By Matthew Schultz
Restrictions have been lifted. People are out and about. Life is getting back to normal, sort of. For many men in our churches and our communities, getting back to hanging out and socializing with other men has yet to come back at all. The reason: fear. There is the fear of having an invitation rejected or of seeming “needy” to other men. Men are struggling to reengage and find the community that they so desperately want and need.
According to the 2021 Barna Study “Five Essentials to Engage Today’s Men,” men are looking for opportunities to get together and grow with other men. After the pandemic, the need for “guy time” is greater than ever before.
Now is the time for us as the church to step up our men’s ministry game and step out into our communities with the peace, rest and hope that Jesus offers. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts on how you can seize the moment in men’s ministry:
- Activities activate relationships. If you’re just starting your men’s ministry or restarting after COVID-19, guys are looking for “guy things” to do. A men’s breakfast is great, but guys relate better if they are distracted. It doesn’t matter if it’s watching a sporting event together, working on a car, or spending the day at the lake fishing together, get guys to do something active and the relationships will come naturally. As an added benefit, they will be more likely to invite a friend to an event.
- Build an intergenerational men’s ministry. Men of all ages are working through the cultural blender of masculinity in today’s world. However, different generations are asking different questions, that someone from another generation could answer more effectively. According to that same Barna study, men who are in intergenerational community are more satisfied with their friendships, report a greater sense of mental well-being, have a better work-life balance, and are more satisfied with their home relationships.
- Focus on what it means to be a man of God.This idea may sound odd, but the Barna study shows that there is a lot of confusion and uncertainty for guys when it comes to this issue. Our societal definitions of “manliness” have undergone change over the last decade, leaving men wondering how to navigate our current culture in a way that remains faithful to God’s Word.
- Invite, invite, invite! This might sound overly simplistic, but it’s not. In February 2021, Psychology Today featured a blog post describing the epidemic of men’s loneliness. In the article, the author pointed out two painful facts for men: men don’t ask each other to get together due to fear of rejection and they don’t want to seem “needy” to other guys. Simply by inviting the men in your congregation and your community, you are breaking down walls that keep guys from living their life to the fullest.
We have lived through an extraordinary time during the last eighteen months. Yet, we serve an extraordinary God who puts us right where he needs us to be in order to accomplish his goal of changing hearts and lives with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Seize this moment. Reach out to the men in your congregation and your community. Be the ministry that leads them into a life in Christ that is more than they can think or imagine.