Thank You, Mom!

Having completed my morning devotions as I sit here at my desk, I remember that tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Though, no, I didn’t just remember, I began to think about my Mother. Though she crossed over into eternity in 1993, I cannot help but think of how she still impacts my life today.

My Dad died when I was 14 years old, and she had to become Mom and Dad in so many ways. Though she didn’t know how to be a dad, she didn’t know how to teach me to do the things that a Dad would teach his son; she did the best she could.

But I guess the biggest impact she made on my life was my faith. Though she never really spoke spiritually into my life in teaching me about the things of God. She always made sure that I attended church and had the opportunity to participate in the youth events and trips that would speak spiritually into my life. Because of this, I met Tim Sims, who introduced me to Jesus Christ, and through his ministry, I realized I needed Christ in my life. This would not have happened if not for my Mother’s diligence.

I can remember my Mother sitting in her chair every evening with her bible in her lap, reading with her Sunday School book and working through the lesson for the coming Sunday. She always had it handy next to her chair, sitting on a bookshelf.

I know that after Dad died, I gave her a hard time. I disappointed her many times with my attitude and refusal to obey her wishes. Fortunately, I know that she was praying for my siblings and me. Because I know that I could have gotten into so much trouble in my teenage years before I left the fold, so to speak. Though I tested the waters of rebellion, I never became one who participated in the drinking scene. Or one who did drugs. Or even smoked. In all accounts, I guess I was a good boy.

And it was all because of my Mother.

It has been 29 years since her passing, and she is still affecting my life. Memories of her and our relationship, though turbulent at times, help make me the man I am today. I, too, pointed my children to God. I, too, pray for my children every day and even now for my grandchildren. I, too, pray they will become the men and women of God that God has designed them to be. Thank you, Mom, for being that spiritual example.

Though she may not have spoken into my life spiritually – she still pointed me to God. And for that, Mom, thank you. If you were here today, I would give you a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. I Love You!

Do Not Forfeit Father’s Day

Every year I remind church leaders not to forfeit Father’s Day. Because of this, I want to ask Men’s Ministry Leaders and Pastors this question, “What are you planning to do to target your men on Father’s Day?” I know not all men are Dads, but a good number are. And all of us have Dads.  

Father’s Day is a great day to reach out to all the men of the church and community. So, I have a statement for you – Do Not Forfeit Father’s Day! It is a great time to target men intentionally. They will be expecting something.

As a Men’s Ministry Leader, I believe this day is a great day to target our men, and we should take advantage of the day.  

To give you a little history about Father’s Day, it began when Sonora Smart Dodd in Spokane, Washington, who were one of six children raised by a widower, had the idea of having a day to celebrate our Fathers while sitting in church on Mother’s Day. She went to local churches, the YMCA, and others to gather support for her idea. As a result, on June 19, 1910, Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day. Though Father’s Day has become a commercial entity in today’s culture, it does have its roots in the church.

We can bring the original idea of Father’s Day back into the church as we honor our Fathers, reaching out to the men of our church and community. But to do so, we need to start planning now.

When I was a Men’s Ministry Leader in a local church several years ago, we gave books to ALL the men who came on campus that day. It was a book for all men, not just for dads. We also invited the men to attend a six-week book study that would begin a couple of weeks after Father’s Day. We had over 30 men take advantage of that opportunity. As a result, we had several success stories from that book giveaway and study. 

One man took the book to work and met with some of his coworkers to work through the book. Great things came out of that experience. And, after finishing the book, the men wanted more.

This is just one activity you can do to reach your men through Father’s Day. But there are others, and here are some thoughts on some actions you can take. It is my hope this will whet your appetite for more. As you ponder on these, maybe you can visualize other activities your church can do.

  1. If the morning message is tailored for Father’s Day, be sure it targets ALL the men encouraging them to be the men God designed them to be. This is one most churches do. But be sure you talk to ALL the men and be careful of isolating a particular group. But to be honest, I would recommend not doing a message that calls out dads. However, there is nothing wrong with spending a few minutes communicating gratitude and thankfulness for dads being dads.
  2. Have a Father/Son/Daughter outing sometime during the weekend. Men whose children are grown or men who do not have children could adopt a fatherless child for this event. This way, you are inviting all men to participate. If you have a military contingent in your area. Think about the children whose dads are deployed during this time.
  3. Reach out to those men in your church and community in the military who are deployed. Find out from their families what they would like to have and see if you can make it happen.
  4. Give the men a book that will encourage the men and offer a class relating to the book.
  5. Arrange an outing to a sporting event all men can participate. Or maybe a sports watch night in the fellowship hall or someone’s house on a big screen TV.  

Here are some additional suggestions that may not be associated with Father’s Day weekend but can be done in conjunction with;

  • Reach out to Dads whose children are attending your local church’s VBS. Maybe provide a gift certificate to a local restaurant or sports event or Fair they can take their child to. Or maybe a father/child Hot Dog dinner.
  • If your church has a summer daycare ministry, think on the same lines for the men whose children are involved.
  • Think about the Dads whose children are involved in the youth ministry or other children’s ministry activities.

These are just a few of the ideas a church can do to reach out and target men. If we desire to reach our men, we have to be intentional in our efforts. Look around your church, and you may see many other opportunities to reach your men.

So, ‘What are you doing to intentionally target your men during Father’s Day weekend?’  Intentionality is one of the areas most Men’s Ministries lack in their quest to reach men for the kingdom of Christ. If you want to reach more men and get them involved, you must be intentional in your efforts. 

Just remember, on Father’s Day, don’t make it all about fathers but develop opportunities for ALL MEN!

To the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

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.

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