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How to Build a Life-Changing Men's MinistryPractical Ideas and Insights for Your Church
By Steve Sonderman
Bethany House PublishersCopyright © 2010 Steve Sonderman
All right reserved.
Chapter OneI have had the privilege of ministering to pastors, men's ministry leaders, and other men around the world-from here in the United States to Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In each place I see virtually the same thing: men riding the crest of the wave, men hungry to grow, men hungry to learn how to effectively minister to other men, and men hungry to have an impact in their country for Christ.
This is what this book is all about. It is about men ministering to other men. It is about building a team of men equipped to do the ministry. It is a tool to help layleaders within a local church start and run an effective men's ministry.
This book will help whether you are an individual thinking about beginning a men's ministry or you are already a part of a small group of men, whether you are starting from scratch or adding to what is already established. What I write here applies to churches of one hundred, one thousand, or even ten thousand people. The principles are the same, though the applications may be different. I have given points to ponder and exercises throughout that will help you to walk through the practical steps that make growing a men's ministryachievable.
If ever there was a time in history when local churches needed to build men individually and corporately it is now. That's one big reason for this revised and expanded edition. We have learned so much since this book was first published in 1996. In addition to adding two new chapters (chapters 3 and 12), sections throughout have been updated to reflect the paradigm shifts we're seeing in ministry to men.
As we survey our country's spiritual, financial, and societal landscapes, it becomes apparent that men not only need ministries geared especially for them but men are looking for them as well. Jesus once talked to His disciples about finishing the work the Father had given Him to do. He then challenged the disciples to look at the fields-to notice that they were ripe, ready to be harvested (John 4:34-38).
Christ's challenge to us is to turn our eyes to the fields and see the opportunities before us. We can be tempted to be angry that our world seems to be going from bad to worse. Yet what we see as problems in our society, we must grasp as opportunities for ministry.
The American Male Today Is Spiritually Searching
Over the years ministries like Promise Keepers, Men at the Cross, Iron Sharpens Iron, and many others have provided men the opportunity to respond to an evangelistic message to follow Christ, and thousands have taken that step. The obvious question men ask themselves after a great day or weekend of teaching, worship, and fellowship is What's next? How do I continue this and grow in it? What happens the other fifty-one weeks of the year? The only way to bring the fire home is to grow a strong, healthy men's ministry in every local church. Our isolated retreats, conferences, and mission projects pose an obvious danger. Men can have a great experience and then come home and slide into old routines-or worse, get inoculated with just enough Christianity to give them a false sense of security.
The number of books, magazines, and audio materials on spiritual growth and men's issues being bought today is another sign of male spiritual hunger. In the past it has been women who have kept most Christian bookstores in business. Today more men are buying Christian materials than ever before.
Let me say it one more time: Leaders of men: Lift up your eyes, for the fields are ripe for harvest! Men are ready to be built up together in a ministry designed to connect Christ with their real needs. Men today are ready for groups where they can help each other grow into Christlikeness. Where they can talk about raising godly children in a godless society. Where they can meet on a regular basis to worship with other men through song, prayer, and study. Men today are searching. We have an incredible opportunity before us.
Building a Life-Changing Men's Ministry
In seventeen years, the men's ministry at Elmbrook has grown from fifty to hundreds of men involved weekly in small groups. The leadership team has grown from eight to one hundred forty.
If our experience is any indication, men's ministries are finally coming home to the church. For me, nothing in life is greater than working with men in this environment. God uses other means of ministering to men. But His primary means of reconciling the world to himself-men included-is the church. It is my prayer and dream that as you move through this book you will catch the vision and passion of what can happen when men come together to serve Jesus together.
I would suggest you work through the material in this book together with other like-minded men, slowly enough to complete the exercises that apply to you and your situation. I have no intention of laying out a model and advising you to copy it! Rather I will give you straightforward principles, ideas, and guidelines you can use to develop a ministry for your own setting. Every church in the world is different-different denominations, different leadership structures, different mission statements, and different philosophies of ministry. As a result, every men's ministry will look different as well.
Having done a stint as a high school football coach, I still find myself thinking and talking like a coach as I lead more than three thousand men at Elmbrook. Besides that fact, there are almost endless similarities between building a team and building a ministry. For these reasons I have decided to approach the development of this book like I would a football season. In the first chapters we will prep for the season, then move into developing a coaching staff, scout out the players, set a game plan, kick off, and then play the game-everything you need to know to get from here to the end zone.
No matter where you are right now in developing your ministry, you need to know where you're going. In the next chapter we will look at the end game, what God looks for in a godly man, and what an effective ministry to men looks like. So let's get started.
Excerpted from How to Build a Life-Changing Men's Ministry by Steve Sonderman Copyright © 2010 by Steve Sonderman. Excerpted by permission.
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