How do I get men to participate in Men’s Ministries?
By Dick Hardy
Why is it we want to spend all sorts of time trying to market men’s ministries? I mean, think about it. We have 60 zillion things going on around the church, and most of us are not sitting on cushy jobs with very little to do. So we say to ourselves, “Let’s try to get busier and kick into gear something we have tried to kick into gear every year on the year for the past 20 years…men’s ministries.”
Now don’t get me wrong. I believe in men’s ministries. That is why I gave three years of my life in full-time ministry to it for the purpose of impacting men.
I want to take some time to examine what works and what doesn’t as relates to men’s ministries and how to market accordingly.
Let me set the record straight. I have a bias. I theorize that your church is way too complicated. While we talk about marketing men’s ministries to the men in your church and community, you likely need to simplify your church.
There is a book out called Simple Church by Thom Rainer. It provides a great concept but is probably a bit unrealistic for most of our established churches. So maybe you cannot be a simple church, but you can become a simpler church.
In years gone by there was an approach to doing church that said, “More is better.” Ninety ministries is better than 80 ministries and 100 is better than 90. I suggest that approach has been the cause of more than one case of pastor or layman burnout. This mentality believes if we have one men’s event each year, then two men’s events must be better and three and four and five…. This is simply not true. More is not better. Better is better, and better can be less.
If better can be less, then how is it that we can communicate the advancement of men’s ministries in our churches. That seems like an oxymoron. How can we market to men and to the church at-large?
It is important to first develop a definition of marketing. Marketing is the whole business of talking to someone else about something you think is either of value or of interest to that person. In sales lingo, it is the business of telling your story to enough people enough times that some of them buy.
If you are going to use that definition to effectively market your men’s ministry, you need to acknowledge the four foundational principles of all ministries.
Four Foundational Principles for All Ministries
1. You must have the goods throughout the ministry. I can only trust Campbell’s to have good green beans if they also have good soup. If Applebee’s has crummy service and dirty restrooms in Kansas City, I am less inclined to think of them as a viable option when I am hungry for a lunch salad in Dallas. In the same way, you have to have the goods everywhere throughout the church.
2. You must move from an event-driven to process-driven culture. Event upon event upon event wears out everyone, staff and volunteers alike. What happens after a big event? Some bright guy says, “Let’s do it again!” And guess what? You do it again and wear everybody out and get lower attendance. Working a process enriches and refreshes everyone instead of wearing them out.
3. You must acquire quick, short-term wins. Everyone wants to hang with a winner. Quick short-term wins can at least create an illusion that you are on the winning path.
4. Most importantly, your ministry must get viral. Nothing moves faster than the flu virus. Why? Because it is not incremental in its application. It is exponential. It spreads everywhere without regard for where it lands. Your men’s ministry must have something that spreads incrementally, like a flu virus does.
From: www.mentoday.com web site. March 2007
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