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.

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

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