The vital keys to a vibrant men’s ministry
By Mark Lubbock
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
I love to visit different men’s groups, organizations and ministries. The fellowship is stimulating and I often discover enlightening and sometimes surprising new ideas.
On occasion, I’ll drop in on a men’s group that seems frozen in time. You could come to this group in 2016 and pretty much have the exact same experience as you might have had in 1993––the same format and the same old activities. Such a static pattern generally leads to declining attendance.
In part, this occurs when the same people fill the same leadership roles without change.
Contributing factors may be the failure to seek input from the target audience, and a long history that causes people to assume that the same pattern should continue.
So, how do you break out of this rut and invigorate your men’s gathering?
In the last newsletter several contributors spoke about setting goals and staying true to them. For this exercise I’ll assume that your men’s group has a recently reviewed “Vision.” With that in mind then, take a look at the following suggestions:
1. Every men’s gathering should center on your vision statement.
a. If your vision is to “reach every man for Christ,” then ask, “What is our next meeting going to do to fulfil this vision?” A dry meeting with reports being read will surely fall short. A speaker who talks about the proper fertilizer to use on your spring garden will not address the vision. Always plan the program in light of your vision and mission.
b. Be sure to include a spiritual element. It does not have to be a Bible study, but look for appropriate ways to offer spiritual food.
2. Schedule regular meetings as far ahead of time as you can. Ideally sit down in November and schedule the events for following year. Ask each man to mark his calendar and make it a priority. If you give each man an important task to do for the meeting, he is more likely to be an active participant!
3. Give men something to do:
a. Devotion leader.
b. Set up.
c. Personal testimony on how God is working in their lives.
d. Prayer advocate who gathers requests and leads prayer.
e. Program planner to select speakers and themes of gatherings.
4. Hold executive planning meetings separate from the regular gathering, and handle all of your committee and routine business in these meetings.
a. Reports could be included in a newsletter.
5. Promote your gatherings:
a. Calling team––Personal invitations always work best!
b. Announcements in the church bulletin.
c. Announcements in the church website.
d. Announcement in church e-mail notices.
6. Progressive leadership should be considered where members of your group have multiple opportunities to serve. You might want to have a small pool of men who each rotate the responsibility for the theme and program planning of your gatherings. Whether it is a weekly group, monthly meeting, quarterly planning session or annual dinner, involve different men in the planning and management.
a. Succession planning should include a structure where vice presidents and assistants learn their roles prior to stepping into the leadership positions. Always have men in training. This not only makes your team stronger and more effective, it keeps things fresh and engages more men.
7. The “right next step”
a. At every event and meeting, dinner and gathering your executive team and program planner should offer attendees “the right next step” to take after this meetings. Plan future activities and announce them on calendars so men can make plans when the current activity ends. You might offer men the following choices for their next “right next steps”:
- Scouting Awards Workshop.
- New Weekly Men’s Small Groups.
- Wesley Class Meeting Training on Small Groups.
- Men’s Motorcycle Ride.
- Men’s Night at the Game.
- Father/Son Banquet.
- Father/Daughter Banquet.
- Walk To Emmaus.
- Wesley Building Brothers.
- Accelerating Ministry with Men Training.
- Mend Training – Men End Abuse training.
- Potato Drop Day.
- Strength for Service Devotional Distribution to First Responders.
- Young Dads Outing.
- Grandfathering the Fatherless Event.
The list of possible “right next steps” is entirely up to your leadership team, but it is important to be intentional and to plan/calendar these events on a regular basis. Men will quickly lose interest if the group is not going somewhere.
What is working well for you? Please share this and as I gather a list of successful ideas I’ll share these in a future article!
As always I seek your comments, ideas and thoughts.
Mark Lubbock, deployed staff
General Commission on UM Men