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

Encouraging Men to Walk Together

4/12/2021

Remember when you taught someone how to perform a task, and you would tell them, “This is not rocket science?”  Well, after working in men’s ministry, coordinating events for men, discipling men, facilitating men’s small groups, and meeting one of one with men, let me tell you – ministering to men IS ROCKET SCIENCE!  I don’t say that to discourage you but to let you know that I know the frustration many of you may have as you seek to get your men involved in the ministries designed to bring men into a deeper walk with Christ.

I was talking to someone a while back who had started a small group a few weeks earlier, and I could tell in his voice there was a little frustration.  This was the first time he had ever attempted to lead a group of men.  I encouraged him to just be obedient to the calling God had placed on his life and let God do the work.  Continue to pour his life into these men, praying for them and being there for them.  Even if only one man shows up, that would be who God would want you to share life with at that moment.  Paul said it best to the people of Thessalonica when he wrote in his second letter to the Thessalonians, “Being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (2 Thess. 2:8).

We often think we need to have a deep bible study when we get our men together, but sometimes we need just to do life and allow God to open the opportunities for us to share the gospel or a word of encouragement.  I meet with a group of men once a month to have breakfast just to talk and let them share what is happening in their life, getting to know them, and opening myself up to them, not having any agenda.  Another group I meet with once a week as we study through the disciplines of a godly man, all to develop relationships and impact the Gospel of Christ in each others’ lives by either just sharing life or speaking the Word directly into their lives.

When I first began to work in Men’s Ministry, I thought we had to have big events and get as many men to attend as possible.  I reasoned that if we had these events and could get men to attend, men’s lives would begin to change.  However, I quickly learned this is only a small piece of the puzzle.  There is nothing wrong with big events, and they do have a place; but, these events should be used to connect with men.  From these events, you should always be looking for ways to encourage men to take the next right  step; to become involved in a discipling relationship.

Working with men is all about developing those relationships for the purpose to disciple. Even putting yourself out there to share some of your life’s successes and failures.  Men need to see you as being just as fallible as they are.  They need to know you have overcome situations in your life, and your hope is rooted in your relationship with Christ.  When men see you as one of them, then they will begin to open up.  It doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time. 

Often we use Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” in our respective men’s ministries.  There is truth here, but the only way this can be applied in our lives is to spend time with other men who have a passion for growing deeper in a relationship with God.  We will permit other men to challenge us when they see us missing the mark, holding us accountable in our walk with Christ.  This can only occur if we are intentional about developing discipling relationships.

Let me encourage you if you do not have such a man in your life; find one.  You will be blessed to have that man who will challenge you, be a listening ear when you need to talk, and, more importantly, pray for you.  “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”  To have someone in your life that will sharpen you, knock off those rough edges and smooth the edge so you can be ready to fight the battle that lies before us every day.

There is a battle for men’s souls happening all around us.  And we need men who will stand shoulder to shoulder with us every day.  Will you be a man who will stand shoulder to shoulder with another man in this battle?  Will you pour your life into other men?  Do you want to change families in your church?  Do you want to change your church to be more of an impact on your community?  Then start by sharing life with other men – the Gospel of Christ – developing intentional relationships that will sharpen each of us to be the man God desires for us all.

Together in the adventure and challenge to disciple men,

Mike Sandlin

Being Intentional

Recently I was talking to a group of men about three areas every men’s ministry needs to work on to have an effective and vibrate ministry to men; Know Your Men, Create Multiple Entry Points, and Being Intentional.  One of the men asked me, “What do you mean by being intentional?”  Well, that is a great question.  Dictionary.com describes ‘intentional’ as something that is “done with intention or on purpose.”  But for me to help you understand what I mean by intentional I need to share with you some instances we see in the Bible that displays intention and from my own personal life.

First, let’s look at the Bible.  There are a few events that come to mind when I think of displays of intentionality in the Bible.  One is when Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee and he saw Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew and he said to them “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men (Matt. 4:18-19).  Then Jesus encountered Matthew and said, “Follow me” (Mat. 9:9).  Then Jesus called James and his brother John (Mk 1:19-20).  Then later Jesus spent the night praying and as a result, he called 12 of his disciples and called them apostles to join him on the journey he was taking (Luk 6:12-16).  He called them by name, essentially ‘tapping them on the shoulder,’ and saying: “Follow Me.”  

Several times in the gospels we read of Jesus ‘tapping on the shoulder’ Peter, James, and John to accompany him on a certain task (Mat. 17:1; Mar. 5:37; Mar. 14:33; Luk 8:51).  Permitting only them to be a participant of an event.  Then the most obvious one is when Jesus personally appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus to question Saul why he was persecuting Him and ‘tap on the shoulder’.  He instructed Saul (Paul) to continue on his journey to Damascus and there he would be told what to do (Acts 1-6).

Each of these is displays of Jesus being intentional.  Essentially tapping individuals on the shoulder of those whom he wanted to pour his life into to prepare them for the ministry he was calling them to.

‘Tapping them on the shoulder’ is a metaphor of personally speaking to the individual about building a relationship around the concept of disciple-making or mentoring in the individual’s walk with God. 

By Jesus’ example, we can transfer that to the calling God has placed on all our lives to “Go … and make disciples.”  We too have to be intentional in our mission of making disciples.  They do not just come to us.  Some may approach us on their own but most will not.  So we must invite them on the journey just like Jesus did and is still doing.  I have experienced this in my own life.  I have been ‘Tapped on the shoulder’ and I have been the one who has ‘tapped others on the shoulder.’ Let me share a few.

Many years ago I was talking with a few people after church when Mr. Tommy walked up to me and asked me if I would be interested in attending a Bible study with a few men on Friday mornings at 5:00 am.  I accepted.  I attended that group for the next three years.  It radically changed my life.  I grew more in those three years than I had in all the years before since I became a Believer.  Through that experience, I gained a new perspective of what it meant to disciple someone else and I learned what Jesus meant when he commanded us to “Go… and make disciples.”

From this experience, I learned to apply Jesus’ method by praying on who I should disciple.  God led me to other men too who I reached out and ‘tapped them on the shoulder’ and personally asked them if they would be willing to meet with me to study God’s Word or work through a book that would help enhance spiritual growth.  Most of the men that have participated have shared with me how important this became to them.  All because I did what Jesus modeled by reaching out and being intentional to individuals He led me to in my relationship with them. 

So, what does it mean to be intentional?  It means inviting someone to take a journey with you to grow spiritually so they will understand what Jesus meant when he said: “Go… and make disciples.”

All of us are called and commanded to make disciples.  Begin praying today for God to lead you to those whom you can ‘Tap on the Shoulder’ and invite them on a journey to grow closer to God.  You will be blessed and discover many rewards in your own life when you do.

Together in the adventure and challenge to disciple men – Mike

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