Make Disciples, Pray for Workers
Is ministry getting harder and harder?
Why do some men’s ministries overflow with life and vitality while others lose steam?
Recently I visited a church trying to start a men’s ministry, but the church was full of burned out “workers.” They had put the cart before the horse.
The Bible tells us, “Go and make disciples … baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Often we get this confused with, “Go and make workers … browbeating them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
The Bible doesn’t call us to make “workers,” but “disciples.” The purpose of ministry, then, is to make disciples, not workers. Men don’t enjoy being made to go on a forced march. True disciples will become workers out of the overflow of their growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Bible does, however, call us to “pray” for workers:
“The harvest is so great, and the workers are so few,” [Jesus] told his disciples. “So pray to the one in charge of the harvesting, and ask him to recruit more workers for his harvest fields” (Matthew 9:37-38, TLB).
Too often we try to “make workers, and pray for disciples.” So we might put it this way: God calls us to pray for workers and make disciples.
What does that look like in your ministry to men?
For your leaders, make sure you are building into each other spiritually before you are assigning tasks and responsibilities. Your leadership team needs to pray with and for each other and engage in life-on-life discipleship in settings outside of your team meetings. If your only interactions are over the next event, a checklist and task assignments, you’re headed towards burnout.
For your men, remember this: you may care more about their spiritual growth than they do. Don’t get mad at them–as the leader, that’s how it’s supposed to be. So encourage men and lift them up. Try and help men get connected into relationships rather than just signing up for service projects or events. Measure the impact on your ministry not by the amount of work you get done or the number of men that show up for events. Rather, measure your impact in changed lives, new relationships, engaged fathers and committed husbands.
Here’s a key idea: If your church and men’s ministry focuses on getting its men to do “works” rather than “making disciples” it will burn them out. You will lose all your steam.