When a church has a formalized Men’s Ministry is it really a ministry or is it just a program in the church? Do you look at your Men’s Ministry as a program or a ministry? How can you tell the difference?
This is something I struggled with when I first started working in men’s ministry: which by the way, I like to refer to it these days as ministry to men. Early in my ministry, men’s ministry to me was centered around events such as men conferences, golf outings, fishing trips, trips to sporting events, etc. I saw it as a time for men to get together just to fellowship and have a good time without all the amenities the world thinks you must have for a good time.
As I continued to immerse myself in books about ministering to men while developing a network with other men who have a passion – a burden – for men, I began to realize there was more to ministering to men than just coordinating events. I realized that by just having events, technically you only have a program. A coordinator with possibly help from others to plan and carry-out a fun time. In reality, a social club.
Now let me make it perfectly clear, there is nothing wrong with having events – in fact, I encourage them. Events have their place in ministering to men. They do help to develop relationships and for men to connect with other men in the church. However, to have a ministry there has to be more.
Jesus told us to “Go… and make disciples” (Matt. 20:19). Ecclesiastes 4:9 tells us that “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts.” Proverbs 27:17, the scripture verse that many men’s ministries use, states that, “Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another.” But the scripture we need to make as a part of our life to impact other men is 1 Thessalonians 2:8, “We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.”
I realized that to really have a ministry to men you must pour your life into other men and encourage men to do the same with the men in their lives. To have a ministry you need to develop a discipling ministry that focuses on the men. Teaching them how to be the men that God has called them to be. Teaching them to be the husbands, dads, a co-worker, or a friend that God expects them to be. Helping them to dive into the Word of God, getting to know God – His attitude and characteristics – in an intentional and intimate manner.
You see, if you are just planning events without giving the men an opportunity to take the next right step to develop a deeper relationship with God, then you just have a program. If you are giving them that next right step to grow spiritually and teaching them how to be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1) then you have a ministry.
I pray that your ministry to men is just that – a ministry and not a program or social club.
Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike