What makes a successful men’s ministry? Ask 10 people and you’ll probably get 10 different answers. To some degree, a successful men’s ministry will look different for different groups – depending on the dynamic of your church, your starting point, your goals, and your plan. There are a few things, however, that can help just about any Christian men’s group begin on a strong foundation and develop into a healthy, functioning ministry.
1. BE GOSPEL-FOCUSED
If you want your men’s ministry to make an eternal difference in the lives of those who attend, make sure you are focusing on what brings that change: The Gospel of Jesus Christ. While there is definitely room for the “3 F’s” – Fun, Food, and Fellowship, the most important “F”, Focus, should be on sharing the gospel, living the gospel, and teaching men how to share the gospel with others. Along with that, a strong men’s ministry will also created opportunities for the men to put what they’re learning into practice. You may have a large men’s ministry attendance but if most of the guys are not truly connected to Christ, it’s just another men’s club.
2. SATURATE THE MINISTRY IN PRAYER
This one really goes without saying but I don’t want to leave it off of the list because it is absolutely critical. It can be easy to forget prayer in the excitement of building a new ministry. Coming up with a name, designing logos/apps/websites, and discussing events are all great but it should not be the focus of your ministry. The very first element of a strong, healthy men’s ministry is one that is saturated in prayer. Not just prayer at your meetings. Prayer over and for the ministry from the very start.
- Pray about the direction and focus God wants the ministry to take.
- Pray about those who will lead and work alongside you.
- Pray about how the ministry will integrate into the existing church dynamic.
- Pray that the men of your church will catch the vision for the ministry.
- Pray that the ministry will not just stay inside the church but that it will get into the community.
3. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH A GOOD TEAM
I really enjoy ministering along with a team. The different perspectives, talents, life-experiences, and personalities found on a team make the ministry so much more dynamic than having everything centered around one individual. Plus, there will likely be people that you cannot connect with as well as someone else on your ministry team may be able to.
When putting together a ministry team, prayerfully seek out people different from you. Not ones who are just like you, like what you like, and think exactly like you think. Vary the ages, occupations, and hobbies among your team members whenever possible. This will allow greater connectability with men who may visit or already attend your church who are considering your services. If a 20-something guy comes to your church and attends your men’s ministry meeting and the entire team is made up of 50+ men, he may feel like he’s out of place. Likewise, if an avid hunter shows up to a meeting and everyone on the ministry team is into web design, it might be tough for him to connect. Of course, you can’t attempt to please everyone. The point is team diversity.
4. DEVELOP A CLEAR, EXPLAINABLE PURPOSE
What purpose has God birthed in you and your team for your church’s men’s ministry? Developing a clear, easy-to-convey purpose statement for your group allows for a couple of things.
First, it allows you to explain the goal(s) of the ministry to new team members, new attendees, and those that your ministry may operate under. If you aren’t sure what your goals are, it will be much more difficult to instill confidence and commitment in others.
Second, it acts as a filter. Recently, I had a church member come to my office and start laying literature down in front of me and telling me how they would like to see different things instituted in an area of ministry. Because we have a purpose statement, I was able to gently tell this person that I am happy to review the ideas – and that some may fit into the ministry – but that everything we do must point back to the purpose.
By having a prayerfully thought out purpose statement you are able to say “no” easier when necessary. By saying no, you aren’t saying the idea is bad. You aren’t making it personal with the individual. You are taking time to explain the purpose of your men’s ministry and how this particular idea doesn’t align. Maybe there is another ministry where it would work better. Or, maybe it would be an excellent ministry on its own.
A ministry with no defined purpose is like a ship with no rudder. It will be tossed around the Sea of Activity but never seem to accomplish anything. Everyone may feel busy doing good things but you are not able to focus on the best things – those that God has intended for your ministry.
This. Is. Huge. Poor communication can cripple a ministry – especially if it’s within the leadership. Communicating well within your ministry team, with other ministries in your church, and with the men of your church shows that you respect them, their time, and their involvement. Not communicating will infer the opposite, causing friction in the church and some guys to simply walk away.
Honestly, I haven’t really come across many excellent communicators during my time in ministry among different churches. I don’t mean people who teach, preach, or speak well – I know quite a few of those. I mean people who think ahead, plan, and then keep others who are affected by their ministry or involvement informed. I’m not exactly sure why this seems to be lacking but it drives me nuts! (just being real, here) I’m a communicator and I love working with others who are. It makes ministry so much easier – and enjoyable. Be a good communicator. Please.
6. DO THINGS WITH EXCELLENCE
There is a big difference in what you expect from a fast food restaurant versus what you would from a 5-star dining establishment. When grabbing lunch from your go-to fast food place, you expect the order to be correct, to be charged the right amount, and for the food to be hot – or at least warm. When you invest your paycheck in dinner at a nice restaurant, your expectations are totally different. The accuracy of you order, the price, and the temperature are a given. You don’t give it a second thought; you know they’ll be perfect. Your focus is more on the environment of the dining area. The way you are treated by the staff. The mints in the restroom….
Ok, I haven’t eaten at very many of these places – you can probably tell. My wife and I have 5 children and our favorite place is Chick-Fil-A. But, the point I want to make is that at a ritzy restaurant, things are done with excellence and so should they be done in your ministry.
Men will recognize whether you’ve really studied the topic you are sharing. They’ll notice if you’ve carefully planned the event you are hosting. They pick up on whether or not you’re passionate about the ministry or if you’re doing it out of obligation.
Why does it matter?
We already have so many things vying for our attention. Work, family, projects, hobbies…. so many potential commitments. If yours is a loose running, poorly planned men’s ministry, it is likely that your guys will invest their valuable time elsewhere. I know this is true because I received that feedback years ago. I appreciate it now because it helped me mature.
Do not confuse ministering with excellence with trying to impress your men. Colossians 3:23 tells us to do things “…with all your heart, as working for the Lord…” When we minister with purity and excellence, we are showing God that we want to be vessels of honor that He can use for His purpose (2 Tim 2:21).
So guys, these are six of the pillars a strong men’s ministry should be built upon. Take time to get these right from the beginning and you’ll be on your way to a God-honoring ministry that will lead men to grow in truth and righteousness. I pray the Lord blesses you and works in you mightily. May He expand your influence and territory as you obediently follow Him.
In boldness through Christ,