A New Years’ Resolution for Your Men’s Ministry: 9 Vital SIgns of a Healthy Men’s Ministry
The Marks of a Healthy Men’s Ministry
When you go to the doctor for your annual check-up, he will normally check your vital signs – your heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, temperature, etc. Each of these has a bearing on your health. In the same way, we need to step back and take the vital signs of our ministry. As you begin the new year, it is a great opportunity to evaluate where you are at and where you want to go. We need to ask ourselves what are the vital signs of a healthy men’s ministry. If we are missing some of these, it may be a sign of sickness or immaturity in the ministry. Everything on the following list will not be evident right away, but is something to be aiming for. Steven Covey in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People has as one of his main points “To Keep the End in Mind.” These marks are what the end is going to look like a few years down the road.
Think about how you can incorporate each of these ‘marks’ in your men’s ministry this year and how your leadership team can develop and enhance these areas.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5
The church will only move forward as it moves forward on its knees. As men, we have a natural bent toward independence and self-sufficiency. Jesus knew this would be an obstacle to our ministry. He gives us a wonderful picture of what dependent prayer and life looks like with the image of the vine and the branches. The prayer lives of your leadership team should reflect a dependence on Jesus for life-changing powerful ministry.
Before God has something very great to accomplish for His church, it is His will that there should precede it the fervent prayers of His people. — Jonathon Edwards
Strong Leadership Team
From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. – Acts 20:17-18
When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship. – Acts 20:36-38
One of the biggest obstacles to a successful ministry is trying to succeed by yourself rather than as a team. Men’s ministries that have lasted are ones that have been built around a team of men who share the leadership responsibilities. Both Jesus and Paul modeled for us what ministry as a team looks like. Central to this team of men is a key leader who is passionate about men’s ministry and willing to be the point man for the ministry.
Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law. – Proverbs 29:18
One of the biggest problems in the modern men’s movement is a lack of purpose. Men are planning lots of events and activities for the men of their church, but there is no purpose to them. An effective ministry is going to have a clear and concise statement of purpose. This statement will give the men direction, keep them focused and inspire them. Men want to be a part of something significant, something bigger than themselves.
Centrality of the Word
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. – II Timothy 3:16-17
A healthy men’s ministry will be committed to the study, teaching and proclamation of the Word of God. Done in a variety of ways, it will provide the foundation from which men can govern their lives.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. – Psalm 139:14
In order to effectively minister to men, we must know who they are and what ministry looks like to them. Men in each church, city, country and culture are different. It will take a ministry uniquely designed for them in order to reach them.
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. – Hebrews 13:7
Unless the senior pastor is supportive of the ministry, it will not happen. There are a number of ways to get his support, but it begins with your leadership team being supportive of him. A healthy men’s ministry is one that is going in the same direction as the church.
Built on Loving Relationships
A new command I give you; Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34
Ministry is about people, not programs. It is about helping men build loving, encouraging relationships with those within the body of believers, as well as outside the body. We must help our men reach across social, economic, and racial lines with practical acts of love – with special care for the needy, forgotten and defenseless. Loving relationships produce unity, accountability and a powerful demonstration of God’s presence within our communities.
Balanced in Its Approach
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness. – Colossians 2:6-7
Jesus was in the “people business” and we should be, too. A healthy ministry has a balance between evangelism, establishment, equipping and empowering. It helps men transform their lives through the work of the Holy Spirit. which is a lifelong process. A successful ministry is not necessarily a bigger or busier ministry, but one that is winning the lost, building the believer and equipping the workers.
A healthy ministry will be intentional and focused, rather than have a number of random events and activities with little or no connection. It will start small, go slow and be strategic in what it does. The programs you put in place will assist men in the process of becoming Christ like.
I hope this gives you a starting point for evaluating your ministry to men and a guide you can use in the coming months as you examine and then treat the health of your men’s ministry.
For the Cause that Counts, Steve
Guest Author Steve Sonderman is the President and Founder of No Regrets Men’s Ministries. He also serves as Associate Pastor of Adult Discipleship at Elmbrook Church. His real passion is to see every local church have its own ministry to men. In 1995, he began the annual No Regrets Men’s Conference which today draws thousands of men to the event held at Elmbrook Church and across the country via webcast.