Setting and Meeting ‘Core Values’
By Mark Lubbock.
“And the Lord answered me: ‘Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, to he may run who reads it.’”
Those who have a passion for ministry with men are eager to see participation, activity and growth. We want to have a good story to tell about how God is using men’s ministry to make a real difference.
A friend of mine told me how each year his men’s group at church hosts a pancake-breakfast fund-raiser. It grows larger each year, and it generates funds for ministry and missions.
However, my friend says, it’s nearly impossible to get the men to take interest in other activities.
This past year, the breakfast was scheduled on the same day as a major national men’s conference. They were aware of the conflict and rescheduling was possible, but they had no interest in making the change. In so doing they missed out on an opportunity to encourage, excite and equip the men of the church. Had the same men who cooked and served moved their event back a week or two and then brought the volunteers to participate in the men’s conference it is likely that this same group would have been inspired to offer more for the men of this church.
One reason the men were not interested in the men’s conference is because the breakfast fulfilled their mission. There was no “larger vision” for the men of the church. Certainly there was no plan or mission to “help men grow in Christ so that others man know Christ,” the UMM mission statement.
There is nothing wrong with a pancake breakfast, and it is wonderful that they followed through. What we have, though, is a marked lack of a greater vision.
They were content to do an annual meal and call this men’s ministry. But, I know the men in this group and firmly believe they would readily step up to a larger vision should one be cast!
In both the secular world and the church those who set goals and measure progress against the goals are much more likely to achieve and advance.
First UMC in Deland, Fla., spells out their “core values” on their website:
“. . . Our UM Men and Women, small groups, senior activities and youth fellowship are some of the ministries that provide opportunities to belong.”
“We believe in the Great Commission and our congregation commits to becoming disciple-makers.”
“Our congregation covenants with one another to be a people of God whose primary source of power and strength comes from a commitment to prayer.”
“We believe in exceeding our own personal boundaries to touch all those we encounter.”
“This congregation commits to a lifestyle of ministry, striving to be like Jesus as servants – inside our church, our local communities and beyond.”
“We believe that God has called His people to gather in worship to give Him glory and praise . . . “
When core values or a mission statement are embraced, you will see that pastors will teach and preach about these values and keep them before the congregation. The Administrative Council will measure all activities against the goals, and if something does not meet or fit in these values then it will not go forward.
To be successful in ministering with men, you must set worthy goals, and regularly look at progress towards meeting these goals. Men will engage in activities that have a worthy objective even if it is not their favorite way to spend time!
The vision is the “outcome,” or what you want your church and neighborhood to look like in a few years. A mission statement describes the scope of activities you will take to achieve the vision.
What is the mission statement for your church and for the men in your church? Do you have one? Is it worthy of pursuit? Does it inspire men’s souls? Does it change the world?
Start by setting a real, doable, challenging goal or mission statement that addresses a larger vision.
Next, make sure everything you do fits into this vision and mission statement. It must in some way, meet or fulfill an element of each. Plan activities that will help you fulfill your mission and your vision.
Regularly share and explain the vision and mission statements as a routine part of every activity. You must repeat the goals and the way you will reach goals to help men know the why and how.
ASSESS & MEASURE all activities. If suggested activities do not align with core values, tweak them or toss them out. Measure your progress at least quarterly. Too often the only thing churches measure is attendance and offerings! Be intentional about measuring spiritual goals.
REPORT how you are doing. Men are encouraged and stay engaged when they see progress. Share your progress report with the entire church, not just the participants in your men’s group. You will find that over the long haul this will inspire more men to join in!
PROGRAM activities to meet your goals. Regular men’s fellowship should be a component, as should regular opportunities to be discipled. Look for ways to introduce appropriate spiritual elements into every activity. Pray before meals, offer a short devotion with activities, encourage men to share struggles and victory, schedule regular times where men can share their personal faith journeys.
TRAIN your church leaders annually. The General Commission on UM Men offers world class training on topics like: “Lead Like Jesus,” “No Man Left Behind,” “Reaching Every Man,” “Wesley Class Meeting,” and “Building Brothers.” Take advantage of these opportunities and be sure to provide training events in your church and district.
As always I seek your comments, ideas and thoughts.
Mark Lubbock, deployed staff
General Commission on UM Men