So, You’re Retired… Your Ministry Has Just Begun

Men GolfingSo, you say you have retired.  You have spent many years in a career that helped you raise a family.  You have watched your children become adults and now raising their own family.  Maybe you have grandchildren and you are looking forward to spending quality time with them.  Maybe you and your wife are thinking about taking some nice trips around the country or throughout the world.

You deserve it.  You have worked hard, long hours, odd shifts, when you were sick, maybe injured.  You may have commuted many miles as I did; 100 miles round trip.  Trying to stay awake while you drive home in the morning after working all night and not knowing how you got home as you don’t remember those last 10 miles.  Now you say it is time to slow down and relax.  I get it – you deserve it.

Unfortunately, many men who are retiring from their career is also retiring from church.  I don’t mean they are not attending church anymore; they may still be faithfully attending.  Maybe teaching Sunday School or getting together with other men and doing some mission activities periodically.  But in my travels, I hear retire men talking about it is time for the younger generations to take up the mantel and begin leading the church.

praying-with-menI get it.  We do need to hand the mantel of leadership over to the next generation at some point.  But have we prepared them for leadership spiritually and are we willing to continue discipling and mentoring them?  As retirees we may not be in positions of visible leadership anymore, but we still need to take young men under our wings, so to speak, to encourage and continue to help them grow spiritually.

Think about it, men of the Boomer Generation, we are retiring from our careers in our 60s and that is 20 years younger than when Moses was just starting his ministry.  Exodus 7:7 tells us;

Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty -three when they spoke to Pharaoh (Exodus 7:7).

In Joshua 14:10, Joshua was talking to his people and made this statement;

As you see, the LORD has kept me alive these forty-five years as he promised, since the LORD spoke this word to Moses while Israel was journeying in the wilderness.  Here I am today, eighty-five years old.

Joshua had just completed leading his people into the Promise land and had fought many battles.  Now he was leading them as they divide the land for each of the tribes.

Retired men, we have so much knowledge stored away in our brains and have learned so much in life as we have grown in the Lord.  I want to encourage you to let younger men know that you are available to share that knowledge through discipling and mentoring.

Start a ministry in your church for retired men to sign up as a discipler and mentor.  One of the joys I have had was the privilege to disciple a college student who reached out to me.  Watch how God will use you in these years.  You will be amazed.

You may be retired from a career or maybe thinking about it.  But remember God is NOT through with you yet.  As long as He allows you to walk on this planet, He still has a mission for you.  Give strong consideration to disciple and mentor the younger generation.  I will be glad to help you start.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

 

Men are ______ Here!

When men have spent a Sunday morning in your church how would they fill in the blank of this statement?Question - Man

“Men are ______ here.”

What word would they place in that blank?  Hopefully it is words such as ‘Welcome’, ‘Value’, ‘Supported’, ‘Admired’, or ‘Highly Regarded.’   And not like these words ‘Tolerated’, ‘Trouble’, or ‘Not’ ( Men are NOT here).

Jim Ramos of Men in the Arena Ministry often says, “When men get it – everyone wins.”

Statistics tells us that when the woman in the home comes to Christ, 17% of the time the rest of the family will follow.  When the Man in the home comes to Christ that percentage climbs to 93%.

When you read the Bible, we find most of the individuals God uses to accomplish his will are – what? – Men!

Dr. Claude Mariottini, Professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Seminary, listed in his article The Ten Most Influential People in the History of the Church that nine of the ten were men; Paul, Constantine, Athanasius, Augustine, Jerome, Thomas Aquinas, Teresa of Avila, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Wesley.

Therefore, we can deduct men are essential in accomplishing God’s work.  But, less than 10% of evangelical churches in the United States have an active Ministry to Men.  Most churches who have a line item in their budget for ministering to men assign less than 1/10th of 1% of their church budget to ministering to men.

So, if we say men are important, why do churches seem to pay little attention to the men?  When I visit churches, I pay attention on the ministries the church place importance.  In most every case I will find brochures and promotions on Children, Youth, and Women’s Ministry.  Rarely do I find anything regarding men.

Disciple MakingMen need to have other men in their lives.  Men need men who will speak into their lives.  Men need men who will encourage and provide support as they deal with the struggles of life.  Older men need to be pouring into the lives of younger men just like Paul spoke of in 1 Thessalonians 2:8.  Younger men need to be seeking out older men and asking them to be a mentor.  We need to get away from this ‘Often Told – Rarely Trained’ phenomenon in our churches.

Churches need to be training men how to be mentors and disciplers.  Though many churches are beginning to see the need and the failure of the churches over the decades – centuries – many more still do not recognize the need.  Truth is these churches probably do not know where to start.  Getting men engaged is much different than getting women, youth, and children engage.

Many books have been written for churches to start ministering to men.  Too many to mention here.  But if you are passionate about ministering to men but do not know where to start.  Don’t think you have to begin with a big event.  Invite 3-4 men to join you in a study.  Start small and let God do His work.  Pat Morley in his book No Man Left Behind states it takes 5- 10 years to develop a sustainable ministry to men.

How do men feel when they leave your church service on Sunday morning?  Do they sense the church has a passion to speak into men’s lives or do they feel it is the same as all the other churches they have attended – nothing for men.  How would they answer the question, “Men are _______ here?”  My prayer it is something like ‘Men are Value here!’

Soon we will talk how church décor will speak to men.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

Extend Men on Mission

Mens MinistryThis is our fourth and final installment on the 4 E’s of Men’s Ministry which are the cornerstones to make sure we are touching a man in every area of his walk with Christ.  To make sure we are not only involved in “ministries by men” but, we are also involved in “ministering to men.”  Both are important but often the “ministering to men” element is overlooked and if one is more important, “ministering to men” is the one.  For when men get the spiritual part right, then they will have a longing desire to do “ministries by men.”

To remind us what are the 4 E’s we discussed in a previous articles, I have listed them again.  They are;

  1. Evangelize Men to Salvation
  2. Establish Men to Spiritual Maturity
  3. Equip Men to Ministry
  4. Extend Men on Mission

In this article we will discuss the forth cornerstone, Extend Men on Mission.

We are probably all familiar with what Jesus said in Matthew 25:34-40.

34‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  35“‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; 36I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited me.’  37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  38When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or without clothes and clothe you?  39When did we see you sick, or in prison, and visit you?’  40“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Pic 003Jesus expects us to reach out to those in need.  But often we become blinded by our own needs.  It has been my experience that after men have been Evangelized to Salvation, too often this is where they are left.  For the next untold years, men flounder in their walk with Christ, never really knowing what to do or how to apply God’s Word into their lives.  I will confess I was one of those men for most of my adult life.  I did not have other men in my life that Established me into Spiritual Maturity or Equip me to Ministry.

As a church, we are perplexed when we ask for volunteers to help in a ministry and no one or very few steps up to the call – hence the old adage, “Twenty percent of the people do eighty percent of the work.”  I would submit this is a result of the church lacking in Establishing Men into Spiritual Maturity and Equipping Men to Ministry.  For when men grow spiritually and are properly equipped for ministry, they will be ready and looking for opportunities to share their faith through word and deeds – putting their faith to work (James 2:14-26).

As we conclude these set of articles on the cornerstone for ministering to men, I want to encourage you to pursued opportunities to help men be establish into spiritual maturity and to equip men to ministry.  There are many resources one can find by searching the web.  Develop discipleship opportunities, find mission opportunities men can be involved.  Training in areas such as handyman, ramp building, missions, or disaster relief.

There is so much to share about all the opportunities and resources available, it would make this article extremely long.  But doing a little searching on the web you will find many to choose.  Just search for men’s ministry or ministry to men.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

Equip Men to Ministry

Mens MinistryThis is our third installment on the 4 E’s of Men’s Ministry which are the cornerstones to make sure we are touching a man in every area of his walk with Christ.  To make sure we are not only involved in “ministries by men” but, we are also involved in “ministering to men.”  Both are important but often the “ministering to men” element is overlooked and if one is more important, “ministering to men” is the one.  For when men get the spiritual part right, then they will have a longing desire to do “ministries by men.”

To remind us what are the 4 E’s we discussed in a previous article, I have listed them again.  They are;

  1. Evangelize Men to Salvation
  2. Establish Men to Spiritual Maturity
  3. Equip Men to Ministry
  4. Extend Men on Mission

In this article we will review the third cornerstone, Equip Men to Ministry.

Pic 003Many men that are active in the church generally desires to reach out and help individuals in need.  Many of the men in our churches are involved in helping with maintenance activities around the church.  Maybe helping with a recovery effort after a devastating storm has come through an area.  They might be involved in building ramps to help the disable to access their homes easier.  The men may even go own various types of mission trips.  But does that mean they are Equipped to do Ministry.  I will submit to you – not necessarily.

In my travels I have seen men working hard to deal with an individual’s specific needs.  They may have been trained to do the task assigned and they do an exceptional job.  But there is another aspect and that is Equipping Men to Minister to the spiritual needs of the individual.

When men are involved in being Established in Spiritual Maturity this will help men be equip to minister.  Generally, these men will be the first to volunteer for ministering opportunities.

Often our men have been trained in certain tasks but have not been trained in how to share the gospel.  How to pray with and for someone.  How to deal when people ask you “Why?”  They like helping the physical needs but often lack the skills to deal with the spiritual needs.

Praying with PoliceWhen I am out on a ministry opportunity, we encourage team members to develop a relationship with the person being ministered.  Not everyone on the team will be able to do this; but, someone on the team may be able to relate with the one being ministered.  Taking the time to get to know them and at some point, talking with them about spiritual matters.  I have noticed men who have been in discipling relationships are more likely to develop those relationships with the individual.  Therefore, it is important to help move our men into discipling relationships so they can develop the spiritual maturity to speak into the lives of others..

As men grow spiritually in their walk with God, they will develop the confidence to speak into the lives of the people being ministered.  There is a direct correlation between Establishing Men in Spiritual Maturity and Equipping Men to Ministry.

So, Equipping Men to Ministry is two-fold: 1) teach them how to perform tasks that meets the needs of the individual and 2) how to speak into the individual’s life about spiritual matters.  This is performed by getting men involved in training opportunities to learn the tasks and discipling relationships to speak into lives.

As you evaluate your church’s ministry to men, check to be sure you are not only training them to perform certain tasks exceptionally well, but the ministry is also discipling the men so they can speak into others’ lives with confidence.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

Establish Men to Spiritual Maturity

Mens MinistryThis is our second installment on the 4 E’s of Men’s Ministry which are the cornerstones to make sure we are touching a man in every area of his walk with Christ.  To make sure we are not only involved in “ministries by men” but, we are also involved in “ministering to men.”  Both are important but often the “ministering to men” element is overlooked and if one is more important, “ministering to men” is the one.  For when men get the spiritual part right, then they will have a longing desire to do “ministries by men.”

To remind us what are the 4 E’s we discussed in a previous article, I have listed them again.  They are;

  1. Evangelize Men to Salvation
  2. Establish Men to Spiritual Maturity
  3. Equip Men to Ministry
  4. Extend Men on Mission

In this article we will review the second cornerstone, Establish Men to Spiritual Maturity.

Many Christian men start out with passion for the things of God and then begin to coast.  They end up compromising and many finish their lives with regret.  Lonnie Berger in his book ‘Every Man A Warrior: Helping Men Succeed In Life – Walking with God, states, “I believe that most men have never been trained and equipped with the necessary skills to fight and end well.”  I often say that men have often been told how to act and behave, but never trained.  To put it simply, we are ‘Often Told but Rarely Trained.’

Disciple MakingPart of our Men’s Ministry as we minister to men should be to move men into discipling relationships.  This is more than being in church on Sunday morning and attending a Sunday School class or a Home Group Study.  All is important and every man should be attending these with their wife and families; even if they are single.  But the relationship I am talking about is placing oneself in a position so a man can pour his life into us.  Creating an environment where men feel comfortable to discuss issues and struggles they deal with every day.

Some of the most meaningful times I have experienced in the last decade of my walk with God is spending time with 2-3 other men for the purpose of digging deep into the scriptures, discussing how to apply them into my life, and allowing those men to speak into my life.

For 35 years as a Christian I limped along tying to advance my walk in Christ by myself.  Never developing a relationship with other men who had permission to speak into my life – to speak truth.  To provide encouragement – genuine encouragement and not the superficial encouragement we often hear for those just outside the boundaries we set up.

Got Your BackTo Establish Men to Spiritual Maturity we need to develop an attitude of moving men into discipling relationships.  How do we do that.  Invite them to join you in working through a book on a book of the Bible.  It’s not hard.  A great book I have found to start with is by Dr. Gary Yagel called, Got Your Back.  Easy read and it is a great book to help men understand why we need other men in our lives.

As someone once said, “Discipleship is the answer to our evangelism problem.”  Men who we invite into our group does not need to be Christians.  One can use these groups to develop relationships to present the gospel in a comfortable and non-threatening environment to those who do not know Christ.

Paul made it personal by telling the Thessalonians in his first letter to them, “We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us,” (1 Th 2:8).

So, if you want to move your men’s ministry deeper to reach the men of your church and community, start by moving men into spiritual maturity by developing a discipleship ministry.  As a seasoned man recently told me after experiencing a few weeks in a discipleship group, “This is the best thing I have experienced since I became a Christian!”

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

Spring is a Great Opportunity to Connect with Men

Mens MinistryMany churches during Spring have events which are generally thought of as a children’s event with Easter Egg hunts, bounce houses, face painting, balloon animals, and the like.  But did you recognize that for men leaders this is also a great opportunity to connect with the men of the community.

Ring the BellSo now you ask, how can a children’s spring event help us connect with men?  By providing something the men can partake in with their children (or maybe show-off).  For instance, maybe have a Ring-A-Bell station, or a Shoot-the-Hoop station, maybe an Archery Tag Game Station to name a few.  What child doesn’t like to see their Dad show off their strength or skills?  What child doesn’t like to compete with their Dad – to be able to brag about beating Dad at some skill?

Shoot the HoopWhatever station you choose, have it attended by men from your men’s leadership team.  This gives your men an opportunity to meet with the men attending with their children.  Have a postcard or a small printed paper you can give each man that explains the men’s ministry of the church.  Providing them information about the various events during the year, specific studies you may have, Father/Son or Daughter Activities.  This lets the men know they are thought of and are important.  You may even begin to develop relationships with men which may lead them into discipling relationships – our ultimate goal.

Archery TagOften, we conduct our church wide events around children and forget it is the parents we are also trying to reach.  We provide all these fun stations with the children in mind and forget the parents may enjoy being able to participate with their children in a few of the events.

Whenever you plan children events, think of the Dads who will be bringing their children.  Think outside the box for ideas that you can implement to reach these Dads with the gospel and to give them a next right step.  To bring them into a discipling relationship so they can in-turn disciple their families more effectively.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

Evangelize Men to Salvation

Mens MinistryThe 4 E’s of Men’s Ministry are the cornerstones to make sure we are touching a man in every area of his walk with Christ.  To make sure we are not only being involved in “ministries by men” but, we are also involved in “ministering to men.”  Both are important but often the “ministering to men” element is overlooked and if one is more important, “ministering to men” is the one.  For when men get the spiritual part right, then they will have a longing desire to do “ministries by men.”

To remind us what are the 4 E’s we discussed in a previous article, I have listed them again.  They are;

  1. Evangelize Men to Salvation
  2. Establish Men to Spiritual Maturity
  3. Equip Men to Ministry
  4. Extend Men on Mission

In this article let’s review the first cornerstone; Evangelize Men to Salvation.

Sam Chan in his book, Evangelism in a Skeptical World, states, “The best way to understand the term evangelism is that it is our attempt to describe what happens when someone tells {the] gospel.”  Jesus told us in Matthew 28:19, “Go… and make disciples.”  Part of making disciples is telling them of the gospel and how to live as a disciple of Christ.  Therefore, when we consider Chan’s explanation of evangelism, when we are telling the gospel then we are evangelizing.

One of the keys to helping men become the men they were created to be is helping them understand their need for Christ.  For since we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26), we need to have our spiritual life right to become the man God expects us to be.

Men GolfingWhen we plan events, we need to always keep in mind the opportunities to tell the gospel message.  How that message is conveyed can be different depending on the venue and event.  For instance, in a gathering over a meal it could be told through someone’s testimony of them recognizing their need of Christ and surrendering.  In a participatory event such as a golf, fishing, or other activity it could be by providing material such as a gospel tract provided in a gift bag.  Or even through a devotional prior to event.

MenFishingThis cornerstone should be considered every time an event is being planned.  NEVER assumed every man who attends a church event have a personal relationship with Christ.  For many will appear to have a relationship but Jesus may one day look at them as say, “I never knew you,” (Matt. 7:23).

I am reminded of a conversation I had with a man in his 70s a few years ago who told me about his wife.  When he married her, he thought if anyone would be in heaven at death it would be her.  She was always ministering in the church in some manner.  Ten years into their marriage she woke him one night as she came to a realization of her need for Christ and she had never surrendered her life to God.  He told me that night she gave her life to Christ, and even after being one who was always working in the church, he saw a change in her.

So, never assume when you have events the men attending have accepted Christ as their savior just because they are always in church and participating in ministries.  Remember Judas, all the disciples thought he was one of them because he participated in all their activities – there may be one in your midst who, though may not be a betrayer like Judas, may not be like you in Christ.

Always plan a method to present the gospel message with the men you connect.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike