The decision to undertake a men’s ministry in your command is going to require dedication. You should seek God’s heart and His strength. You should think through the possible ramifications on you personally, on your schedule and time commitment. It will cost but it can pay huge dividends for your corps and for many wives who come to church, Sunday after Sunday without their husbands. Think of what men bring to your corps. Men bring women, children and their wallets.
Let me share with you what I’ve done.
- Started. After being sent to a new appointment it dawned on me that the guys were
sitting around talking while the women were meeting. I knew our guys could be more productive, so I made the decision that we were going to start doing Men’s Club opposite the Home League. My first important lesson: If we ask nothing from our men, that’s exactly what we’ll get.
We announced our Men’s Club the week before. I made sure to catch all my guys after church, told them what we were doing and that we would be honored to have them come. Some took me up on my invitation. Others did not. I determined if our Men’s Club was only one other guy and myself, we were going to have a Men’s Club. About seven guys joined me for the first meeting.
Bottom line. To have a men’s ministry you, the corps officer and/or local leader has to take the bull by the horns, working with the guys you have rather than lamenting the ones you wish you had.
- Branch out. The corps officer or local leader has to put thought into then plan what the
Men’s Club is going to do. I decided early on my guys weren’t going to play cards every week. Using a Men’s Club food pyramid, we gave them a mixture of meat, grains, vegetables and fruit. There were Mystery Trips. We piled in the van and didn’t tell them where we were going until we got there. I invited speakers to come in and talk about the importance of a will; another shared the importance of taking care of your feet. We did service projects around the corps: clearing weeds, touch up painting, regular vehicle maintenance, you name it. We cooked a steak dinner for the women on Valentine’s Day, something the men enjoyed as much as the women. Important lesson learned: Men feel valued when they can use their strengths to help others.
It requires the officer/leader think though what the men are going to do. Sometimes it requires a financial investment. It requires that the officer participate in things that don’t necessarily appeal to him. The corps officer needs to show enthusiasm and encouragement even if manufactured. The women left us a good example when it came to planning, so every month we rotated programs that were spiritual, fellowship, service and educational. While Bible studies are important, unless they can help men put what they learn into immediate use, they will not work.
I expected the guys to give. We set our dues at $1.00 per meeting. For those who didn’t have it, we expected them to take part in our fundraisers. I made sure they saw me put my dollar bill in the kitty. I wasn’t asking anything from them that I wasn’t willing to do myself.
- The Big Event. We decided to host a “Big Event”. Ours was a regional
barbecue cookoff competition. We lived in a city that had five corps within close driving distance. We invited their men to bring grills and compete for the best barbecue in the area. Metal skillets were made into trophies for first, second and third place. The schedule was simple: cook barbecue in the morning to submit it to the judges right before lunch. We then served all the barbecue. Our corps provided the beans and potato salad, while other corps brought dessert, cold drinks, rolls, etc. Lunch was followed by a meeting where the men were challenged spiritually and the top awards were presented. Our area Men’s Club members got to meet and fellowship with other men and everyone had a great lunch! At our first cook-off we had around 70 men show up. The next year there were well over 100.
- Let me help. One of my frustrations was the lack of resources. Men’s Club programming
was virtually non-existent. I searched the Internet and found the same was true there. I was always on the look out for program ideas. It seemed like every Wednesday night I was having to reinvent the wheel. I decided that if the Army ever made me the Territorial Men’s Ministries Secretary, I would address this as my first order of business.
Good news! I was appointed to this office and the goal I promised myself has been reached. Any officer can go online to Ministrytoolkit.org and can download a document entitled “Men’s Club Helper.” In it there are 40 suggested programs that can be done with little or no money or materials. Some ideas will work. Others won’t. But you won’t know if you don’t try.
We launched our Facebook page “Southern Men”. Every Tuesday a suggested program idea is posted for you and your men. Each Thursday we publish an inspirational, informational or educational piece about Men’s Ministry.
Men are a tough group to reach with the gospel, but the payoff is huge! To all who engage in men’s ministry, remember this: If a child comes to Christ there is a 3.5% chance the rest of the family will. If a mother comes to Christ that percent increases to 17%. If a father comes to Christ, there is a 93% chance that the rest of the family will as well.