So, You’re Retired… Your Ministry Has Just Begun – Part 2

Men working 2Last month we talked about working for many years to raise and take care of a family.  Now we are ready to relax and maybe travel some in our retirement years.  In addition, we rationalized it was time for the younger generation to take over the leadership of the church.  We do need to hand the mantel of leadership over to future generations; however, we do not need to think our ministry is over.

Those of us in the retiring generation has so much knowledge and experience locked up in our heads the Lord has blessed us with, we need to share this with those who will and are our future church leaders.

I shared with you last month that Moses was 80 years old (Ex. 7:7) when he and his brother first appeared before Pharaoh to state, “Let my people go.”  Joshua was 85 (Joshua 14:10) when he finished marching into the promise land and begin to divide the land between the tribes.  So, what makes men think when we retire from our careers, we can retire from training future generations to lead in a manner God desires from leaders.  If you know me, you know I have a phrase I often say, “Often told – rarely trained.”

Let me share a few scriptures with you.

Even while I am old and gray, God, do not abandon me, while I proclaim your power to another generation, your strength to all who are to come. (Psalm 71:18)

Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. (Psalm 90:12)

The righteous thrive like a palm tree and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon.  Planted in the house of the LORD, they thrive in the courts of our God.  They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green,  to declare: “The LORD is just; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” (Psalm 92:12-15)

Seems to me the Lord expects us to continue to proclaim and bear fruit in the years of our retirement.

Old Men MentoringIn Psalm 71:18 the Psalmist is asking the Lord not to abandon him while he proclaims God’s power in his old age.  The Psalmist in Psalm 90:12 asks for God to teach us to use our days wisely for we do not know when the Lord will call us home to be with him in heavenly places.  Then in Psalm 92:12-15 the Psalmist writes in our old age we will continue to bear fruit.  This don’t sound like men who are spending their senior years relaxing.  These are men who are pouring their lives into the future generations to insure the next generation leads the church as God has instructed.

Paul told the Thessalonians, 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 Thess. 2:8).  Paul was ready to share his own life with those in Thessalonica.  As we approach retirement or as we are in retirement, are we pleased to share our own lives with the future leaders of the church.

Us ‘gray hair’ men have so much knowledge stored away in our brains and have learned so much in life as we have grown in the Lord, why would we not let younger men know we are available to share that knowledge through discipling and mentoring.

I encourage you to approach your pastor about starting a ministry in your church for retired men to sign up as a discipler and mentor.  Watch how God will use you in the years of ‘retirement.’  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.  Next month we will discuss some things you can do as 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

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

 

The 4 E’s of Ministering to Men

Mens MinistryIn past articles I have discussed making sure we are “Intentional” in developing relationships with our men as we encourage them to move in discipling and ministry relationships.  We want to develop “Multiply Entry Points” and we want to “Know our men.”  All three of these are important as a church develops its ministry to men.

The 4 E’s of Men’s Ministry is just as important as these are the cornerstone to make sure we are touching a man in every area of his walk with Christ.  This helps 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.

So, want are the 4 E’s?  I will be taking take each one and discussing in future articles .

The 4 E’s are;

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

Just like spokes in a wheel, each one is required to develop a balanced approach to ‘ministering to men’ and ‘ministering by men.’  If any are missing, then the men of the church are not fully engaged in the work of Christ.

Men’s Ministry is so much more than having breakfast gatherings and various events.  It is also about men pouring their lives into other men.  Paul said it best when he told the Thessalonians in Chapter 2 verse 8 in his first letter to the Thessalonians,

We care 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 have become so dear to us. (CSB)

Disciple MakingOver a decade ago I began to experience this as men began pouring their life into me.  They prayed with me.  They shared scripture with me.  They gave me biblical insight on how a man is to act.   Instead of just telling me how to act, they trained me how to act.  Many of the problem’s men have today can be resolved if men will get into the Word and allow other men to come alongside of them to pour into their lives.

Jesus pulled 12 men unto himself for the purpose of pouring His life into them.  He pulled three of those men – Peter, James, and John – even closer.  He never sent anyone out by themselves.  He sent them out at least by two.

If Jesus – the God-Man – felt the need for men to be surrounded by men what makes us believe we can do this life alone?  If he sent them out by twos, what makes us think we can do life alone?

We will be discussing this in the coming articles on why we need to incorporate the 4 E’s into our Men’s Ministry and how these with the philosophy to be Intentional, creating Multiple Entry Points, and Knowing Our Men fit together.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike