Did You Know that “Men’s Ministry” Is an Old Wineskin?
A young golf pro was on the links one day with the legendary Sam Snead. As you might expect, he carefully watched every move Snead made.
On one tee, Snead took a wood and drove a perfect shot down the middle of the fairway. The young pro went to his bag, pulled out the same wood, and began to tee up his ball.
Snead said, “Young man.”
“Yes sir,” he replied.
“Do you see that tree over there?”
“Well, when I was your age, I would take an iron, go over the top of that tree, and be on the green in one.”
“Oh!” he said, put the wood back in his bag, pulled out an iron, teed it up, and gave it a pretty good “whack!” Unfortunately, the ball hit the top of the tree and got lost in the woods.
Snead deadpanned, “Of course, when I was your age, that tree was only half as tall as it is right now.”
We all know this truth in our vocational lives: things change, and if you don’t keep up you’ll get left behind.
Things Have Changed
Men’s ministry is no different. In fact, in case you missed it, even the term “men’s ministry” is out of vogue. Now it’s “men’s discipleship” or “ministry to men.”
The world of men’s discipleship is hardly recognizable compared to the men’s movement 20 years ago when the PK revival swept America. Everything has changed: The leadership, vision, technologies, leadership training, men’s discipleship resources, ministries serving men, denominational men’s departments, interest levels in churches, the financial and intellectual resources devoted to men, books, and models have evolved rapidly.
Many, many major problems have been tackled and solved. For example, take the idea that men’s ministry is “men only.” Now the leadership of the men’s movement recognizes what should have been obvious all along: only a small percentage of the men in a church are ever going to join a men’s only initiative. So, if we want to disciple “every” man in the church, we have to stop beating men up because they don’t attend the “men only” events and disciple them where they are.
So what’s the risk? It’s that your men’s ministry (ministry to men) is an old wineskin. So don’t put your head in the sand. Don’t say, “How hard could it be?” or, “I can figure it out on my own.” That’s just arrogant. Given the legions of leaders who have tried and failed, it must be harder than many think!
So don’t get lost in the woods. Adjust as if it was your own business on the line. Figure out the new wineskins. Find proven, biblical methods and models. Stop wasting time trying to reinvent the wheel. There are experts who are 20 years ahead of you. Find them. Humble yourself. Ask for help. Men are perishing while you are wasting time trying to do your own thing.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help trying to figure out your next steps.
Yours for changed lives,
Patrick Morley, Ph.D.