Mens Ministry – Three Lost Keys
By David Murrow
For sale: 1962 Ford Thunderbird convertible. One owner. Perfect showroom condition. Just 4,398 original miles.
This was one listing on eBay Motors that I couldn’t ignore. I clicked on the link. The car looked flawless. Sleek. Powerful. So I asked the owner a question: How come so few miles?
The owner wrote back: I lost the key in 1963. Pastors, you have a powerful resource at your disposal: your men. But many pastors have lost the key to motivating them. So most of them sit like parked cars. Pastor G. F. Watkins puts it this way, “Most Christian men are spiritually unemployed.”
I’m not blaming you. You’ve probably tried to get your men involved. What happened? They made excuses. They stonewalled. They didn’t show up. After a while you learned not to waste any more time on men. You subtly turned your focus toward recruiting faithful women. Be honest: gals are more pleasant, faithful and easy to deal with, right? They’re less likely to pick a fight or turn into a rival.
But you ignore your men at your peril. Every great movement of God has begun with men (including the ministry of Jesus). Contemporary research backs this up: a recent study found that the presence of enthusiastic men correlates with church growth, health and increased giving.
How do you turn your passive pew sitters into powerhouses for God’s kingdom? Here are three lost keys:
Key 1: Put a masculine spirit into all your programming.
You may not realize it, but in the church we tend to speak with a feminine accent. This is one reason Christianity is the only major world religion that attracts more women than men millions more. The first key to energizing men is to adopt a men-first strategy. Everything from décor to sermons should be designed with men in mind. Don’t launch a men’s ministry. Instead, focus on making your existing ministries more relevant to males.
Mark Gungor, pastor of Celebration Church in Green Bay, Wisconsin adopted a men-first strategy after reading my book, Why Men Hate Going to Church. Mark made his entire staff read the book. This launched a process of changing every ministry, communique and activity to target men. As a result, men are beginning to step up. In less than a year, attendance at Celebration Church has grown by 650 people a week. Many high-powered men of the community, including members of the Green Bay Packers football team now call Celebration Church their home.
Key 2: Reinvent your Sunday school and youth group.
Because Sunday school is based on a classroom model, girls tend to outperform boys. Sunday school becomes a six-year losing streak for young males. And modern youth groups spend half the hour singing love songs to Jesus. Yuck! No wonder almost all our young men leave the church. They know by age 15 they’re not cut out for the Christian life.
Pastor, work with your Sunday school superintendent and youth leader to develop boy-friendly programming. Focus on danger, risk and reward. Insist that teaching be active, kinetic and visually stimulating. Cut the lovey-dovey songs. Program for the boys and the girls will follow.
Key 3: Personally disciple a small group of men.
You’re a busy man. So was Jesus. Yet he took the time to gather a small group of men and train them. You should do the same. The payoff for your church will be huge.
Consider what might happen if you were to forge a team of spiritually-awakened men. Visiting men would notice. Women would be encouraged. Boys would have role models to look up to. Families would be changed. Plus you would gain a team of men who have your back. They would defend you when adversaries attack.
Eventually these men could be challenged to disciple others. Within a few years you might have dozens even hundreds of men being led to deeper faith. How do you disciple men? Follow Christ’s example. Personally invite a finite number of men. No empty chair. Take a personal interest in each one. Lead them through a series of experiences, not just books.
Take them into the community and teach them with parables from everyday life. Be demanding. If a man doesn’t show up, give him one more chance, but then he’s out of the group. I know this seems cruel, but it’s exactly what Jesus would do. This is what men are longing for a faith that demands something of them.
I know, investing in men seems like a lot of work. But it’s worth it. Energized men will energize your congregation. When you transform men you transform families, communities and nations.
Used by permission. Author: David Murrow
David Murrow is the author of Why Men Hate Going to Church. For more than twenty years he has produced and written television documentaries, commercials, and specials. He’s won numerous awards for his production, writing, and creative skills. He’s produced material for the Discovery Channel, NBC, ABC, Food Network, Travel Channel, Dr. Phil, The Miss America Pageant, and many others. He has owned Murrow Media, Inc., since 1987 and has a degree in Anthropology from Baylor University. He has served as an elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and he and his wife have three children. www.churchformen.com.