Is your church targeting the men attending. If not, Why not? I often hear pastors talk about we value our men but yet they never speak into the lives of men from the pulpit. Their churches never plan events centered around men. They say our men will not come. But yet they expect the men to come to Sunday School and discipleship group meetings. Some will come to Sunday School and even fewer will attend a discipleship group; but most men will stay away.
Being a man who works in men’s ministry and one who
worked with youth in the early years of my life, I can see a lot of similarities. Our wives sometimes describe us as a child in a grown-up body and in some cases she is probably not far from the truth. Just like with the youth we plan events and activities to gather the youth so you can pour your life into them and share the gospel message. You basically have to do the same with men. Yet instead of going to the beach (unless it is to fish), amusement parks, or lock-ins; you plan fishing trips, golf scrambles, trips to the big game or NASCAR, wild game nights, etc. You encourage the men to attend these events to develop relationships
and then encourage them to attend bible studies or discipleship groups; giving them the next right step. Theses events allow men not attending Sunday Schools or home study groups or discipleship groups to possibly hear from men who are attending and it just might create an interest for them to attend.
The ministries of most churches rarely if ever have events that are centered around men. I have even heard of a church that stated we don’t need a ‘formalize’ ministry to men. Maybe so. The interesting thing is, rather they have a formalized ministry to men or not; they have one – they just don’t realize it. The ministry will either tell the men they are valuable and they care about them or it will tell them they are not valuable.
Some churches will intentionally target the men because they know that as the man goes so goes the family and so goes the church body. One such church is Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC whose senior pastor, Dr. James Emery White, lists Targeting Men as one of their Eight Strategic Decisions. He states that these eight decisions have proven to be strategic in serving their mission as a church.
In their description of their Eight Strategic Decisions the church states;
At Meck we unashamedly target men in our outreach, in our messages, in our… well, almost everything. We have become convinced through years of experience that if you get the man, you get everyone else within his orbit – specifically, his wife and his children.
What does it mean to target men? It means you think about male sensibilities in terms of music and message, vocabulary and style. One of the most frequent things we hear from women is: “My husband loves this church. I could never get him to church before. But now he comes here even when I don’t!” And she will go where he wants to go. Get him, you get her. Get him and her, you get the family. It’s as simple as that.
It appears that Dr. White and The Meck gets it. If you want to reach the complete family you need to intentionally target the men. Churches historically have ministries that speak into children, youth, ladies, even families as a whole; but they rarely have ministries that speak directly into the hearts and minds of the individual men.
I encourage you to examine what are you doing to reach the man that is connected with your church but maybe on the fringes; the man who appears to be there regularly but is not involved in any kind of discipling relationships; the man who is just going through the motions.
You know, because most churches don’t intentionally target the men, I wonder if that contributes to most men thinking that church is just for the women and children? Something to think about.
Together in the adventure and challenge to disciple men – Mike.