Using Small Groups To Build A Strong Men’s Ministry
More and more, local church leaders are discovering the need to stretch beyond the traditional boundaries of brotherhood and into areas that will attract non-active men to ministry. One of the keys is to help men grow spiritually. Men want to be challenged. Many want a chance to learn more about their relationship with Christ. Some want to be asked the tough questions that will add accountability to their lives. One way of doing this is to develop small group ministry among the men of your church.
Small group ministry can take on many faces. Some groups focus on prayer. Others do a book study on a subject pertinent to men, such as fatherhood, Christian finances, or sexual integrity. Some do a combination of both. Each small group may be different, but they all hold some things in common. Here are some disciplines of effective small groups:
• Optimum size is no more than four to six men. Any more than this and some men will not feel comfortable opening up. A small number also allows more time for discussion.
• Group members should agree upon purpose of the group, how long each meeting will be (usually one hour), when and where the group will meet.
• Members should commit to the group and to regular attendance and participation in it. Each group meeting builds upon the previous one in terms of trust and meaning.
• Decide upon leadership style. A group of growing Christians should consider a shared leadership role with a different member taking the lead each week. Groups with new Christians may want to consider one person taking the lead until the others are ready for such a task.
• Encourage openness in sharing. What each member has to share is important. Leaders should model this by being open themselves.
• Establish a rule of confidentiality. One of the unique aspects of small groups for men is that most men will share things in this kind of setting that they would never share anywhere else. This will only happen if there is a high level of trust.
One way of beginning small group ministries is to hand pick an initial group that will meet for a determined period of time. Members who are picked should be those who show leadership ability and who have a desire for such a ministry. Use this first group as a training ground for future small group leaders. You may want to use a leadership training tool, such as the study “Jesus on Leadership” (available from LifeWay). Once this initial small group has completed the study, encourage each member to begin their own small group. A variety of different kinds of small groups (book study, prayer, accountability, etc.) may ensue. It would be wise to have someone on your Men’s Ministry leadership team be responsible for initiating and encouraging small group ministry.
Small group ministry may not be for every man in your church. Some will not want to participate—and that’s okay. But many will be interested, including some that would ordinarily not participate in a Men’s Ministry function. See it as another way of growing your Men’s Ministry. As men grow spiritually, they will seek ways to serve.
The above article, “Using Small Groups To Build A Strong Men’s Ministry” was written by Mark Abernathy. The article was excerpted from Men’s Ministry in the Local Church by Mark Abernathy. Consultant for Men’s Ministry. Used by permission. December 2017.
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.”