Men are known not to be as social as women. Thus, the development of ministries for men needs to be approached from a perspective of first promoting relationships between the men involved before the rest of the agenda can be pursued. In essence, there is a need that ministers working among men understand the different dynamics of men-men relationships and develop ministries with an understanding of the specific features. Specifically, men are known to form their relationships from activities whereas women build their relationships face-to-face through talking. Therefore, a men’s ministry should work on developing a trusted mechanism of promoting relations and allowing men to form support systems among themselves. Besides, it is vital that men be directed towards a close walk with God because this is the ultimate goal of ministry. This document presents a description of the different considerations in the formation of a men’s department in the church.
Men are known to never ask for guidance or directions whenever they are unable to trace the way or find instructions on their own. Specifically, it is a popular philosophy that men do not ever want to reveal their weaknesses to people and prefer to struggle alone until they make it through. Modern societies perceive it as a weakness when a man speaks of their shortcomings and seeks help from brothers (Morley et al. 125). Therefore, because of the conventional interpretation, many men struggle in their closets with issues that could be solved by having them discussed in a community setup.
It is not uncommon for a man to grab an old map and struggle to make sense of it without seeking help on the directions. This is a perfect analogy of the current situation of men in the world. Therefore, there is a growing need to develop ministries that are centered on meeting the needs of men. Whereas it might be difficult for one to find the way by studying maps and attempting to interpret the routes shown on it, it still remains clear that most men do not love opening up and sharing out their issues because such, according to the collective societal and cultures perspectives, might be understood as a sign of weakness (Morley et al. 126). However, the use of maps to find direction, in the literal sense, does not display the different signs, bumps, obstacles, and challenges that might be encountered along the way. Therefore, the best approach, judging from this perspective, is to get help from people who have sailed the same route and clearly understand the direction one is headed to.
Applying the same principle of direction seeking to the spiritual journey, there is a significant need that men be supported in their spiritual walk to ensure that the different obstacles on the way do not strangle them. Without a support network that meets one’s needs and encourages men to grow more Christlike, it is difficult for them to live out a productive Christian life and attain the ultimate goal promised by Jesus. Though the journey may be complicated, the development of effective ministries can help men live out a life of faith, become pillars for their generations and build families.
No mistake should be made in the understanding and interpretation of the matter. The highway to heaven is one, and everyone should strive to get to this road by living a life that is in line with the dictates of the bible. It is only the atoning blood of Jesus that can enable anyone to attains the eternal goal of getting to heaven (Morley et al. 126). Thus, depending on one’s starting point, men’s ministries can help give direction until one gets to the main road and works out their way (Morley et al. 125). Many times, when instructions are given, it is imperative that they are given in a language that is easily understood by the people in question. Therefore, the development of effective men’s ministries remains a worthy consideration.
In the development of ministries for men, it is necessary that the ministry organization considers equipping the men with the skills needed for their personal growth as well. It remains central that ministers develop programs which, besides contributing to the establishment of strong networks among the men, also meet their needs. For example, equipping men with essential skills is an option worthy of pursuit. The ministry must equip them with skills that help men gather up the truth of God from the bible and utilize it individually for their personal development. The use of sequential tools like the Four Spiritual Laws developed by the Life Ministry or the Roman Road can be helpful because they present one with an orderly and organized series of steps from the point of accepting salvation through Jesus Christ to the development of personal faith in Him. Besides, such well-described guides are always accompanied with well-explained steps for personal growth in Christ, thus making them worthy of consideration in the discipleship of men into the faith (Morley et al. 126). However, though there are many other resourceful representations of the message of salvation through Jesus Christ, it is certain that most may not apply to men, thus, calling for a development clear criteria for the selection of materials to be used in such ministries.
The Need for Men’s Ministries
Deep in the heart of every man, there is the desire to be involved in teams that do great things. Such units may include successful men’s ministries which, besides offering pastoral and spiritual support, also encourage active team building and accomplishment of essential goals in regards to the life of men. For example, by analyzing the types of games and movies that men significantly and actively engage in, it can be noted that team building among men is a significant force behind the development of championship and support systems for them (Doyle et al. 14). Teams of brothers or men that set their minds on carrying out great and dangerous missions, some of which are seemingly impossible, mark a common feature of movies that are hugely followed by men all over the world. Such teams are always made up of men, with each playing a specific role that contributes to the success of the team. Therefore, such films attract great support among men. Besides being a form of entertainment, they present exteriorly the desire in every man’s heart – to have a fellowship and a family of fellow men. Even in the few movies and teams that portray such groups as having one or two women, it is clear that the ladies that get included in such are always entirely masculine and well-built and trained to have a similar perception to men (Morley et al. 19). Indeed, every man needs brothers.
Indeed, though not all men have managed to realize the desire of belonging to some functional band of brothers in which they can cooperate and work together towards the attainment of common goals, the passion in every man’s heart is well justified. From a biblical perspective, Jesus also left his followers with a similar mission (Murrow 222). All through his missionary stay on earth, Jesus taught about oneness and encouraged his followers to love each other and be united both in the faith and in daily activities. This can be noted clearly from among the early believers. After the ascension of Jesus, it is evident in the bible that men worked on creating fellowships that would see them remain united both in purpose and supporting each other (Doyle et al. 15). Thus, the early church encouraged the members to share amongst themselves their belongings and to see to it that none lacked anything. Therefore, an account of the early church explains that they would sell all that they had and share amongst themselves so that none lacked a basic necessity amongst them.
In the creation account, God looked at Adam and said that it was not pleasing for a man to be alone. This, therefore, implies that God created man to exist in community with other men and share a life with them. Consequently, it is clear from the bible that a man is designed for society and not to exist in isolation. However, it has been proven with evidence that most men exist in loneliness, a factor that contributes to their suffering. Specifically, whereas only 35% of men have best friends within their fellowships, a pleasing 51% of women have created close friends in their immediate fellowships (Murrow 222). This helps explain why cases of depression and falling out of fellowship are more common among men as compared to women. It is, therefore, of central significance that ministries be developed to cater for the needs of men and point them to the cross of Jesus in ways that are customized for them. Universal approaches to ministry seem never to work for men.
Therefore, there is a need to guide them through the development of ministries. Such ministries, besides being led by fellow men, should focus centrally on their needs and addressing the specific issues affecting them. Because men tend to create less relationships in the congregation, they are spiritually well fed by the fellowship but remain relationally and emotionally bankrupt as explained by Morley et al. (52).
Whereas most women can at least find a fellow woman to discuss issues of life with, it is unfortunate that men process their problems in caves and end up in extreme loneliness and stress. Therefore, it is vital that fellowships develop approaches that are centered on promoting the wellbeing of men through the creation of well-defined ministries for them. Societies of men should be designed in a manner that allows all people to be included in the running of the activities and that no man is left behind in the operation of the ministry.
Involving Men in Ministry
It is vital that men be involved in active ministries as has already been described in the previous section. However, such a simplistic assertion remains useless unless the fine details are exposed. The main approaches for including men in the daily activities of a ministry are as described in this section.
Firstly, it is vital that the lone-ranger mentality that imprisons most men be fought for men to live out clearly defined Christian lives and enjoy the joy of fellowship. The main problem here is the fact that Christianity today seems to be evolving towards a me-and-God journey. People are continually getting to believe in the official statement of everyone fighting for themselves as God fights for everyone (Doyle et al. 21). It is painful that such a perspective to life among Christians leads to suffering and loneliness. In the end, the men in the church lose the warmth of fellowship and drop out. While people might continue thinking of Christianity from the individualized viewpoint, it is vital that a men’s minister creates approaches that shall lead to the clearance of the false image of Christianity being all about reading the bible, praying every day and coming to church to be alone in a crowd. Such form of spiritual individualism is killing men and deserves to be fought with all due effort.
Creation of small groups is also a vital approach to getting men involved in fellowship. Little platoons are capable of getting more members of the church involved rather than having most people just being members of the crowd but not participating in the fellowship in the real sense. Morley (10) states that here is a need that an alliance focused on meeting the spiritual and relational needs of men considers developing a smaller group that encourages the involvement of men in the fellowship. Small discipleship and bible study groups must receive such intense regard that they become the cells that make up the larger fellowship instead of them being perceived as appendages of the church. The church should generally be organized in a manner that allows people to participate in the association through such small cell groups. Such an organization will encourage the participation of not only men in the fellowship, but also other members of the congregation.
The third approach that can be pursued is the creation of an environment that allows men to participate actively in the formation of meaningful relationships. It is common that despite great teachings in the church services, men get to grow less. Therefore, the development of relationships that allow men to talk about the issues that are of direct influence to them will encourage better spiritual growth among men and promote their involvement in the ministry. It is sure that when people receive more than just spiritual nourishment from the fellowship, they will want to be more involved in the fellowship and participate more in church activities. Instead of having men receive frequent lectures from one teacher every time they meet, the ministry should focus on the development of platforms that allow men to share among themselves the issues that affect them and come up with solutions to them together (Murrow 223).
The approaches described in this section can be utilized in the development of a men’s ministry because they employ methods that engage the members of the fellowship, and more so, the men. The descriptions given, besides being inclusive, also pursue a strategy that can shift the church from being a small club of people to being an intimate family where people can fellowship and create robust support systems for each other.
Understanding Relationships from a Man’s View
Generally, the relationship is a sensitive area for both men and women. Even for the average individual, the subject of relationships is known to create significant concern and tension. Therefore, in the process of developing a men’s ministry, it is vital to create a clear understanding of the subject from the perspective of a man (Morley 12). As has been established in the preceding sections, relationships and socialization are subjects that do not interest men as much as they would interest women. Clearly, men appear to be less involved in the creation of relationships within the fellowship. This heightens the need to develop a clear understanding of the subject from their perspective if an active ministry is to be designed for them. The points explained in this section provide a clear exposition of the issue of relationships from the perspective of men.
Firstly, though men have a desire and a need for relationships, it is observable that they seldom use the term or think relationally about it. When compared to women, it can be noted that women are more involved in talking out matters relating to relationships than men. This is probably because of the weight that lies in the subject of relations. Unfortunately, many men have a negative view of relationships because of the many messes they have found themselves in. because of such messes, many men associate the term with instances of hurt and disappointment. If a definition of the term relationships was to be sought from a man, it is clear, that the description would at least include mention of misunderstandings and painful experiences. This explains why most men tend to pursue less human-human relationships as compared to women. From the perspective of a man’s thinking, relationships are something that only happens between men and women. Hence, there is a significant amount of fear associated with the subject. Every man needs to overcome this fear if they are to enjoy the services offered in a men’s ministry and benefit from the programs therein. It is vital that the truckload of suspicion be bypassed for men to enjoy relationships with fellow men.
Additionally, men understand relationships as an activity. For example, a man assumes that they have workmates, people to go fishing together with, football buddies et cetera. Therefore, if a man was to approach another and ask if they could start a relationship; such requests are bound to cause significant suspicion. Instead, it would be easier to approach the subject as an activity. For instance, it would be easy for a man to ask another if they could go out and play football or go fishing together (Sonderman 19). Thus, based on the skewed interpretation of the term, it is vital that in the process of developing a men’s ministry, such vocabularies as relationship be avoided. Instead, the minister can choose to use different words that could create the same insinuation.
Secondly, it is vital to understand that whereas women form their relationships face to face, men form such side by side. The challenge here is that in the church, contacts are established by taking the feminine approach. In this approach; people are put together in circles and asked to share as they bond. This is particularly disliked by men. Men prefer to form intimate relationships when they go on activities together. This explains why when men want to discuss profound issues among themselves; they always have to agree on doing some exercise together as they talk out the issues affecting them. Therefore, understanding of such tendencies can help a minister develop activities that can help the men’s ministry grow and met the needs of men in the most effective way. Whereas the assumption of there being cell groups that have worked exceptionally well in other churches or even in the specific church in question, it is certain that such approaches can only work for the men who are verbal and outgoing. Therefore, to be precise, cell groups may only support the people who have been in church for years and do not mind sharing out their stories. However, if a ministry that meets the needs of men is to be created, then it is vital to address the challenge of men not being like females in the creation of relationships and seeking to develop a ministry that is centered on activities. Men should receive sufficient opportunities to develop relationships side by side because the usual system approached by many churches is hugely intimidating for men.
Thirdly, the most profound relationship between men is formed in crucibles. Primarily, men are known to establish the best connections when they are exposed to suffering together. The people that became friends during the world wars are the ones that formed amongst the best relationships between men. Men who have competed, endured pain together, sweat, and overcome tough situations are among the best fends. For instance, on asking an old American father who their best friends are, if they ever served in the army, they will most likely point to people they served together in the military even if they have not talked for many years. This tendency is different from women because whenever two females are put together, it is expected that the two, in just a few days will have known so much about each other and grown to the best of friends ever. Women easily open up their hearts to talk about situations. Men, however, are less likely to speak up about the issues affecting them unless an explicitly intimate bond has been established between them. Therefore, this is a vital factor in the development of men’s ministries, as the organizers will get to understand the approaches to take in the promotion of bonding and intimacy among men. It would be openly exciting and useful for such ministries to consider the development and organization numerous activities for men to participate in team building through engaging activities. For example, goal oriented hunting missions, golf challenges or fishing trips can be arranged to facilitate such relationships.
Finally, men dislike being pressurized. It is essential that the men do not get to be pushed too hard because, in the process, they might drop out of the ministry and run for other options outside the fellowship. Many times, men can be made to leave fellowship through approaches that exert too much pressure on them to create relationships and be more involved in the ministry. It needs to be understood that formation of bonds between men takes time and unlike women, as has been explained, requires that the people involved be given enough time to understand each other and grow close (Doyle et al. 19). Thus, men can easily be driven away when the ministry demands development of intimate depths too soon. The example of Jesus is a perfect guide as to how fast the development of relationships should be, and such should be adopted in the formation of men’s ministries. A minister who, in the first meeting, decides that he will wash the feet of his small men’s group is likely not to see the same people the next week because men are known to avoid rapid development of relationships. Jesus himself waited for up to three years before he could embark on the commissioning of the men he had selected as disciples. This displays a picture of Christ having understood the nature of men and applying the knowledge in the development of programs that could not overwhelm them and lead them to running away.
Connecting Men to God
Besides connecting men and creating a platform for them to relate with each other intimately as a way of fostering the genesis of support systems, it is vital that men also get pointed to the cross. While a ministry that points men to others is recommended, it is never sufficient to develop a ministry that is centered on the development of person-to-person relationships alone. That way, a ministry loses focus and fails to achieve the ultimate goal of leading men to a personal walk in Christ.
Men who have much knowledge about God populate many churches today. However, many of them do not have a personal relationship with Him. The question that is of significance in the development of a men’s ministry is not whether the man is committed to church or not, but whether they have a personal faith in Jesus. Once the man has committed to a personal faith in Jesus through a personal decision to accept the lordship of Jesus, the ministry can then work on methods of encouraging personal development towards a better knowledge of the faith. Ministries, therefore, should teach about the faith to give an understanding of the fundamental doctrines and expectations of a Christian.
Besides, it is of central significance that men’s ministries invest in keeping them in the faith and encouraging their participation in church activities. However, the center of such should not just be active participation. Instead, men should be encouraged to remain in the faith. It is a common trend among men’s ministries that since a man has accepted salvation, they are forgotten and the ministry focusses on winning yet another soul (Doyle et al. 126). It is unfortunate that such is happening. However, the biblical command was that people go and make disciples and not converts. Therefore, it is vital that men’s ministers focus on the development of approaches which, besides winning men to committing to personal walks in Christ, also get them focusing on the development of their character and holistic discipleship. That way, the ministry is active.
Many ministries teach principles and give new converts guidelines but do not direct them on how to live out their daily life in obedience with the commandments of God. The main reason for such a discouraging trend is the fact that men have never received practical guidance on how to do it (Doyle et al. 125). Other reasons include lack of mentorship from other men and the lie that the faith concerns religious practices and morality in general. Specifically, men are called to confirmation, church membership and confession of the gospel because such things can be counted on. However, it is clear that the salvation that should be preached to men is far beyond the countable aspects. It is never a matter of reporting results to ministry headquarters or having tangible results in ministry. However, though it is difficult to count the number of men that have committed to a personal walk with God, this is what is essential in ministry. A ministry that leads men not only to know God from the perspective of him being a savior but also leads them to a committed walk in him can be termed as the most effective. There remains nothing else that is of significance to the faith than the development of ministries that lead to people working out healthy relationships with God and seeking to grow personal faith in him. Precisely, men need to improve in God, a thing that they cannot do on their own (Doyle et al. 125). Ministries reaching out to men, therefore, must develop programs for mentorship to ensure that men are well discipled. This is because men cannot lead themselves into a walk with God and always need to be guided in it by spiritual fathers and bands of brothers. It takes teamwork to pint men to God.
Therefore. It follows from the description of this chapter that a men’s ministry should also serve the ultimate purpose of pointing men to Christ beside connecting men to each other. From this; it follows that, besides connections between the men in the ministry being vital, it is essential that the organizers and leadership of the ministry takes into account the ultimate goal of leading men into a relationship with God, No doubt, creation of intimacy among men and promotion of freedom in sharing issues is a vital way of promoting such form of deep fellowship among the people involved.
The creation of ministries targeting men is a critical aspect that deserves to be approached with all the due care and consideration. The trend observed in many churches is that lesser men compared to men are actively involved in church activities. Indeed, the statistics can be interpreted differently. However, the main reasons behind such displeasing statistics are the fact that many men are known to live in isolation because of back wayward community beliefs that leave men processing the issues affecting them in extreme loneliness and separation from communities that would be of help to their situations. Thus, because of such beliefs, many men get themselves in caves without the smallest ever form of support system. Support systems for men, therefore, need to be created. For instance, many communities believe that when men share out the issues affecting them, that is a sign of weakness. Besides this, the uniqueness of how men form relationships contributes to the need for careful consideration in the creation of men’s ministries. Finally, besides the need to promote the connection between people, there is a need that man’s ministries focus on pointing men to God.
Works Cited Doyle, Brian et al. Engage: Building Your Church Based Ministry to Men. Iron Sharpens Iron Publishing, 2017. Morley, Patrick. Effective Men's Ministry. Zondervan, 2010. Morley, Patrick, et al. No Man Left Behind How to Build and Sustain A Thriving Disciple-Making Ministry for Every Man in Your Church. Moody Publishers, 2006. Murrow, David. Why Men Hate Going to Church. Thomas Nelson, 2011. Sonderman, Steve. How to Build a Life-Changing Men's Ministry. Baker Pub. Group, 2010.