A Passion For No Man Left Behind
In our last post, we introduced a “system” or a model that is perfectly designed to help you create passionate disciples of Jesus. We believe God has entrusted us with a Biblical discipleship model, not because we are so special, but because it is a collection of principles and practices that has been proven in local churches we’ve worked with who have developed thriving and sustainable disciple-making ministries to men. We call it the No Man Left Behind Model.
We talk about this model a lot at Man in the Mirror—indeed we believe it’s our core purpose for existing as a ministry. This is our life’s work. Helping you and your church disciple men is what we do. We have privilege of waking up every day focused on how to disciple men in the church—your church.
We’ll be taking a helicopter view and fly over of the major concepts here. Don’t feel like you have to grasp it all now because we will continue to unpack each aspect step-by-step in future posts. Why present all these concepts in one post? It’s important to be familiar with these ideas before discussing each one in detail because together they form an integrated whole. This system, like Henry Ford’s assembly line, is most definitely more than the sum of its parts.
The Promise of Men’s Ministry
Before you start building a system, it’s a good idea to understand both your starting and ending points. We begin with the men; they are the raw materials of your system. The men in your church and community are the “inputs” on the left side of the conveyor belt.
We’ve talked a lot about the state of men in America. But we’re not just interested in where they are. So, what exactly is it we hope to accomplish with them?
Disciples: Your goal is create an environment that God can use to produce healthy, mature disciples. We know what a disciple looks like, and these are the outputs, or products, of your men’s ministry system. Disciples are biblical Christians. Some will become leaders, and some leaders will become allies. What do men look like at each stage?
- Biblical Christians – These are men who grasp the gospel and are hungry to grow. They have stopped seeking the God they want, and have begun to seek the God who is. They understand change takes place from the inside out. They know for their own experience that Christianity is not about behavior modification; it’s about heart transformation.
- Leaders – These are men who are beginning to live out of the overflow of their own personal relationship with Jesus. No longer are they concerned only with their walk with God; now they want to do what it takes to help other people grow too. These are the “trustworthy” men who will, in turn, pass what they have learned to others.
- Allies – These are men who have become passionately convinced that God can use them and your church to transform the world for His glory. These are the men who become future members of your leadership team and fuel growth in your discipleship ministry with men. Pray and focus your energies on creating allies.
The Foundations of Your Ministry
Three components provide a solid base on which to build your men’s ministry—the Portal Priority (your philosophy of ministry), a Man Code (the environment you create for men), and the Three Strands of Leadership.
Portal Priority – Churches that reach men effectively make discipleship their portal priority (see Matthew 28:19). By this we mean that all the other initiatives of the church serve the purpose of discipleship. You cannot produce worshipers by begging men to worship; you can’t produce tithers by guilting men to give; you can’t create evangelists simply by training men to share. Men will not worship a God they do not know and revere; they won’t give to a God they don’t love; and they won’t share about a God they aren’t passionate about. Jesus’ model is to produce disciples who worship, disciples who tithe, and disciples who are passionate to share the good news about what He has done for them.
Man Code – Churches that effectively disciple men have a strong masculine environment. They create an unwritten “man code” that defines what it means to be a man in their church. New men soak it in from the environment: “To be a man here is to be important and valuable, and also to play a part in what God is doing to transform the world.” Sometimes the incredible adventure of following Christ is buried beneath boring bulletin announcements. Make your church a place where men can be men.
Three Strands of Leadership – To disciple all the men of your church and community, your conveyor belt will need a strong foundation of leadership. Successful discipleship ministries for men have the active involvement of the senior pastor, a committed leader, and an effective and renewed leadership team—three strands of leadership (like the cord of three strands in Ecclesiastes 4:12).
Above The Foundation: The Process
On top of this foundation, we will help you build a “conveyor belt”—the process of your men’s ministry.
Wide to Deep – Churches that reach men build a system that moves men along the “Wide-to-Deep” continuum. A goal of your church’s ministry with men is to take men who don’t yet know Christ (interested in opportunities on the wide side) and move them along to become passionate disciples (invested in ministry on the deep side). Each activity or program in your church will appeal to men who are at different points on the continuum. One role of leadership is to make sure all your leaders are on the same page and that you have the entire continuum covered to help disciple every man.
All-Inclusive Ministry – Develop an all-inclusive mind-set by recognizing that every your church does that touches men is men’s ministry. In other words, the size of your men’s ministry is equal to the number of men in your church. The traditional definition of men’s ministry is only those activities that happen when men are by themselves, such as a Saturday morning breakfast. An all-inclusive ministry disciples men right where they are, maximizing the kingdom impact of every interaction with every man. You have a “men’s ministry” with every man in your church—the only question is, “Is it effective or ineffective?”
The Discipleship Engine: Planning and Executing Your Ministry
Once the conveyor belt is built, you need an engine to start it in motion. You’ll build and execute your plan by communicating a clear vision and then harnessing the power of the Create-Capture-Sustain cycle of ministry around that vision. Implementing this strategy helps move men step-by-step along the continuum to become mature disciples.
- Vision – Churches that produce disciples clearly define and communicate their vision in ways that resonate with men. Use a name, slogan and/or phrase that connect with men at a gut level. In every interaction you have with men, explain clearly and passionately how this event or activity helps fulfill your purpose and brings glory to God.
- Create – Build momentum with men by creating value. Get a man started in discipleship by helping him take a new step spiritually. Invite him to breakfast, to church, or to a special men’s activity. If he says yes, it’s because you have given him something he believes will be valuable.
- Capture – Capture momentum by giving every man a “right next step”at the time you create value for him. Use short-term, low-threshold activities that make it easy for a man to keep moving forward. For example, offer a six-week topical study on a commonly felt need, such as money or work. Make sure you capture momentum by asking for a commitment at the time they feel the value.
- Sustain – Sustain momentum by engaging men in the most effective long-term discipleship processes of your church. As quickly as possible, help men enter into meaningful relationships with other men. Most lasting change takes place in the context of relationships. Sustain change by focusing on the heart rather than allowing men to simply be nice and perform.
Building Your Plan – This system will work differently in every church. We will walk through the entire model again step-by-step in future posts. What’s the result of implementing this system in a local church? You’ll be part of a dynamic church filled with passionate men who live and love like Christ. We know this because we have seen it in hundreds of churches across America.
The Big Idea: The No Man Left Behind Model helps leaders create an environment in their churches where the Holy Spirit inspires men to engage in life-on-life discipleship.
Can’t wait to get started? Our Area Directors are trained and equipped to help you implement the No Man Left Behind model in your church. Find an Area Director near you to get started in the process today.