnabas. and Timothy.

Zig Ziglar used to tell a story about how Belgian horses are trained to work together—and how it made these incredible animals so much more effective.  Belgian horses are huge, powerful animals.  In fact, one Belgian can pull more than 8,000 pounds.

The weird thing, though, is that if you put two Belgian horses together, they don’t just double the amount they can pull; they triple it to 24,000 pounds.  And if you spend some time training them to work together, that unified pair can pull a whopping 32,000 pounds.  That’s four times what a single horse can do alone!

The story reminds me that connections are powerful—and not just for Belgian horsesMen need healthy relationships to win at life, too.  Five years from now you will be the same person you are today except for the books you read and the people you meet.  In other words, we need the accountability and support that come when others invest in our lives.

I’ve heard leadership and relationship coaches say that everyone needs a teacher, a student and a friend.  As Christians, that is where we might tweak it just a little bit to say that everyone needs a Paul, a Timothy and a Barnabas.

Your “Paul” is the mentor who pours his life and wisdom into your life, while your “Timothy” receives the same blessing from you.  I enjoy sitting at the feet of people who are further along the journey than I am, and I’ve had some influential mentors through the years.  I have developed a desire to pour my life into someone else which encourages me.  But one of the best decisions I’ve ever made is to surround myself with an incredible group of “Barnabas” friends.

On the first Thursday of the month I meet with about eight other men for breakfast at 8am for about 90 minutes investing in one another.   We talk about our struggles together.  We study Scripture together. We read books together.  Basically, we’ve done life together for more than a decade.

I’ll be honest. I get a lot of criticism and crazy hate mail, but most of it doesn’t faze me a bit.  Those people really don’t know anything about me!  But if a member of my Group calls me out on something, I take it very seriously.  Their words carry almost as much weight as my wife’s words.  Why?  Because they’ve invested in me, and they’ve earned the right to speak into my life.

God works through each of the relationships in our lives.  He uses a Paul to guide us. He uses a Timothy to help us mature.  And He uses a Barnabas to challenge us.  In response, we should always be learning, teaching and loving.

So, who are the men in your life?

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike.

Don’t Forfeit the Summer!

The weather is getting warmer. The trees are in full bloom. People are ready to get out after being shut up in their houses for the winter months. Vacations are planned. And many churches suspend their ministries to men. Sounds like a typical late spring pattern.  And as we approach the summer months, many churches will suspend their ministry to men during the summer months.

I want to encourage you, do not forfeit the summer months. This is an opportunity for you to really pour into the lives of your men.

Yes, there will be men traveling, taking their families on vacation, and it is a good time for them to get away for a while with their families, and they should get away with their families. But many men will not be traveling.  Many will be staying at home.

But suspending the ministry to men during the summer months may set men up to get involved in areas they should not be. There will not be anything to encourage your men. Some men may be involved in weekly discipleship groups, but what about the men who are not.

So if you are doing monthly breakfasts, continue your monthly breakfasts. If you are doing a Bible study, continue your Bible study. Plan a big outing, maybe a tailgate party, plan a trip to a ballgame. Do a Father – Son outing. Do something. Plan activities through the summer months. Keep your men engage.

I have seen a lot times when churches suspend their ministry to men during the summer months they spend all of September and possibly into October trying to get their men engaged again. They even lose some of their men while the ministry is suspended never to be seen again.

Think seriously about suspending your ministry to men during the summer months. Continue the ministry. Don’t stop! Pour into your men’s lives. Don’t forfeit the summer months. God doesn’t stop His work during the summer months. God doesn’t stop doing things because it is summer.

This is an excellent time to reach men through many summer activities. Do not forfeit the summer to reach the men of the church and community.

Continue ministering to your men during the summer months.

To the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

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