102 – Identifying, Recruiting & Empowering Leaders
Bill Bright says it well—“It all comes down to leadership.” In my experience, whenever something worthwhile happens you can be sure a leader helped make it happen.
Leadership will make or break your business, your family, your church, and your church’s men’s ministry. No ministry to men can be sustained without a solid strategy for identifying, recruiting, and empowering leaders.
A REAL WORLD PARABLE
Frank, a successful businessman, came to Christ through the efforts of a neighbor. He and his wife soon joined a church. Frank’s brother, who lived in another city, had known Christ for many years. He invited Frank to go on a men’s retreat with his church.
Frank decided to go and had a deep spiritual experience. He could not wait to get back to his own church and try to duplicate the event.
The next week he had lunch with his pastor. “We need to have a men’s ministry, and I’ll head it up.” His pastor agreed this was a great idea.
Frank recruited three other men and began to plan events. Frank was a natural leader and things went well from the start. The same success he had known in his business career seemed to carry over into ministry. Sixty-two men attended the first retreat and thirty-five of them joined small groups, led by the seven leaders Frank had helped recruit.
Things were great – for a while. But after a year one of the other team members had a job change and started missing leadership meetings. Only fifty-five men signed up for the second retreat and three of the small group leaders had dissolved their groups without anyone ever knowing about it.
Discouraged, Frank considered dropping out of leadership. Fortunately, he just learned he was getting a promotion that required moving to another city. After Frank moved, the men’s ministry dissolved into nothing.
That is until a man named Kendrick read a book, came to Christ, joined the church and went to see the pastor…
ROLLER COASTER MEN’S MINISTRY
Over and over again at Man in the Mirror we hear about “roller coaster” men’s ministries. Over the last ten years too many churches have experienced huge swings in the depth and effectiveness of their ministry to men. Few have developed sustained disciple-making efforts in their churches. One key reason for this is a lack of sustained leadership.
How can you avoid fits and starts in your ministry to men? By continuously and relentlessly recruiting leaders to become true believers in a powerful vision.
A POWERFUL VISION
Let’s begin at the end. If you want to have a sustainable men’s ministry, start with a powerful vision and a big challenge.
Men are tired of doing things “just because they should” or for no apparent reason. Men—especially younger men—want to be involved in something bigger than themselves.
We have cheated men by hiding the incredible adventure of changing the world through Christ behind boring bulletin announcements.
Develop a phrase or slogan that lets your men know you are playing for keeps. Call men to join a great vision of what God could do in your midst. Inspire them to join a cause that literally means the difference between eternal life and death for hundreds and thousands of men and their families. Then pray that God would call forth leaders.
Look for a concrete, visual, short, memorable statement that resonates with men. Imagine what it was like for rural fishermen to hear Jesus’s call to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-20)!
After attending our Leadership Training Center, one leader took his accurate, precise and completely boring purpose statement and turned it into “Training Men for the Battle.” The Lord has used this (and other truths he learned) to give new power for his ministry to men.
BECOMING TRUE BELIEVERS
Secondly, help men become “true believers.” Men do what they want to do, and they will want to do things they see as valuable, worthwhile, or bringing happiness. It’s your job to present the vision in such a way that the Holy Spirit can call men to passionate commitment.
Often we recruit men to tasks: “Can you bring the donuts to our next breakfast?”; “Will you call the men and invite them to the retreat?”; or “Will you please come to our luncheon?” There is one major problem—when you recruit men to tasks, you have to “sell them again” every time there is a new task that needs to be done.
Talk about everything you do in terms of the purpose of your ministry. When a man buys into the vision, you don’t have to “sell” him on each separate activity or ministry. Each “task” becomes an opportunity for him to forward a cause he already believes in.
Many men’s ministry leaders focus only on the total number of men involved in their ministry—forty went on the retreat, twenty-seven came to breakfast, and nineteen are involved in small groups. These are great things to know, but you also need to focus on how many men are true believers (TB’s) in your vision. If you can double the number of true believers every year, you will almost certainly have a vibrant and sustainable ministry to men. If this inner circle stops growing, watch out.
IDENTIFY AND RECRUITING LEADERS
Once you have a dynamic purpose and a commitment to help men buy into it, you need to identify and recruit new leaders. Here are two practical ideas…
Invite men to help fulfill the vision, not just accomplish tasks. Anytime you ask a man to help with the ministry, ask him in terms of the vision, not the event. For example, imagine you need someone to bring drinks for a men’s barbecue. Don’t say, “Kevin, we need drinks at the barbecue. Would you mind bringing them?” Instead, say, “Kevin, we are training men for the battle. One way we are going to reach the men of our city for Christ is by having a barbecue. Would you be willing to bring drinks to help train men for the battle and reach men for Christ?”
Nineteen times out of twenty it will go in one ear and out the other. So what? You still have your drinks. But one out of twenty times Kevin will see what God does through the barbecue and catch the larger vision.
Share the vision with one man a month.Have each member of your leadership team meet once a month for breakfast or lunch with one other man. This is a “no-agenda” opportunity to share with him about your ministry to men. Don’t ask him to do anything, simply share with him why you are passionate about reaching men and what God is doing in your ministry.
Develop a short script that contains:
- The Introduction (“Eddie, thanks for meeting with me today. I don’t really have any agenda other than to share with you about what God is doing in our ministry to men”);
- the Vision (“As you may know, we are training men for the battle. Nothing has the power to change the world like reaching men…”);
- a Success Story (“I don’t know if you’ve met Jose Aguilar yet, but he has a great testimony of what God has done. Ted Rogers invited him to our outreach lunch last fall and Jose joined a small group. One of the other men led him to Christ, and now Jose and his wife have joined our church. It fires me up to think that his three precious children have a whole new future ahead of them with a godly dad.”); and
- a Next Step (“We have some great ministries going on right now – small groups, service projects, and our annual retreat. Also, if you’d like to sit in on one of our leadership meetings we’d love to have you join us as our guest. Our next meeting is a week from Sunday.”)
If each member of your leadership meets with twelve men in the next year and ten percent of them become True Believers, you will more than double the number of True Believers in your church. Keep this up for a few years and your church and city will never be the same again.
Why not share this article with your pastors and other leaders in your church? Consider meeting to discuss how you might implement this plan to identify, recruit, and empower leaders. (Pray also about how it might apply in your business and family life as well.)
Order a No Man Left Behind Plan, formerly know as Ministry Action Plan from Man in the Mirror to help you create a comprehensive strategy for ministry to men. You may also want to attend the Leadership Training Center for Men’s Evangelism & Discipleship for more hands on training in reaching men.
Business leader, author, and speaker, Patrick Morley helps men think more deeply about their lives, to be reconciled with Christ, and to be equipped for a larger impact on the world. David Delk is the COO of Man in the Mirror © 2002. Patrick Morley and David Delk. All rights reserved.