Connecting New Men to Your Church
We had the privilege of serving a church through one of our men’s events several years ago. They did a great job planning it and our faculty enjoyed getting to know the men there. Best of all, they prepared for the follow-up groups ahead of time, and before attendees left the event, they were in small groups! The process had a lasting positive impact on their ministry to men within the church.
The next year, they decided to use one of our events again, and again we were excited to work together. They had a passionate team in place for planning, they invited their men, prepared for small groups, and the event was a success for their ministry.
As we went through the comment cards, we gave thanks for all the ways God moved in the hearts of the men there!
But one thing gave us pause: it was the exact same men who had been there the previous year. Here’s why that matters.
The No Man Left Behind Model is designed to help you bring every willing man further and further along in his discipleship journey, whether he doesn’t yet know Christ or is a mature believer. We wholeheartedly believe that the local church is God’s Plan A for accomplishing this and so our ministry is committed to providing training, resources, and coaching to help you reach the men in your church.
But to truly embrace the mission “no man left behind,” we must bring new men into the church as well, connecting them—through relationship—to the life-changing power of the gospel.
Romans 10:14 reminds us: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”
As leaders, we can work toward building the most dynamic, inspiring, discipleship-based ministry to men, and forget that right outside our church doors, there are thousands of lost men who still need someone to tell them about Christ and disciple them.
Yes, we want to help the men in your church grow, but we would be remiss if we didn’t also want your church to grow in men!
Here’s the good news—the best resource for spurring this growth is already in place: it’s your existing men. If you were to ask Christians who are active in the life of the church how they first got connected, they will likely say that someone invited them.
How can you help the men in your church be outreach-oriented? After all, inviting someone to church or sharing one’s faith can be an intimidating prospect for guys. Often, the pressure comes from the false assumption that we must “close the deal” on someone else’s spiritual journey. We tend to be results driven and risk averse. But by giving your men a different mindset, you can alleviate this pressure.
Patrick Morley states it like this: “Evangelism is simply taking someone as far as they want to go toward Jesus.”
So how can you encourage the men inside your church to take men outside your church as far as they want to go toward Jesus? When they embrace the truth that they are only responsible to bring someone as far as they want to go toward Jesus, they are free to develop agenda-free, authentic relationships. Encourage your men to look for these opportunities and invest in these relationships. These connections will, at minimum, give an unbeliever a positive experience with a Christian, but they may also open the door to rich, meaningful conversations about life and faith.
It’s then your team’s job to provide opportunities that your men feel comfortable inviting these men to participate in. For example, few guys are going to invite their coworker to a 20-week study on the book of Exodus or to a short-term mission trip to Haiti. Those “next steps” just aren’t credible.
Instead, these opportunities should target what we call the “wide” side of the continuum. Usually these activities will center around a widely-held, practical need—such as a finance workshop or marriage event—or around an interest—such as a basketball night, cookout, or golf tournament. We call this giving men what they need (discipleship and relationship) in the context of what they want (practical help or fun).
This pressure-free approach to relationships and sharing their faith, combined with the right opportunities to get others involved, will make outreach easy and natural.
THE BIG IDEA: Make it easy for your men to suit up in the mission to see no man left behind.
Your men already want to be a part of something bigger than themselves; you can give them a compelling vision and an active role in building God’s kingdom.