3 High-Impact Ways to Tweak Your Men’s Ministry Programs
By Alison Zeller
As we approach the summer season, you may be thinking about how to honor the men at your church for Father’s Day (June 18). Maybe you’re making a list of men for your summer maintenance crew or trying to get a group of guys together for a weekend retreat. What’s in store for your men’s ministry this summer?
Let’s go beyond the one-day celebrations, honey-do lists, and multiple-day retreats. Are these types of activities really working for your men’s group? Are they serving the right purpose for your men’s ministry or are you doing them simply because that’s what’s been done in the past?
If you’re looking to make a few changes, summer is the ideal time to tweak your men’s ministry programs. Your workload is probably a little bit lighter in the summer and, by preparing now, you’ll be ready to start a fresh year of ministry programs in the fall.
By making a few simple changes, you’ll be able to make a big impact in the lives of the men you serve. You’ll facilitate stronger and more supportive social connections within your group. You’ll encourage men to talk about their faith and walk closer with Jesus - without the usual pressure-filled pitch.
Are you ready to get started? Here are three common challenges in men’s ministry and three solutions that will draw your focus back to the needs of the men in your group and the promises of our Savior.
Challenge #1: You’ve planned Bible studies and devotion times, but very few men participate.
Solution: These are great activities for getting into the Word of God, but think about how you’re structuring your time. Are you sitting in a circle, expecting each man to share his feelings about a specific passage? Are you asking men to face personal topics? Is there more on the agenda or have you planned for 60 minutes of talking?
Men are action-orientated and many are put off by talking or sharing their personal feelings in a group setting. Oftentimes, this is especially true for men who are new to faith. Plus, your Bible study may not ask the men to share their feelings, but who wants to listen to the pastor talk for 60 minutes straight?
Men are not passive - give them an opportunity to get up, move, work, and contribute! No, this doesn’t mean that you forget the Bible portion all together, but there are ways to combine the Word of God with the activity men crave.
Consider a 15-minute Bible study followed by an hour of volunteer yard work at the homes of shut-ins. Think about hosting a bring-your-own-meat barbeque dinner followed by a casual discussion of current events and the ways Christians can influence the world today. Broaden your definition of activity, too. Some men may like to be active in other ways - financial workshops, tech-gadget days, or business networking events.
Challenge #2: Your men’s ministry calendar has an event for every Wednesday afternoon, Saturday morning, and Sunday evening.
Solution: As a church body, you expect men to serve as fathers, husbands, brothers, spiritual leaders, secular employees, fix-it men, drive-the-elderly-to-church men, and so much more. Plus, you expect them to attend multiple men’s ministry events each week? It’s simply not possible to fulfill all of those roles.
You must simplify your men’s programs or the men you want to reach will never be able to participate. Think about how you can maximize the time you spend together so that one activity is as impactful as three events.
Instead of asking men to commit to a multi-day retreat, plan a men’s event to last a few hours on a Friday evening or Saturday morning. CTA offers four quick-hit men’s retreats. They are filled with brief, small-group Bible studies and other faith-forming activities. And they’re FREE.
Also consider simultaneously supporting the various roles of men. A father-son breakfast allows the men to socialize with fellow fathers and interact with their children at the same time. Could you host a couples night with board games, trivia, or charades? That type of event gives men time to spend with their wives, but it also provides an opportunity to establish friendships with their Christian brothers.
Challenge #3: You have 20 goals for your men’s ministry group and, to accomplish those goals, your events often feel more like boot camp than fellowship.
Solution: Yes, your men’s ministry program needs goals and structure. But, do you have too much of a good thing? If so, the men at your church may be feeling overwhelmed and pressured to meet your expectations.
Try taking a step back and allowing the men to form relationships in a non-structured environment. Swap the pastor-led prayer breakfast for a group-led event. Invite the men to cook breakfast at the church and casually share prayer requests as a group. Or, instead of always meeting at the church, invite the men to take turns hosting.
Keeping activities low-key will help men feel more comfortable and more open to seeking support if they are struggling. They’ll feel free to connect on a variety of topics, including faith. They’ll realize that it’s okay if they don’t have a perfect life. In essence, surround them with support and encouragement instead of pressure.
As you work to improve your men’s ministry programs, rely on your Savior for wisdom and guidance. Pray for the individuals in your group and the men who may be hesitant to join. Uplift and encourage all of them as sons of the Savior!
CTA offers several resources for your men’s ministry programs - devotion books, Father’s Day gifts, outreach materials, and much more! Visit www.CTAinc.com today or call 800-999-1874 to place your order with a customer service representative.
You are welcome to copy this article for one-time use when you include this credit line and receive no monetary benefit from it: © 2017 CTA, Inc. Used with permission.