Starting A Men’s Ministry
Where to begin? That’s the question as you consider the many aspects of starting and sustaining a men’s ministry. Accomplishment begins with planning and establishing priorities for what you hope will be a successful and valuable new ministry within your congregation. You need to look at the big picture, always focusing on the needs of group participants.
There are many opportunities for men’s ministries in the church. Initially you may have thought of starting a men’s small-group Bible study that meets weekly. That’s a great idea. But what other options are available? Perhaps there is a need to strengthen father-and-son relationships within the congregation, so some father-and-son activities might be in order. Retreats are another possibility. Maybe the men in your church are interested in mission through community and church service projects, or physical activity like a men’s church softball or basketball team. Keep all of these options in mind as you begin your planning.
Why do you want to start (and sustain) a faith-based men’s group? What do you hope to accomplish? These two questions are critical as you begin the process of turning your dream into reality.
Your desire to begin a ministry for men needs to be put in writing. You want to start a group because (1) you see a need, (2) it will strengthen your church, or (3) there are service projects to be accomplished. There are many other reasons. Put these reasons down on paper. Think about them. Pray about them.
Do some research on the needs of men within your congregation or community. Your survey should gauge their interest in participating in a men’s group. What would they like the group to do? What days and times would be best for them? Should you plan large or small-group activities? Will your group be open to men of all ages? Will they belong to your church, or do you hope to attract men from the community? Learn from what you are told, and be flexible. What you hear from them may be different from your original vision.
As you think about needs, remember that people join groups in order to have their own needs met. The men who attend your gatherings come for a reason and with an agenda. One man may come to make new friends, while another may attend for spiritual growth. A men’s group can satisfy multiple needs, but it helps if these needs are considered in initial planning. List some outcomes, goals, or objectives of any activity you may be considering. If you put these objectives together in the form of a mission statement, you have the beginning of a solid foundation on which to build the group. Once you have your mission statement, share it with others. Refine it. Be open to other objectives and ideas from other men. A mission statement is not set in concrete. It can change and evolve as your men’s group develops. While its purpose is to focus on objectives, a mission statement is more than that. It also serves as a summary of what your group is all about.
What needs do men have? What issues do most men share? What needs are strong enough to bring men together in a group within your congregation? Men may share an interest in sports, politics, the environment, crime prevention, automobiles, and dozens of other topics, but this is not necessarily the basis for a faith-based men’s group. You are looking for needs and issues that can be met through the ministry of a faith-based men’s group. Here are some ideas.
Connection. Men have a need for strong relationships with others. There is the need for friendship with other men. Married men desire a better relationship with their spouses. Parents want to improve their relationships with their children. Single men may have a multitude of relationship questions regarding dating. Some men may be working at strengthening relationships with their own parents or perhaps with their in-laws.
Spiritual Growth. Men have a need for spiritual nourishment. Men want to have a stronger relationship with God. They may want to learn about prayer, or become better at reading the Bible. Married men want to know how to maintain a strong Christian family. Others may be interested in evangelism and how to introduce Jesus to friends or coworkers. Men can help other men strengthen their faith within a small group setting.
Life Issues. Men have a need for advice from other men on how to tackle the tough issues of life. They want to know how to live as Christian men in a world of joblessness, crime, divorce, addictions, illness, accidents, and death of friends, family, or parents. Men want to live with integrity, compassion, honesty, and a positive attitude. They want to know how to confront daily challenges and deal with them.
Activity. Men have a need to be physically fit. It is often difficult for men to get the exercise they need. Being overweight is a national epidemic. The answer could be regular physical activities such as golf, basketball, volleyball, softball, running, or walking. Whether competitive or just for fun, sports are an excellent way to bring men together to keep in shape and to gain new Christian friends at the same time.
Service. Men have a need to contribute within the church and go beyond just attending worship. You could start a men’s chorus, or recruit more men to be Sunday school and confirmation teachers. They can be mentors to young men without strong male role models. The men of your church could form a service corps to meet needs around the church property and community. This could include crime patrols, raising funds for people in need, securing transitional housing, building a playground, doing odd jobs for the elderly, or any number of needed projects.
Consider the qualities you will be looking for in a leader. You will want a man who relates well to others and is a good listener. You will want someone who can invest the time to launch a program and do what is necessary to keep it running. You will want someone able to conceive and sustain activities that will keep men interested. A leader also needs a strong organizational ability. You want a leader who can be counted on to do the work, while at the same time being responsive to the needs of the group.
The leader is the shepherd of the group, looking out for the flock. If problems develop within the group, he deals with them.
Taking all of the above into consideration, the question becomes, Can one person possess all of these traits and fulfill all of these roles, or is a leadership team required?
If you are responsible for establishing a leadership team, recruit carefully. Do not simply ask for volunteers. You could end up with a group of men who lack the combination of skills required to meet the demands of operating a men’s group.
Costs and Funding
It doesn’t take much money to start a men’s group. Typical costs might include books for small-group discussions, costs for promoting the group, snacks, and supplies for activities. The cost of materials and refreshments could be a shared group expense. The cost of other items might be provided in the church budget, or perhaps someone in the congregation could donate funds. Another alternative would be to seek donations from local businesses. For example, a business might sponsor your softball or basketball team.
To build a men’s group takes faith and a partnership with God. It is an opportunity to change lives within and outside your congregation. It takes time, patience, prayer, and people working together in order to construct programs that benefit men and their families. It is an exciting opportunity because as you begin, you have no idea what great accomplishments will result from everyone’s efforts.
This article is excerpted from How to Start and Sustain a Faith-Based Men’s Group, by John D. Schroeder
The above article, “Starting A Men’s Ministry” was written by John Schroeder. The article was excerpted from www.ministrymatters.com web site. April 2018.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
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.”