By Michael C. Mack
“What is the best form of men’s ministry you’ve seen and why?” asked Steve Hinton, lead minister at Cypress (Texas) Crossings Christian Church. Responses via his Facebook group ranged from getting men involved in serving together, which gives them the opportunity in that environment for fellowship and discipleship, to Texas Hold-em nights.
“Success is less about programming and events than it is cultivating an environment for masculine expressions of relationship,” said Tim Ogle, teaching/preaching pastor at Litchfield (Minnesota) Christian Church. “The best men’s ministry,” he said, “is built by and upon men seeing that the relationship with Jesus isn’t based upon ‘behavior’ or ‘churchy traditions.’”
Jonathan Miller, a student at Kentucky Christian University, suggests poker nights once a month. “We did this at a church years ago, and it completely changed the church,” he said. “Relationships changed from mere acquaintances to friendships. Conversations changed from ‘So how’s business?’ to ‘So how’s it going with that issue?’” Others also found that these kinds of opportunities for men to just hang out together, such as Monday Night Football gatherings and attending car shows, help men get involved. Hinton suggests directed spiritual experiences to help these men grow in their faith.
A good example comes from the Church of Christ at Logansport (Indiana). Dave Larimore, a deacon at the church, developed a unique study for the church’s weekly Saturday morning men’s breakfasts. Each study focuses on a man in Scripture. The men know in advance who the “man of the week” is and are given the assignment of learning all they can about that character. Some of the questions covered:
• What does this man’s name mean?
• Roughly when did he live?
• Where did he live? (Show it on a map.)
• What dispensation did he live under (Patriarchal, Mosaic, Christian)?
• What was he best known for?
• Was he a good father?
• Did he do anything that he shouldn’t have?
Minister Jeff Strite says many of the men study all week for the lesson and some have bought books to assist them. He says it’s interesting how much men get out of the study even when it involves a rather obscure biblical character, such as Samson’s dad.
Hinton is trying to build ministry with men into the culture at the church. He says the church is being purposeful in everything it does over the next year toward reaching and growing men. “I’m feeling drawn so much to the healing and building up of young men and then sending them out.”
Michael Mack leads church training events and consults with churches through his ministry, Small Group Leadership (www.smallgroupleadership.com). You can e-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.