- Pray for guidance, and that the Lord will help you select a few good men to plan.
- Set a date and invite these few good men to join you in some prayerful planning.
- Your purpose in this meeting is twofold: First, develop a mission statement or a statement of purpose for having your gathering of men. Keep in mind that this statement should satisfy the question, “why a men’s ministry?” Make it a short, simple, and spiritual statement that focuses on growth and God’s purpose for men.
- Do you know the art of brainstorming? If you do, you might use it as a means to develop many good ideas. Here is the way it works:
- Brainstorming is an exercise of offering all kinds of suggestions (be sure you have someone to write them down; it works best if you write them on some surface that can be seen, for instance, a chalkboard or white marker board-and it should be someone who can write fast). No one is to react to any idea negatively. In other words, if someone says , “Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have a skydiver drop in with a special telegram from the governor?,” you don’t laugh or say, “that’s silly” rather, you just keep the ideas flowing. The faster the better, and what happens is very interesting: the imaginative mind seems to come unlocked and a stream of ideas gushes out. Finally, when you have exhausted the bank of ideas and written all of them down, you then review and rank them. Begin to list your favorites. Develop the logistics of just how the idea can work best for your situation. Have a calendar and begin to pencil in events on specific dates as a “tentative or first draft” concept. As you finesse your Ideas you will have a whole list of possibilities and then well will never run dry for inspiring things to do.
- If you come to a sticky point or have difficulty, simply pause and have prayer. Pray specifically that the Lord will give you ideas which will bless your men and lead them to a realization of their need to grow as Men of God.
- When you finish brainstorming be sure to pause and express your gratitude to the Lord for His presence and His gift of ideas.
- Follow whatever means your church uses to carry out its programs. In most cases, that means plans need to be submitted to the church board for approval. The pastor can give guidance regarding what course to take and what he Is comfortable with. In seeking the approval of the board (or whatever authority), be sure to explain the purpose of the men’s ministry. The impressions people form will largely be positive If you assure and reassure that the purpose is to help men grow In their roles as husbands, fathers, and pillars of the church.
- Next, have a time on Sabbath morning to make a Special Presentation to the congregation. Start with the mission and purpose. Hand out your calendar of events and make sure that each is well planned.
- Keep it focused on the spiritual goal of making Men of God. Make prayer and the conscious presence of the Lord a real part of each event. Even the recreational and social events should have a rich spiritual ingredient of prayer and Christ-centered conversation. Don’t ever take the low road by resorting to gossipy dialogs, or trivial, close-to-edge jokes. Always lead on the high road. Make Christ the unseen guest at every event and verbalize it. Everything under the sun ordained by God, either for our pleasure or inspiration, is an occasion where we can be privileged to have His presence. Therefore, let us practice it, and He will make His presence real in our conversations, our mirth, and all our fellowship. It should be our goal that after every event, each man will leave with a lighter heart, lifted spirits, and fully encouraged by his association to live for Christ in his home and at his work. When a church has a group of men who consistently build each other up in their faith, a bonding of friendship takes place that words cannot describe. Each event, each gathering of men will become like a golden chapter in our memories.
- It is very, very important that men’s ministries not become another event that takes men away from their families. In other words, a very positive picture is seen by the wife and the family when there is concrete evidence that the gathering achieved its goal. The man returns home refreshed and recharged to walk as Christ in the presence of his family. The more the family experiences this, the more they are going to appreciate the time he spends away with the men. It’s not men away just being boys and having fun, but rather, men who have come together to build better men for the sake of better relationships at home.
- Develop a list of special songs to sing together. You can have a musical person lead out with a guitar, piano, or without accompaniment.But take the time to look up some songs that especially speak to men about consecration, the home, sacrifice, and strength in the Lord. You can write out your own little booklet of songs on a word processor and print them in a neat format for your group.
- Make up a list of Bible promises that pertain to various situations and encourage the men to fortify their hearts and their commitments by memorizing these promises.
- Have the church purchase a few books each month or as often as possible. These might be books that pertain to the Christian home, worship in the home, marriage, parenting, and any other subject that specifically addresses the concerns of men who are living the new life in Christ. Make sure that the books have been carefully screened and proofread. Have them cataloged and ready to loan to your men. At your gatherings, you might have a brief time for book reports. You could occasionally hold up a book during the announcements or even before a sermon, and make It a regular feature so that your men would be aware of the good books that are available.
- In harmony with No. 11, frequently speak about the holy calling of men as priests of the home. Speak in positive ways of the man preparing himself daily with prayer and Bible study. One minister occasionally calls a man up on the platform during the worship service (having arranged with him beforehand, of course) and In an interesting way interviews him on his method of family worship, and elicits such things as the great blessing worship is to the family. Sometimes a wife can add a lot by simply adding how encouraging and strengthening it has been to the marriage and family since “Jim” has been leading out with worship. Some pastors do this often in conjunction with the children’s story. Following the children’s story, sometimes a set of parents is called up to the microphone and each offers a short prayer for every home, the school, and each child. The simple, earnest prayer of a mom and a dad can settle a cloud of God’s glory on a congregation. Sometimes a set of grandparents, (or just one grandparent) may be invited to come right after the story and read a blessing for the children and each home represented in the congregation. When men come forward and give a testimony of their priestly activities at home it begins to spread throughout the congregation. The more we present to our congregations these witnesses and testimonies, the more compelling it becomes for each man to begin to think about initiating a priestly activity of his own at home. Testimonies can be a powerful force to building godly homes.
- Plan on a weekend camp out just for fathers and kids. Have a team of fathers plan the whole weekend. Have a campfire with lots of great, inspiring stories. Plan during the weekend for a time when each father takes his own child or children for a private hike. Have each father prepare this hike as an event to be remembered for a lifetime. At some point in the hike the father sits down with his children and very thoughtfully shares with them just how much they mean to him, and how much God really loves them. He might talk about the meaning of their name and share some of the feelings he had when they were first born and he looked at them for the first time. Wouldn’t it be nice if at this point the father can talk with them about life and death and how Jesus came so that we could just continue our families in heaven and live for eternity.Then, as the Holy Spirit leads, talk about both of them (the father and the child, or children), rededicating their hearts to the Lord, and as they hold hands they present a short prayer. We can talk to our children about Disney World, football, the Atlanta Braves, and I am sure with the special help of the Holy Spirit we can have these sacred occasions with our precious possessions-Our very own children. Before this hike takes place, it’s a good idea to plan with each father several days beforehand and have some very special prayer times. Also, if the mothers can be in on it, and apprised of the approximate time that this will take place they can be encouraged to be on their knees in prayer for their husbands and children.
- Have a special communion service for your men on a Friday night or early Sabbath morning, or even on a Sunday morning following an Agape (fruit) breakfast. Talk about the significance of submission, discipleship, and the strength of brotherly love. Have larger cups of grape juice, and larger, thicker biscuits of unleavened bread that is literally broken in irregular pieces (no perforations for convenience) Have an old rugged cross set up, and have some very well selected music. Plan carefully for an atmosphere of quiet, non-rushed, contemplative sequence of events. Have the men read Psalms together, and maybe choose some Psalms to be read by one side and then the other (antiphonally). Have a few hymns printed, and sing without accompaniment “Just As I Am,” ” Not I, But Christ,” “Be Thou My Vision,” and choose a few that you especially like. At the end you can sing “The Lord’s Prayer,” or “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Invite the men to give a testimony if they would like or share a brief version of their conversion or a memorable experience of when the Lord seemed very close in their lives. You might use the theme of marriage. The scene is the Garden of Eden, and you can read the story of God creating Eve, in Genesis 2:21-25. There may be those who want to share their feelings about their wife or family and express their desire to adorn them with their love. When they wash each others feet ask them to especially pray for each others marriage and family. Have them take the time to share with each other specific burdens relating to the family.
- Some time ago I read about this gift idea. and I thought it might be creatively Incorporated into one of our men’s events. Purchase a large enough supply (52 for each man) of large size gelatin empty capsules. You can inform the men that they should bring a certain amount of money to cover the cost of this activity. Have a selection of at least 52 one-liners printed on a sheet of paper such as:
- One night’s freedom from dishwashing
- One pizza for the evening of your choice
- One good, long walk together
- One new outfit of your choice
- One new nightgown of my choice
Some just involve time-but each involves togetherness. Be sure you have a sheet with the 52+ one-liners on it and a pair of scissors for each man. Then, each man can choose 52 and roll each one up and insert it into a capsule. Put it in a neat little bottle which should read, RX from Dr ” (your name for your wife’s name) to prevent dull marriage, take capsule every week for the next year. Half the fun is watching the wife fight off the urge to open all the capsules at once. You might have a certain time each week together when she opens one capsule. You might suggest that each man write up some of his own one-liners. After all, he knows his wife best and he might tailor his treats to the delights that are unique to her.
Well, these are just a few ideas for getting a meaningful men’s ministry going in your church. But please do not delay, get your men started on the upper road to becoming what God wants for them. I like the way Stu Weber puts it:
Men, you and I need to own for ourselves that same clarity of vision that so marked the life of Christ. We need to give ourselves up for our brides and the Bride as He did. So that the family might live well There’s a world out there that needs some Tender Warriors. It’s every man’s purpose… every woman’s dream.., and every child’s hope. It’s the definition of a man. I want to head up that road. My prayers are with the men of this conference as we plan in our respective churches. I believe God has some wonderful things in store for us and our families that will be the result.