Demand for Men’s Ministries Continues to Increase
By Ken Walker
After four decades in the pastorate, Buddy Griffin is riding a wave of excitement labeled “men’s ministry.” The former education minister at Sagemont Church in Houston stepped into his new role two years ago, telling the senior pastor he could do more for God’s kingdom by working with men.
“This is phenomenal,” says Griffin of the 800-plus men participating in the ministry, which has helped bump up the mega church’s male membership to 44 percent, or 5 percent above the national average.
“I’ve never been more energized in ministry than I am now,” Griffin says. “What’s neat about men’s ministry is you see results quick. Men don’t know what to do, but once they learn they start responding.”
Much of his enthusiasm stems from Men’s Fraternity, a three-year curriculum written by Arkansas pastor Robert Lewis. The material is used by thousands of churches nationwide, including 30 in the Houston area.
Special Classes and Events
However, the ministry at Sagemont extends beyond Lewis� material. Male camaraderie sparked a series of special classes that meet on Sundays and at other times, such as an “Experiencing God” study this spring on Tuesdays at 6 a.m.
The ministry also sponsors special events, most recently a formal Valentine’s Day banquet where men read love letters and poems to their wives.
After hanging a huge “Men’s Ministry” banner in the gymnasium to attract attention, Griffin had bright blue shirts printed for men to wear when they distribute the new monthly newsletter.
He even had the men’s restrooms redecorated with photos of hunting, fishing and sports to improve Sagemont’s “man code.”
“That’s how a man feels when he walks into the church,” Griffin explains. “A church repels men if they don’t have anything for them.”
Start with Small Group
When it comes to duplicating Sagemont’s success, Griffin cautions against organizing a committee, drafting plans and calling a meeting.
Instead, the men’s ministry leader says any initiatives should bubble up from within a small group. He tells churches to enlist about eight men to go through a book like “Man in the Mirror” or “Wild at Heart.”
“They’ve got to be holy,” Griffin says. “They need to get together, trust each other and if men have sin in their life, get it right. It might take six months.
“The whole time your prayer is, ‘God, what should we do?’ He might say, ‘Nothing.’ A lot of churches jump too quickly and it crashes. Once that happens, it’s hard to get started again.”
The other challenge is sustaining momentum. Griffin says there are four keys, starting with a pastor who strongly backs the idea, as well as a staff member or layman who is passionate about it.
It also requires a leadership team with a vision of the ministry’s potential and a strategy for reaching it. For, Sagemont that translates to outreach such as, sponsoring a sports spectacular in August, where instead of preaching, church leaders, will use the occasion to invite non-Christians to the fall session of “Men’s Fraternity.”
Four Keys to Success
Griffin’s suggestions reflect ideas outlined by Man in the Mirror (MIM) ministry, which takes its name from the best-selling book by Patrick Morley.
MIM President David Delk says there are four keys to starting a dynamic men’s ministry:
* Cornerstones that include pastoral support, a passionate leader, a committed leadership team and the right strategy.
* Being purpose-driven rather than event-driven.
* Being relationship-based instead of task-oriented.
* Making disciples and praying for workers.
MIM sponsors seminars around the nation titled “No Man Left Behind,” which is also the name of its latest book, written by Morley, Delk and Brett Clemmer, the ministry’s vice president of leadership development.
There is no doubt interest in men’s ministry is rising, says Delk, pointing to the 30 seminars it has scheduled this year, compared to six last year, the first time it offered training outside its Orlando headquarters.
“We didn’t know there would be such a demand,” Delk says.
A New Paradigm
One of the goals of MIM’s seminars is to redefine men’s ministries. Delk says the way many are implemented creates an “us vs. them” mentality.
Instead of seeing what deacons and other leaders do in carrying out the church’s mission as part of discipleship, other men grumble, “But they don’t go to the men’s breakfast,” Delk explains.
In addition, many pastors resist starting a men’s ministry because they see it as something akin to organizing a parallel church when their hands are already full, MIM’s president says.
“We’re urging them to blow up their vision of men�s ministry,” Delk says. “We’re trying to develop a process so that whatever interaction a person has with a church (we ask), “How do we maximize the impact from that?”
“Then, we give them the next step so they can move forward in their relationship with Christ. It’s not just to have small groups and do service programs. We’re trying to develop passionate disciples of Jesus Christ.”
Griffin agrees, on that, goal for any men’s ministry. He urges churches to keep the end in sight, no matter how many years it takes to develop an outreach to men.
“Once guys get it right and start confessing to each other, the group becomes powerful,” Griffin says. “They’re trying to do what is right and serving God.”
Men’s Ministry 101 Resources Books
The Way of the Wild Heart by John Eldredge. Explores six biblical stages of manhood and fathering. Follow-up to Wild at Heart.
No Man Left Behind by Patrick Morley, David Delk and Brett Clemmer. Explores how to build and sustain a disciple-making men’s ministry.
Man in the Mirror by Patrick Morley. One of the most popular books in men’s ministry, with more than 3 million copies in print. Examines identity and other key issues facing men.
Effective Men’s Ministry, edited by Phil Downer. Handbook compiled by the National Network of Men’s Ministries, which includes more than 75 organizations and 30 denominations.
Man in the Mirror. Founded by best-selling author Patrick Morley. Emphasizes discipling men to build stronger homes and churches.
National Coalition of Men’s Ministries. Provides a forum for Christian leaders to share resources and vision while building unity among men’s ministries.
Promise Keepers. Seven Friday night-Saturday conferences slated from late June through late August that focus on uniting men to become passionate followers of Christ.
Iron Sharpens Iron. Sponsoring 14 one-day conferences between Mar. 17 and Oct. 27. Focuses on teaching men to be godly husbands, fathers and leaders.
Statistics Reveal Urgent Call for Men’s Ministries to Meet Discipleship Need
Based on figures from 2003, there were 103 million males in the U.S. 15 or older, but only six million involved in discipleship or personal formation, according to David Delk, president of Man in the Mirror (MIM) ministry.
That means just one in every 18 men are learning how to walk in Christ’s footsteps, he says, comparing that to 18 men going to a baseball field but only one knowing how to play the game. According to Delk, that deficit in men’s discipleship is directly correlated to many societal ills.
The Chaos from No Instruction
“Thirty-three percent of children under 18 will go to bed tonight without their father in the home,” Delk says. “We think (it’s) worth asking if something is wrong in a culture when 33 percent of children lack a father.”
Another leading indicator of the need for better discipleship: 93 percent of prison inmates are male and 85 percent of them report no significant father figure in their lives.
Delk says such statistics reveal a systemic issue, which is millions of men who do not know what means to be a godly man, and thus don’t know how to pass that on to the next generation.
Reaching Men has Ripple Effect
The power of reaching a man and teaching him how to live for Christ has far-reaching impacts that ripple through families, neighborhoods and communities, MIM’s president says.
“Discipling a man sets a family’s lineage on a whole new course,” Delk says. “The best thing we can do for teen pregnancy rates in 20 years is to disciple our men today.”
“Demand for Men’s Ministries Continues to Increase”. Written by Ken Walker.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”