Tom and Virgil, co-leaders over ministry to men at their church, had a breakthrough year!
Early this year, they decided to focus on the topic of relationships for the spring. One Sunday in January, greeters handed out a short, five-question assessment form to all the men as they came into service and collected them via the offering. Using the results, they prepared a simple report for their pastor and decided on three goals for the spring–three things they hoped God would produce in the minds, hearts, and lives of the men in the area of relationship.
To cast a vision, they passed out business cards to all the men in the church with the three objectives listed, along with a Bible verse. They also played a short video in Sunday school classes and during one of the services to build excitement and anticipation around the idea of growing as disciples within the context of their marriages and friendships.
Through a partnership with the women’s leader and Sunday school teachers, they held a Valentine’s Day date-night event for all the couples in the church, followed by a men’s barbecue a week later for unmarried men. They used the momentum that was created at both of these gatherings to launch small groups–and more than 75% of the attendees joined, as well as many others who couldn’t attend the events. The couples started a study together on godly marriage and prayer, and the men’s-only groups began reading a book on accountable friendship. Even some of the young adults participated through a premarital study group. All in all, fifteen new small groups were started!
As much as they tried to get everyone plugged into a group, they knew 100% participation wasn’t feasible. In order to engage men outside of the groups, Tom and Virgil did a few different things–they emailed out a free Bible study video about the risks and rewards of true Christian friendship, along with some reflection questions; they sent out a link to a two-part sermon series on marriage; they printed out an assessment on the Five Love Languages and distributed them to both men and women after service and classes; and near the end of the spring, they organized a guys’ night out that included a ping pong tournament and burgers.
As the small groups finished their studies, they made sure everyone completed that same five-question assessment form from January and compared the results. They were so encouraged to see what God was working in the lives of their men! They decided a celebration was in order so they spoke with the pastor and women’s leaders and planned a dinner gathering at the church for a Saturday night in May. Working with some of the other leaders, they asked a few couples and men to share their testimonies at the dinner. They arranged for some worship music and fun activities to keep it interesting, including a little competition! With the help of a small team, they personally invited as many people as possible.
Coming together as a church to thank God, encourage each other, and celebrate healthier marriages and new friendships has transformed their church community. And through all the tasks that needed done along the way, they ended up recruiting and developing three new guys to join the men’s leadership team. They’re already making plans for this fall!
Does this sound out of reach–the creation of new small groups, getting men into the Word and into relationship with other men, engaging those on the fringe, different ministry leaders linking arms, and more? What if I told you this could happen in YOUR church, too? And we’d tell you what to do every step of the way?
We’ve just taken you through the Relationships Challenge from the Journey to Biblical Manhood, a flexible framework to disciple all the men in your church, consisting of 12 Challenges. (Tom and Virgil’s story is a compilation of stories we’ve heard from churches already on the Journey.)
This web-based leadership tool is based on the principles of No Man Left Behind, and includes:
We’ll tell you exactly what to do and how to do it so you can focus more on ministry and less on administration, but you’re always in the driver’s seat, with the ability to choose your own resources.
We can’t wait to start the journey with you and your men.