Why Attend a Men’s Conference?

There are numerous ways to create multiple entry points to get men involved in the Men’s Ministry of a local church.  One of those ways is by inviting men to attend a men’s conference your church plan to attend.  But why would a man want to attend a men’s conference?  To answer that question one needs to understand the purpose of a men’s conference and the types of conferences available. 

All conferences are designed to encourage men to be men God created them to be; but, not all men’s conferences are created equal.  Conferences are designed from many different perspectives.  Some are designed as an evangelistic conference or a conference that focuses on a particular interest of men.  Some conferences attract the younger generation and some conferences are more suited for the older generation.  Some conferences focus on a particular interest of the man such as a man who likes to be an outdoorsman.  Then some conferences are built around the keynote speaker.

There are many different styles and types of conferences men can choose to attend.  Most will only attract those men who are interested in the speaker, subject, or focus of the conference, limiting the number of men who would be interested to attend.  However, there is one type of conference that can connect with every man in your church and that is an Equipping Conference. 

An Equipping Conference does not limit itself to a particular subject or is it built around a keynote speaker, though there is usually one or two.  An Equipping Conference is designed for men of all ages and walks of life to hear from men’s leaders speaking on a variety of subjects.  Subjects that can help them to spiritually grow and speak into their family’s lives or into other men’s lives.  Men have the opportunity to attend Breakout Sessions to hear experts in their field speak on subjects such as discipling; husband, fatherhood, and grandfather tune-ups; developing a men’s ministry in your church; how to minister to men with addictions; how to be involved in mission projects; how to continue ministry beyond retirement, and many other subjects.  The list could be extensive. 

An Equipping Conference allows men to discover the many resources available to help churches reach the men of their respective churches and community and connects you with the leaders.  Men will have opportunities to actually speak and ask questions of these leaders developing a relationship.  One of the areas I struggled with greatly when I became the men’s leader at my church was finding resources and discovering experts in the men’s ministry field to help and mentor.  I had no idea of the amount of material available.  Through an Equipping Conference, you can discover these resources.

So as you plan your next conference experience be sure to give consideration to the type of conference that would best benefit your men.  Which experience would benefit your men the most and provide resources and connections that will continue for months even years to come.

Together in the adventure and challenge to disciple men – Mike

Create Multiple Entry Points

In my previous article, Supporting Ministry To Men, I discussed the four areas most churches lack to support Ministry to Men.  One of those areas was a Lack of Finances and one of the reasons given for a lack of finances is that men do not have has many events.  I stated at the time, “But that is a topic for another time.”  Well, this is that time. 

Creating multiple entry points for your men is necessary to reach every man in your church.  If you are not thinking about how to reach every man in your church and operating as every man in your church is a part of the Ministry to Men, then your group is nothing more than a social gathering and not a ministry.

There are two areas you need to consider to reach the men; Events and Spiritual Growth.  To adequately plan these areas you need to know your men and we will discuss knowing your men in the next article.  But, in this article, we are going to unpack Events and Spiritual Growth.

Events:  The number of events you schedule and plan for your men each year is a difficult question to answer.  Because the size of your church and the number of men in your church will dictate the number of events to plan.  A vibrate ministry to men will generally have at least four events each year – one per quarter – but, no less than two events each year. 

Regardless of the number of men in your church, your men’s ministry leadership team should plan a different activity each quarter.  Why?  Because you want to create events that will, over some time, resonate with the interest of every man in the church.

This is why it is important to have a men’s ministry leadership team.  The team should be made up of men who have diverse interests.  This way one man does not plan all events.  If your men’s ministry is led by a single leader then what generally happens is all the events will be built around his interest.

A leadership team with men of diverse interests will have more success in planning events that may appeal to more men over time.  Examples of men’s events many churches have is a Wild Game Night, a Golf Scramble, a NASCAR or some other sport watch party, a trip to a ball game, or a father/son outing.  By having a different type of event each quarter will show the team has a desire to connect with all the men in the church and not just a select few.

Each event though should have a spiritual element involved such as devotion, testimony, or speaker.  Because you want to use these events to encourage men in their spiritual growth and become involved in spiritual growth groups.

Spiritual Growth:  I once heard a pastor state he needs to take a few months to evaluate what is most effective to reach men: discipleship groups, Bible Study Groups, events, or Men’s Conferences.  Let me say this, all of them are just effective as the other and should be incorporated to reach all the men of the church and community.  Why?  Because each one of these methods will reach the man where he is at in his spiritual walk.

Man in the Mirror in their book No Man Left Behind states there are five types of men in the church: a Lost Man, a Cultural Christian, a Biblical Christian, a Leader, and all across the other four are Hurting Men.  Each one of those methods the pastor wanted to evaluate which would be more effective will reach each one of those men differently.

A man who is lost even if he does not realize he is spiritually lost will probably not attend a Discipleship Group.  They might attend a Bible Study Group and they will probably attend a Men’s Event.  Even men who do know the Lord may not be ready to participate in a Discipleship Group.  Besides, successful Discipleship Groups generally are created by someone intentionally inviting a man to attend.

In Bible Study Groups, there is a camaraderie that develops between the men.  They enjoy meeting together and listening to someone speak into their lives without having to be transparent or vulnerable.  They may not even need to be accountable to anyone.  But the time together provides encouragement to the men.

Men’s Events are opportunities to allow men to hear testimonies through either planned talks or through conversations about men being involved in Bible Study Groups, Discipleship Groups, and missional activities.  God can use these discussions to capture a man’s heart to draw his interest to be involved in one of these groups.  Eventually, the Holy Spirit will tug at his heart enough that either he will seek a group or when someone taps him on the shoulder to invite him to a group, he will accept.

A Men’s Conference is an event and will work much the same as Men’s Events.  However, I classify men’s conferences as two different types: Pep Rally or Equipping.  Nothing wrong with either one and each has a place in Ministering to Men.  Attending a Pep Rally type conference a man will hear good speakers and music.  The men are encouraged and are around like-minded men, but, it has been my experience that for most men, in a few days to a week after returning the excitement has vanished, and in two-three weeks it is back to normal life before the conference.  Attending an equipping conference men are provided tools to take back home and apply to their daily life.  They have an opportunity to choose sessions to attend that resonates with them to learn about, and to meet with the speakers in smaller groups.  I have been to both types and have enjoyed both types.  You just have to determine which one do you and your men need.

In closing, as a church develops a vibrate ministry to men, they need to understand there is a need to ensure events, activities, and spiritual gatherings are planned to reach every man in the church and community.  It takes work and it takes a passionate leadership team to create Multiple Entry Points to connect with your men.

Be patient and let the Lord guide you.  It takes time to build a vibrate men’s ministry.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – MIke

Supporting Ministry To Men

In my years of working with churches and men, there are four areas I regularly see lacking in churches regarding ministering to men.  Some churches are doing some of these well, but very few are doing all of these well. 

We spend a good deal of time talking about discipling men and moving them into discipling small groups, conducting Bible Study Groups, determining what men’s interests are, and creating events around those interests.  But we rarely speak to the administrative side of ministering to men other than the leadership team.

Some of the areas I am going to mention here may create some serious debate among members of a church.  These will only be resolved when key individuals begin to understand that ministering to men is one of the most important and vital ministries in a local church body.  

The following are the four areas most churches lack in their ministry to men.

Lack of Leadership – Leadership for ministering to men is taken for granted in many churches.  Nominating committees often look for a single man who will agree to have his name placed on the leadership list as the Men’s Ministry Director, generally for three years.  When the Nominating Committee should be looking for a man who has a burden for men and a passion to speak into their lives.  A man who is not looking to be replaced in three years, but one who has been called to minister to men.  One who can build a leadership team around him so when God moves him on there is someone who can move into the position and continue the ministry.  If a church wants to have a vibrant and effective ministry to men then they need to seek a man who is called into the position.

Lack of Promotion – Notice the picture.  What is wrong?  You may not be able to read the title of the three brochures on the table but they are brochures for the Youth Ministry, Women’s Ministry, and the Children’s Ministry.  What is missing?  Men’s Ministry!  To have an effective ministry to men the church must bring the ministry to men to the forefront just like they do with ministries that reach other people groups.  By neglecting any kind of promotion of men’s ministry you are saying men are not important.  The leaders may not feel that way, but this is the message being conveyed.  Whatever you do to promote other ministries do the same or similar to promote the Men’s Ministry – put them on equal footing, at least. 

Lack of Finances – One of the least budgeted ministries in the church is the men’s ministry.  The women’s ministry will generally rival but if one is going to have a larger budget, it will be the women’s.  Some of the reasoning is that men are better equipped to cover the cost of events and material for various activities.  Another argument is the men do not have has many events.  But that is a topic for another time.  Youth and children ministries generally have the largest budget of the various ministries in the church; often 12-15 times as much and the parents are still expected to pay for certain activities although the church budget may cover some of the cost.  Men, however, are expected to pay 100% of the cost.  Many of the men are also parents who are not only paying their way but also paying the way for the rest of the family.

We talk about ministering to men and helping them to become husbands, dads, employees, employers, community citizens, and leaders God desires.  We talk about how it is for men to step up and be the men God created them to be, yet we make it harder for these men to be trained.  Churches need to give strong consideration to increasing their budgets for men to help cover the cost of attending planned activities and to increase the number of events in the year – the number of events should be proportional to the size of the church.  Rarely make an event free, but consider covering at least 50% of the cost – similar to the youth and children activities.

Lack of Masculine Presence – I often ask church leaders, “After men have attended your church services how would they complete this sentence?  Men are ________ here.”  Would they say, ‘Welcomed,’ ‘Wanted,’ ‘Needed,’ ‘Active’, or something like ‘Tolerated,’ ‘Bored’ ‘Disinterested’ ‘’ or some other word?  Though men are members of the church and many are invited to attend, often there is very little to help men feel the church is for them.  Church campuses are generally decorated with a feminine mindset.  Nothing wrong with that, but even in areas generally frequented only by men have a feminine décor.  Think about decorating men frequented areas with men in mind.  About how a man might feel if he walks into a room decorated in a masculine style to attend Bible Studies, breakfasts, etc.  I know of churches who have hung tools on the walls in the men restrooms; another church hanged pictures of old cars and motorcycles, they even had a 1957 Bel-Air Bench Seat sitting in the room.  Maybe take a room and turn it into a ‘man-cave’.  There was one church that had taken a WWII P-31 training aircraft and hanged it in their Family Life Center.  Don’t be scared to decorate areas of the church campus with the men in mind.  Encourage your music leader to think of men when they are planning the music for the weekend services.  Sing some manly songs, warrior songs, songs that help a man feel like a man of God worshiping the King of kings and Lord of lords.  Remember men sing lower so do an occasional song in the lower registers to make it easier for men to sing.

These are areas I believe most every church can improve.  We not only want to speak into men’s lives but we also what them to know they are welcomed, important, and vital to the life of the church.  So take a long look and evaluate where your church may be able to improve as you develop the ministry to men as a vibrant and effective ministry.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike