Time to Start Planning

Discipleship GroupNow is the time to begin planning for your next year of ministering to men.  September is when most churches gear up for the next twelve months and you need to be ready to go when it arrives.  Before you even realize it, Fall will be upon us.  It seems like yesterday we rung-in the New Year and in a couple of weeks, we will be halfway through the year.

I have discovered the churches that have vibrant ministries to men have a plan as they come out of the summer months and enter what is considered the traditional first month of Fall.  So start planning, NOW!

If you haven’t performed a survey of your men, this is the time to do it over the next few weeks.  You will need to plan a few weeks to conduct the survey as many men will be taking their families on vacation during the month of June and July.  You want to be sure you capture the thoughts of as many men as possible when you do the survey.  I would recommend you plan an annual survey since the desires of men will change with each passing year.  If you will click here the link will take you to a sample survey you can use or use as a template to create your own.  If you create your own, I would caution not to make it too complex.  You want the individual to complete the survey in just a couple of minutes.

Once the surveys are completed, here is how you use them;

  • Bucket the interest of your men. You will probably find the men in your church have varying interests.  You need to do all you can to target each one of those interests that have the attention of at least five men.  You may find that as you plan for those interests, there will be others who will show an interest also; rather it is a fellowship event or a study.
  • Be intentional in your planning. You do not want any man to feel left out.  That is hard; but, it is a goal to strive for as you seek to develop intentional relationships with every man.  You may not be able to plan for every interest but give it consideration.  It could be something that can be done the next year, so be sure to keep a list of those interests.
  • Use the interests to create multiple entry points. When you create those entry points in the area of a man’s interest, it indicates to him you care about him.  He will be more likely to participate and begin developing relationships that will help him grow in his walk with Christ.
  • Update your database. If you don’t have one – create one.  This helps the leadership team to know the men – or as a coach would say, know his players.  A coach must know his players, so he understands what skills the player needs to work on and how he fits onto the team.  This will help the leadership team to understand what studies men are looking for and activities to participate.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

Does Your Church Target the Men?

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

Men’s Ministry Fishing Trip

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

Men Golfing
Men’s Ministry Golf Outing

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 2013-09-07 08.28.45reach 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.

More BLA Information

This week one of my posts encouraged men cropped-2013-09-07-08-28-20.jpgministry leaders to develop a BLA (Barnabas Luncheon Appointment) Ministry.  My mentor that I mentioned in the post picked it up and added some additional information on his Facebook page, Coach K’s Chronicle.

Jeff stated on his page;

“For others who may be interested in adopting this simple, but effective 1-1 strategy with men, here is an overview of the process…”

Click Here to go to the link he provided for you to understand how to conduct a BLA with your men.  It is on the Man in the Mirror Blog page at maninthemirror.org.

I would also encourage you to check out Coach K’s Facebook page as he is often providing encouragement and insights as men continue on their spiritual journey.

Click here to view his page:  Coack K’s Facebook page.

Together in the adventure and challenge to disciple men – Mike

Have a BLA Moment with Your Men

Some time back my mentor in men’s ministry introduced me to a concept he called Barnabas Luncheon Appointment or BLA for short.

Jeff Kisiah and Me
Jeff Kisiah (right) and me having a BLA moment

Often, I will see pictures of him on Facebook meeting with someone with a caption saying something about a BLA moment.  These times have always encouraged me as I continue with the ministry God has placed on me.

A BLA is a time for men to meet and talk about what God is doing in their lives and how we could pray for each other.  Though I don’t have the opportunity to have those BLAs with him as often we use to, I still enjoy having them with other men that God has brought into my life for various reasons.  Though the name implies you are meeting over food (and most meetings with men is over food), it doesn’t have to be.  It can be at any time and at any place.

As a men’s leader, I want to encourage you to make it a point to spend time with your men periodically, one-on-one, and begin to develop relationships with them that goes beyond the group times.  These are the times when you can focus on the man and pour your life into him.  It gives him an opportunity to be more open to you about issues in their life they may not wish to share with others and for you to pray and encourage him.

Now it is unrealistic to think you can spend quality time with all the men in your church like this, so you will need to pray for God to direct you to the men to create those BLA moments.  As you demonstrate this, maybe other men in your church will begin to imitate you and begin their own BLA ministry, most likely from the men you meet with.  As my mentor demonstrated this to me and I often saw him doing this it impressed upon me the importance.  It certainly was important for me

Ask God to show you a few men in your church or other areas of your life that you could invite to breakfast, lunch, dinner, or over a drink or coffee.  Begin a relationship where you can pour your life into them.  Paul spoke of this when he wrote his first letter to 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 CSB)

We may not reach every man in our church to personally influence them but we can reach a few.  Prayerfully through this example, God will encourage other men to develop their own BLA ministries – just like my mentor encourage me.

Hope to hear great things about your BLA ministry.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

Do Not Let Your Seminareist Get in the Way of Your Ministry to Men!

I know that Seminareist is not a formal word.  But the title is a statement a mentor once told me when I started in men’s ministry.  He reminded me that those of us who have a deep intentional intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, often forgets that most men do not have this relationship.  Decades, even centuries of men not being in a discipling relationship has resulted in men not knowing what this means.

As I have travel and met with men of various churches throughout my region and state, I do find that some churches are getting on board with developing a vibrate discipling ministry for their men.  However, there are still way too many that are not.  In the area of North Carolina that I live, I don’t have to use all the fingers on my hand to count the number of churches I have visited that has an active discipling ministry outside of the Sunday School.

men-gathering-1I recently asked a group of men who are active in their respective churches, “How do you know your church cares about or shows they have a priority toward the men?”  Not one  of them stated it was because they were involved in a discipling relationship, even though each of them were.  Their answer was centered around events for men.  A couple of men even said it is a shame our church does not have a men’s ministry, even though the church has a vibrate discipling ministry that involve many men.  Another said I have to go to another church to attend men gatherings because my church does not have a men’s ministry even though his church also has an active discipling ministry.

Men do not associate discipling groups with men’s ministry even though that should be a part of the ministry – an important part.  Men need entry points to connect with other men.  Men need entry points to develop those relationship that will move them into discipling relationships.  To get them at least involved in a Sunday School or a home study group.

It breaks my heart when I hear churches state they don’t need a formal ministry to men.  This tells me that men are not a priority.  They will argue with me this is not true.  Then I ask what are you doing to convince men they are a priority?  And all they can say is that we have a dicipling ministry.

img_20131108_184345_297If you never have events design specifically for men, if you don’t have a place for men to gather, if you don’t speak directly to your men regularly, what convinces them they are a priority?  We often talk about how men are visual.  If they cannot see a men’s ministry what makes one think there is one and that men are important to the church.

Let me challenge the pastors and men’s leaders out there, or any man who may be reading this.  Ask the men of your church, “What do we do as a church that makes you think men are a priority here?”  Then record your answers in the comments for this post.  Maybe it will change my perception of what I have been seeing and hearing.  Or maybe it will validate it.  Either way I would like to here throughout the state, nation, and world what makes men think they are a priority for their respective churches.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple every man – Mike

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