6 Lessons Learned About Mens Ministry in Washington DC
Nearly fifteen years ago on a February night in 1999, eight guys met in a tire store in Merrifield, Va., and formed the Washington Area Coalition of Men’s Ministries (WACMM). While they came from different churches and backgrounds, they had one thing in common: a passion to minister to men. That night, these brothers talked and prayed about what God was calling them to do in light of the Promise Keepers (PK) movement. PK had staged major events in DC, including Stand in the Gap in October 1997 that drew more than 1 million men. But afterwards, there were no boots-on-the-ground locally; there was a gap between powerful events and sustaining ministry momentum.
After our newly formed “band of brothers” spent time hanging out, we began to encourage, support and resource churches of the D.C. region in their ministries to men. Because Washington is the most strategic city in the world, we also understood that reaching the men who live here could have national as well as worldwide impacts.
Today WACMM – pronounced “wack ’em” – remains a nonprofit, nondenominational, all-volunteer, boots-on-the-ground ministry to some 600 churches in the mid-Atlantic region and around the country. We are a valued, trusted resource to pastors, church staffs, para-church organizations and men’s leaders through our speaking, training, teaching, coaching, event, and consulting ministries. Over 42,000 men have attended WACMM events; 7,000 pastors, leaders and men receive our monthly e-newsletter; and over a one-quarter of million men from around the world have visited our web site – www.wacmm.org
While the size, scope and impact of WACMM has grown tremendously since that tire store beginning fifteen years ago, we still see ourselves less as an organization and more as a band of brothers whose heart and mission is to help men reject isolation and passivity and wholeheartedly pursue biblical manhood and to promote cooperation and collaboration among their churches.
What Can’t Be Done Alone – Biblical Manhood
Over the last 14 years we’ve learned a lot about biblical manhood as well as connecting and mobilizing men to “do together what they cannot do alone.” Some of those core lessons are:
- God has wired men to uniquely carry the roles and responsibilities in marriage, family, church and society of provision, protection, and spiritual leadership.
- Sin wars against us to consistently, faithfully carry out our calling. The world, the flesh and the enemy conspire to lure or lull us into passivity, isolation, irresponsibility, fear, cowardice, self-gratification and on and on. The Gospel reminds us what God has already done for us and who we are now in Christ.
- Jesus Christ is the authentic man who saves us from sin and death, redeems our fallen masculinity, and places us in an authentic community of men who love one another and spur each other on. He is the Tender Warrior, “in whom we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28.
- Ministry to men is the hardest, most frustrating and most challenging ministry and the most important ministry in the church. Fruitful ministry cannot be done in the flesh but only in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus always reminds his men, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” John 15:5.
- As go the men, so go the marriages, the families, churches, the communities and the culture. Men in Scripture were and still are foundational to God’s rescue mission and redemptive purposes. When a culture disintegrates, it is because men have abandoned the post. We live in the first generation in history that is confused about what it means to be a man. Consequently, when men are confused, women are confused about what it means to be a woman and children are lost.
- Ministry to men is not about moral therapies and behavior modification through tips and techniques or exhortations to do more, worker harder, or be better. Ministry to men at heart is the continual proclamation of the Gospel – “the power of God unto salvation” – to unbeliever and believer alike.
Dave Brown is a pastor and the Director of WACMM, and is Chairman, Foundation for Manhood. He served for 30 years in the federal government’s Senior Executive Service (SES), including eight years as an appointee of President Ronald Reagan. Since his retirement in 1998, he has been the men’s pastor at McLean Bible Church in McLean, VA, a leadership consultant, university administrator, and member of the boards of directors for the C. S. Lewis Institute and Stand in the Gap 2007.