By John Richardson
The holidays are a wonderful opportunity for your men’s ministry to serve other people and, in doing so, share the hope of Jesus. The holidays tend to both intensify the happiness and deepen the pain that people may be experiencing. In either case, the door is open for connection and care.
With a few guiding principles, your men can have a meaningful and successful service project this year.
Don’t make it overly complicated.
It is easy for a good idea to go bad when there are too many extra features distracting people from the main point. A Christmas tree lot can be a good platform for service, conversations, and witness. But when hot chocolate, a petting zoo, a live nativity, and caroling are added, your efforts get diluted and people lose focus on the main purpose.
Invite others to serve with you.
Serving alongside others is often the best way to make connections and achieve the strongest impact. Invite men from another organization or from the greater community to help you with your project. How much better would delivering gifts to needy families be if your group did it with a new friend, possibly someone looking for meaning in the holiday season?
Answer the real questions people are asking.
The folks you encounter in your service project are probably not wondering when your next men’s breakfast is being held or if you have a Bible study they can join. They might be seeking answers to questions like how they will get through Christmas without their son, who is deployed. Or they may be trying to figure out where they can find hope during a dark season. Your conversations, and any ministries that you may direct them to, should aim at answering these heart-level questions.
Share information that will help them to connect after the event.
Whether you hand out a card, brochure, or flyer, make sure it clearly explains how people can learn more or get connected. Don’t give them paragraphs to read! A simple invitation to a hope-filled resource, along with a web address, is best. And remember, heartfelt service and conversation take priority over getting information into their hands.
Prayer is a powerful act of service.
Regardless of the particular event or project you undertake, be sure all your men are trained to ask the most important question: “We like to pray for the families we connect with; are there any special ways we can pray for you?” This is not a request to pray with someone on the spot—that may or may not be appropriate. Rather, it is letting people know that you will say a prayer on their behalf. It is amazing how willing people are to open up and share specific issues they are facing. After the project, make sure that your men follow through, individually or together, to pray for the people you met that day.
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