3 Important Steps For Clarifying Your Vision
In our last post, we discussed why having a vision is vital to the growth of your men’s ministry. Now we will dive a little deeper and discuss the “nuts and bolts” of developing the vision for your ministry to men that looks at the future of where God desires to take the men of your church.
Does your church have a purpose, mission or vision statement? When you are developing a vision for your men’s ministry, it needs to be in line with this overarching vision and the particular purpose of your church.
Since the vision you cast for your men’s ministry will be the crucial element for getting men involved, we are going to help you formulate the vision of your men’s ministry in three different ways: as an internal purpose statement, an external call, and an elevator speech.
FREE Vision Worksheet
To help develop the vision for your men’s ministry, use this downloadable Vision Worksheet straight from our No Man Left Behind Live training. The rest of the post will lead you through filling this out.
Step One: An Internal Purpose Statement For Your Men’s Ministry
Does your men’s ministry have a vision statement? Take some time right now to review or formulate your men’s ministry vision statement by thinking through some of the key ideas that should be included. We call this an “Internal Purpose Statement” because it should be used mainly with your leadership team as an aid in prayer and strategic planning.
Two of our foundational principles are particularly important as you think about the vision of your men’s ministry: First, remember that it takes a long time to make a disciple. Have a long-term perspective. Don’t look for a quick fix in a few months. Instead, pray and plan for what God wants to do over the next five or ten years.
Second, as we have said, most meaningful change takes place in the context of relationships. Men change as their lives intersect with the lives of other men. Your men’s ministry vision should include helping men develop meaningful relationships with other men.
You may want to have biblical themes and phrases reflected in your internal purpose statement. Consider the following Scripture passages. Make notes of key ideas and themes that you would like to consider for your purpose statement: Proverbs 27:17; Matthew 28:18-20; Galatians 6:1-2; Ephesians 4:11-16; Colossians 1:28-29; Colossians 3:19; Colossians 2:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:2.
Not only should you be aware of what the Bible teaches about ministering to men, you should also have a good handle on the practical needs of men in your church and community. It won’t do you any good to design a men’s ministry that won’t actually reach any of your men.
This week, carve out about twenty minutes to spend on the phone. Call a few representative men from your church and community. Discover their needs by asking questions such as the following:
- In what area of your life do you feel the most pressure?
- If our church could do one thing for you, what would you want it to be?
- What is the most valuable experience you’ve had at the church in the last year?
- What is the worst experience you’ve had at church in the last year?
Then, prayerfully combine the thoughts and ideas generated by this material into an internal purpose statement for the men’s ministry of your church. Remember, a purpose statement basically says what you will do and how will you do it. Whatever words you use, your purpose should have at its heart Jesus’ command to “make disciples.”
If your men’s ministry already has a purpose statement, consider writing it down right now. If not, write a sentence that captures the essence of what you believe God wants the men’s ministry of your church to accomplish.
Sample Men’s Ministry Internal Purpose Statement: To reach men with a credible offer of the gospel and equip them as transformational leaders for their families, church, work, and the world.
Step Two: An External Slogan to Challenge Your Men
In addition to an internal purpose statement, it is helpful to have a “call” or slogan that resonates with the men in your church. While your internal purpose statement charts a course, the external slogan helps recruit your team. It doesn’t change or add to your purpose statement, but rather “distills” it to a simple, high-impact message.
When men hear your slogan, you want them to remember the compelling ministry being accomplished for and by your men. A slogan is like a plastic bag at the grocery store. You don’t go to the store to get a bag; the bag allows you to carry all your items home. A slogan or phrase that resonates is like an empty bag that you fill with the content and experiences that support the vision and mission of your church. After a few years, men who hear your slogan will automatically think about the incredible mission trip to Mexico, the amazing outreach event in your community, the day they re-roofed the widow’s house, or the way their group helped a man through his marriage crisis.
How will you call men to go with you on this adventure? Bruce Barton once said, “Jesus brought forth man’s best efforts not with the promise of great reward, but of great obstacles.”
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.
Look for a short, visual, concrete, memorable statement that resonates with men. Make it action-oriented, rather than descriptive. 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 No Man Left Behind training, 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.
Sample slogans: Training Men for the Battle; Building Iron Men; Brothers in the Great Adventure; Men of Faith; Men of Valor; First Men; Band of Brothers.
Step Three: Your Elevator Speech
Train your leaders to share their passion for your men’s ministry with other men. Help them develop a four or five sentence explanation about why they are excited about what God is doing through the men of your church. This is called an “elevator speech.”
Imagine you are getting on an elevator and one of the men from your church walks on as the doors are closing. He says hello and then asks, “I know you are involved in the men’s ministry at church, and I’ve been thinking, why should I get more involved?” He then pushes the button for the fifth floor and you have twenty seconds to convince him. What will you say?
Begin training your leaders to give their elevator speech by working on a short script that contains:
The Introduction – “Eddie, I’d love to quickly share with you 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 how God is working. 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.”
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.”
Here’s a real life example. Brett had invited a man to join his men’s ministry leadership team. After the first meeting, Brett’s friend expressed doubt about whether he wanted to be involved. It seemed like meetings and activities. What was the men’s ministry really trying to accomplish?
They had both just witnessed a man in their small group who abandoned his wife and teen-aged kids for another woman. Brett was ready with an elevator speech:
“Bill, do you remember what happened with Rob? You and I sat next to him for six months in our small group? Did you have any idea something was going on?”
“No,” he said sadly. “I didn’t.”
“Me neither. And that’s why we need a men’s ministry. Because every man in our church needs another man who can look him in the eye and tell when something’s wrong.”
In a flash, Bill “got it.” He literally slammed his hand down on the table. “I want to be a part of that!”
Take a few minutes and write down an elevator speech that quickly explains your vision for men’s ministry in your church. Time your presentation to make sure you can tell the story in around 45 seconds.
Share your elevator speech with other men as often as you can. Have your emcees use their version at each of your events. Use it when you invite men to participate in activities, events, or groups. Keep your vision in front of as many men as possible as much as possible.
Be Vision-Focused Rather Than Event-Centered
An internal purpose statement provides focus and direction. It helps you screen out distractions and hone in on priority activities. An external slogan helps you constantly remind your men that you are doing things for a vision. Too often, local church men’s ministries have been driven by events rather than vision.
We schedule events—monthly men’s breakfasts, an annual retreat, etc.—and before long men perceive that the events are the ministry. We become discouraged when men don’t attend events because that is how we measure the effectiveness of our ministry. Yet, often men don’t come because there doesn’t seem to be any larger purpose to the events.
If we are not careful, we can “begin” without really knowing where we want to “end.” It is easy to get caught up in the break-neck pace of men’s ministry and “event” yourself to mediocrity.
Every event that you schedule as a part of your ministry to men should serve your overall vision. At the event, explicitly communicate to the men how this event fits in the larger context of your ministry and the vision of the church. Explain what you hope to accomplish and how it contributes to your overall goals. Use your slogan over and over to reinforce this vision.
Positive, Not Negative
Men want to respond to a challenge. They don’t want to be yelled at. Make sure you formulate a vision with a positive agenda about what God can do rather than a negative rebuke about how bad men are doing. Men don’t respond well to being talked down to. Use a positive approach to draw men toward the great calling God has given them rather than berating them to leave lesser things behind.
It would be impossible for us to overemphasize the importance of developing and sharing the vision for your men’s ministry. It is the single most important ingredient for creating the kind of environment in your church God uses to change men’s hearts.
Most men today feel bored and left out of their churches. They are just tapping their feet and wondering why.
Are yours? Why not call them to something great and see how God uses them to do mighty things in and through your church.
Big Idea: Use your vision to inspire men in your church to join a cause that literally means the difference between eternal life and death for millions of men and their families.