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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.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
1 Riding the Crest of the Wave 9
2 What Are We Aiming At? 23
3 The Changing Landscape of Men's Ministry 43
4 Developing a Coaching Staff 61
5 Scouting the Players 87
6 Developing a Game Plan 107
7 Dreaming of the Big Win 125
8 Game Day 153
9 Huddles: Starting Small Groups for Your Men 173
10 Coaching the Leaders 199
11 Special Teams 219
12 Being a Leader Who Is Built to Last 241
13 Conclusion 255
Appendix A Top-Gun Ministry 257
Appendix B Sixteen Great Special Events 263
Appendix C Resources for Ministry 277
Posted May 3, 2011
Recently I received a review copy of Steve Sonderman's book "How to Build a Life-Changing Men's Ministry" from Bethany House. In my experience how to books like this are not that helpful because they offer stories on how one particular church did ministry in their location and in the local church context. More often than not these books are not transferable because they don't convey ideas that can be helpful in multiple contexts. Thankfully, this book is not one of those. Sonderman offers an extremely solid and beneficial how to book that can easily be adopted in multiple ministry contexts. First and foremost I appreciate how he starts his book. He begins by showing the need for men's ministry and then showing what type of Christian man they believe the Bible is calling them to strive for. It is always helpful to know what you are aiming at. Sonderman offers an excellent resource for any men's ministry. I highly recommend this book to anyone or church that are serious about discipling the men of their church.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 10, 2010
There have been some exciting things happening in our home church and several study groups have begun. Besides that, I had heard the name Sonderman before. These facts brought my attention to this book.
The beginning is very interesting and has some deep Christian principles, like being mission-centered, having prayer as a compass and the Word of God as foundation. Furthermore, the author is concerned about the fact that men need support from other men, and that men of integrity are only those with firm biblical convictions, godly character and a congruent way of life. Therefore, a men's ministry would be focused on men of intimacy, with God, with his wife and with other men, with the objective of attaining the latter. The author also emphasizes the importance of a continuous program that would help men grow in Christ.
However, several chapters are dedicated to the different activities that might be considered for men's ministry, like sports or championships. True, special days are always an opportunity to share the gospel, but I do not feel comfortable with planning ministry activities and studies around such. Actually, my opinion is that these have taken priority over the Scriptures; the church is not meant to celebrate matches with others. Besides, there are men (my deacon husband included) that have seen again and again that having a "man's day" does not edify the church, as the purpose of fellowship then, growing together closer to God, appears to be just a consequence, rather than the cause of getting together.
Having said this, I must also say that the pointers Mr. Sunderman suggests for organizing and setting up a ministry are good. It is even better that some business organization books I've read.
The bottom line, there must be a sound balance between events that appeal to men and spiritual growth. Just as the author puts it, the focus should be on the people, not on programs.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for review, but this does not bias my opinion on the book nor the author.
Posted March 23, 2010
This book is absolute must for any church starting, redoing or jump starting their men's ministry. The author, Steve Sonderman, has taken the successes and failures of men's ministry from his experiences as well as others to help create building blocks for churches to follow. It is great to have a book where you do not have to reinvent the wheel for a men's ministry. This is a great tool for creating a successful men's ministry.
There is a lot of information so to read it one time would be a disservice for you and your church. I will be reading this over and over again to soak up as much of the information I can.
I received this complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers