by Mel Cornillaud
Consider what your church would be like if the men were no longer on the sidelines of spiritual life and leadership. What if the men were actively applying their spiritual gifts to the ministries and mission of the church? A vibrant, Christ-centered, life-changing men's ministry could help bring this vision to reality.
Sid Woodruff, men's ministry specialist at LifeWay Church Resources, describes a balanced ministry in Drawing Men to God. He identified Beach Road Baptist Church in Southport, North Carolina, as an example of a men's ministry with a balanced approach to ministry and missions. The men's ministry leaders said they feel the following nine characteristics are essential for their success.
Men come together in churches for many reasons. They often focus on fellowship, activities, and work projects. Although these men's efforts have value, they tend to be program driven. Generally these groups do not support men as they encourage each other's growth in Christ. Christ-centered men's ministries focus on spiritual development, giftedness, and outreach.
For your men's ministry to seek God's leadership, it must be founded on and fueled by prayer. From the beginning, a group of men should gather regularly with the pastor to seek God's direction for the ministry and its leaders. The need for a prayer team remains even as other aspects of the ministry change.
3. Led by called, gifted leaders
The key leader should be passionate, God called, and gifted by the Holy Spirit to lead the ministry. Other men gifted for leadership should lead smaller portions of the ministry. Note: One of these leaders might one day become the key men's ministry leader.
4. Open through multiple entry points
Men's groups are often one-dimensional. However, in order to appeal to all men of the church, a men's ministry should be relevant to all men and broadly based in its outreach. The men's ministry should establish ways to reach out to, connect with, and appeal to men of varying interests.
5. Sustained by trusting relationships
Christian men need trusted brothers who will be honest, transparent, and confidential. Developing Christ-centered, trusting relationships is crucial to building and maintaining an effective men's ministry.
Men's ministry should strive to balance ministry to men with ministry by men. Rather than only gathering to eat, fellowship, and work, men should help each other grow in Christ-likeness.
Incorporate multiple methods for discipling men to spiritual maturity. As men grow spiritually, they will be motivated by the Holy Spirit to read and obey God's Word and to discover and activate their spiritual gifts.
This inside-out approach builds biblical men. Their changed hearts will convict them to become godly husbands and fathers and to get eagerly involved in personal evangelism and missions.
The role of an active, supportive pastor is critical. Does your pastor believe that a successful growing men's ministry is a key component to the church's growth and mission work? Men's ministries that lack pastor support and involvement risk being out of sync with the total church ministry. That may result in misunderstandings and divisions.
8. Sustained by well-planned meetings
Purposeful monthly or quarterly gatherings enable communications and continuity. Meetings should include food, fellowship, praise and worship, testimonies, teaching, prayer, and ministry reports.
Prayerfully developing an agenda helps meetings run smoothly while still allowing the Holy Spirit to guide your gathering.
9. Clearly communicated
Men's ministry leaders should regularly and creatively communicate with the men in the church and community. Reach out to men in the church who are not participating while informing and encouraging those who are active. Communications might include monthly newsletters, meeting notices, a phone-calling team, a bulletin board, and bulletin inserts.
Evaluate your ministry
Gather a group of men to evaluate your ministry. Ask the men to use these characteristics to rank your ministry's greatest strength (as a 1) and so on to the greatest weakness (as a 9). Tally the votes to see what areas your ministry needs to celebrate and what areas need improvement.