What Difference Does Church Size Make in Discipling Men? Part 3
In the last two Weekly Briefings, I raised the issue of discipling men in smaller churches and attempted to put the issue in perspective. Last week I invited comments and received a flood of email with theories, problems, questions, and stories about what’s working. Thank all of you so much.
On reflection, I thought it might be helpful to publish three excerpts that may help smaller church leaders increase their effectiveness in men’s discipleship:
1. A Small Texas Church Finds an Advantage in Reaching Across the Generations
I am blessed to pastor a small
church of about 75 in rural Texas. We started a
‘men’s group’ about 4 weeks ago. Advantage? Multi
generational. Rural Texas is farms, ranches and
families. Our men’s group is about 14 men, ranging in
age from 14 to 90. Boys, Dads, and Grandpas. We are
utilizing Robert Lewis’s Quest for Authentic Manhood
curriculum. When we break into small groups for
discussion after the teaching, it is usually groups of
2 or 3. One or two older men, and one younger man.
I’m glad we don’t have a “teenagers” sunday school
class. I believe we have an advantage over a larger church.
2. South African Church Sees an Advantage to Being Smaller When It Comes to Effectively Caring About Men
I am writing from Stellenbosch South Africa so I am not sure that what I say will be relevant.
Our congregation consists of perhaps 50 men. I am sure that we mirror the larger congregations in that your 20 % of our men do 80 % of the work. The 20% are the men involved in bible studies etc. the point is: no matter the size of the church, it is still dependant on one individual to drive the discipling of the other men around him. This discipling can happen in small groups and can be more effective than discipling in large groups. In fact it is easier to care for men in a small congregation than in a larger one.
3. A Pastor Finds Laymen Must Champion Men’s Discipleship Ministry With Minimal Support
You are now addressing one of the issues that I have been wrestling with in the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America). In our presbytery of 25 churches, one is about 1000, and the next largest church is 350.
In men’s ministry, one of the primary differences I have seen between large churches and smaller churches is the ability of the church staff to focus on men’s ministry. In large churches, there may be a full time men’s ministry guy. In medium sized churches, with 4 or 5 staff, the man assigned “men’s ministry” may also be responsible for several other areas, such as discipleship, evangelism, small groups, adult education. In this situation, the staff guy can still focus on men’s ministry to some degree. But the vast majority of PCA churches have three or fewer ministry staff. This means whatever staff oversight is given to men’s ministry is given to one who has a lot of other ministry responsibility.
In the PCA, this often means that the men’s ministry champions are laymen, not guys on church staffs. Their “staff” support is usually pretty nominal.
To summarize: In smaller churches, it may be beneficial for a laymen to champion men’s discipleship through caring small groups that reach across all generations.
His and yours,
Pat Morley, Ph.D.
Of the 113,00,000 men 15 and older, 10,600,000 were 15 – 19 years of age, and 10,800,000 were 20 – 24 years of age. The number of men 20 – 21 years of age were estimated from Census Bureau totals. http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/tables/06s0011.xls , retrieved September 29, 2006.