Is this in your plan to revitalize the church?
By Mark Lubbock
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good: and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
The annual conference in which I serve is improving the way we do church.
There are assessments of church activities along with assessments of clergy gifts and effectiveness. These assessments help churches look at themselves objectively and encourage them to focus on outcomes.
Pastors report that 40 to 60 percent of their church members do not attend church regularly.
Why not start with men who are church members, but seldom attend? Meet them right where they are in life and offer viable alternatives to the challenges they face.
What would happen if the absent men began regularly participating, and brought along their families? INSTANT GROWTH!
Let’s look at how your church is connecting men to Jesus Christ. (Making disciples, or true imitators of Christ.) A survey tool will help you gather detailed information of where you stand, but for now just look around. What do you see?
- How many men attend worship services?
- How many participate in learning or fellowship opportunities like Sunday school, studies and small groups?
- How many read their Bible on a daily or weekly basis?
- How many men have a personal prayer life?
- What is the general state of men’s souls in your church? Are they content and joyful? Do they have happy family relationships?
Again, we are just gaining a general perception right now. My personal observation as a pastor and as a certified men’s ministry specialist is that, in general, men are not turning to the church for answers to life’s challenges. This presents a tremendous opportunity for churches that provide programs and activities that address these challenges.
There are important elements in the process of reaching men for Christ that should be considered:
- Mission––Men will come together to serve/work so long as they know the WHY. Be clear by stating the NEED, the MISSION, and the OUTCOME.
- Work teams––Consider the men you want to be a part of the work team. Schedule events according to availability. For example, early Saturday morning might make sense for young fathers whereas weekdays might work for retired men or men with flexible schedules.
- After the work team completes a project, conduct a family dinner to recognize and celebrate their work.
- Capture the momentum by creating a sign-up sheet for the next series of men’s activities.
- Fellowship––Build in regular opportunities for men to get to know one another. Relationships provide the glue that holds men’s ministry together.
- MEALS – It’s good to have meals together. It’s also good to provide opportunities for men to prepare meals together.
- FUN – Look for common interests and build activity around these like auto racing/car shows, fishing, hunting, attending sports events, camping, bowling, golfing, and hiking.
Points of entry
Use the Interest Finder Survey on the GCUMM website to determine when men would like to meet and what they would like to do.
Young fathers––Create regular activities for father/child bonding that are fun and that fit in with the school year and spiritual season.
- Manger Build – A great idea offered by www.themangerbuild.org where the dad helps the children construct a manger for Christmas. They build the wooden manger together, display it by the family Christmas tree, and each night before Christmas the father reads a short family devotion. Kids learn the true meaning of Christmas and a new family memory and tradition is born!
Married Career Builders––Make the husband a hero by holding a quaterly date night with a dinner and a movie. Provide baby sitters and sign up couples all year round.
Retired, but still active––Schedule “Grandfather Days” where the church offers activities for granddads and grandkids. The parents get a day by themselves and granddads can host a great adventure for the grandkids.
Obviously there are many other ways to group men, and a huge range of possible activities. This very short list is designed as a “fire-starter” to get creative juices flowing.
Following the survey, personally invite men from each age group to be part of a planning committee to develop a series of activities for men. Committee members who plan the events will not only attend, they will invite their friends.
“Your system is perfectly designed to produce the results you are getting”––
Dr. Pat Morley, founder of Man in The Mirror
If it doesn’t work, change it.
The Rev. Mark Lubbock, deployed staff member
General Commission on United Methodist Men