How to Start Men’s Ministry in 5 Steps
If you want to know how to start men’s ministry, this is for you! Based on our experience with thousands of churches, here are 5 steps to start—or restart—your men’s discipleship program out on the right foot and get guys moving.
By the Man in the Mirror Team
Among the many worthy initiatives of the local church, there is always a strong, compelling case for men’s ministry to be made. Why? When men are transformed by discipleship, everything around them is impacted, including marriages, families, and communities. The ripple effect of a man living out the gospel is experienced by every person he encounters. That’s why it’s so important that churches get this right!
We recognize that when it comes to reaching men, not everyone’s starting point looks the same, and not everyone’s path will be a straight line. But no matter where your church is with its men’s discipleship efforts, if you’re wondering how to start men’s ministry, we can help!
Here are 5 steps that have proven effective for many churches in building a ministry to men that lasts.
1) A Men’s Ministry Leader
First, it’s critical for your church to appoint a passionate leader to oversee men’s discipleship. This could be a pastor, staff member, or lay leader. If it’s you, then congratulations; you’ve finished Step 1!
If not, what are the qualities you want in your point man? Most importantly, he should be firm in his faith and actively engaged in spiritual growth. He should exemplify biblical character.
He should have a desire to “go and make” disciples of men, versus taking the “wait and see” approach that we can unintentionally adopt due to competing priorities and needs. A vision for what God can do in and through the men of the church should drive him.
He needs to have time available to give this his attention. He doesn’t need to be the most popular guy in the church, but he should be well respected among the men there and able to motivate and energize others.
Once you’ve identified this person—or perhaps you’re filling this role—it’s time to share your vision and interest with the senior pastor.The men's leader doesn’t need to be the most popular guy in the church, but he should be well respected among the men there and able to motivate and energize others.Click To Tweet
2) A Blessing from the Pastor
Undoubtedly, your pastor also has a burden and vision for the men of the church to become disciples of Jesus Christ; it’s why your pastor felt called to pastoral ministry in the first place! Have you asked what your pastor’s hope is for the men of the church? Request a meeting where you can ask, listen, and then share.
When you meet, don’t criticize past men’s ministry efforts or place blame, and don’t put the responsibility for new efforts on the pastor’s shoulders. Rather, your job is to communicate how you hope to come alongside them and support their vision and calling through your role in leading the men’s discipleship efforts.
If you need help connecting with your pastor, here are some great tips.
Our research shows that while having the pastor’s support is good, having their enthusiastic support is even better. To create enthusiasm, share your vision, your “wins,” and your stories with the pastor regularly. Of course, the best is having their involvement. Not every pastor will have the margin to be directly involved, but if your pastor takes a personal interest in the process and health of your men’s ministry, you have a huge head start.
3) A Leadership Team
Once you have the key leader in place and the support of the pastor, the next step is to build a committed leadership team. However, this doesn’t happen overnight! The level of commitment will usually increase after some time and shared experiences.
In the beginning, don’t invite men to join your leadership team. Instead, invite them to attend one information meeting. Keep the meeting short—approximately one hour in length—and at a time that is convenient for most men.
Pray about whom God would have you invite to the meeting. Don’t base it on how busy they might already be, or whether or not you think they would be interested. Instead, focus on men who have a heart for God and for reaching others.
“… and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2
Something else to consider is what you want your men’s ministry to look like. It will often reflect your leadership team. In other words, if you want to reach guys of all ages, your leadership team needs to have leaders from different generations. If you want to reach men of different ethnic or racial backgrounds, your leadership team needs to be ethnically or racially diverse. You may even want to invite some guys at different places on their spiritual journey to be involved in leadership in order to reach men at various levels of spiritual maturity.
Aim to create a list of about a dozen men to invite. If possible, invite them face to face. If that’s not possible, the next best option is a personal phone call. An email or text message should be the last resort. They won’t all say yes, and that’s okay. But do follow up until you receive a yes or no.
The introductory meeting is an opportunity to share your vision for what God can do through and in the men of the church, and invite them to get involved for a short, pre-determined length of time, such as 8-12 weeks. (They can evaluate if they want to continue on the team after that point.)
Before you meet, consider this: In the church, we have often cheated men by hiding the incredible adventure of changing the world through Christ behind boring bulletin announcements. When you’re inviting a man to consider leadership, start with a powerful vision and a big challenge!In the church, we have often cheated men by hiding the incredible adventure of changing the world through Christ behind boring bulletin announcements. Click To Tweet
4) The Ministry Launch
If you’ve ever seen the launch of the space shuttle or a rocket, you know it takes a tremendous amount of energy to put such an enormous, stationary object into motion. The same is true for overcoming spiritual inertia among the men in your church.
Because you’re just starting men’s ministry—or restarting it—the challenge for your team will be getting guys who may be spiritually stationary out of their comfortable patterns and engaged.
But discipleship is a spiritual journey, and as the saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” So how do you get men to take that first step—or for some, the next step?
You have to offer them something they find valuable. Tired men need to believe that getting involved will be worth the effort. Busy men need to believe that of all the opportunities clamoring for their time, the one you are offering them is top notch. In short, show them the value of getting engaged.
Discuss as a team, “What types of men are we trying to reach?” and “What kinds of things will interest them?” Then, based on those answers, plan an event or fun group activity as your official launch. Anything that helps a man overcome his spiritual—and relational—inertia is a success!
Don’t neglect the single most important part of your launch: Although we love the movie Field of Dreams, when it comes to men’s ministry, “If you build it, they will come,” is a prescription for failure. Replace it with, “If you personally invite them, they will come!”When it comes to men’s ministry, “If you build it, they will come,” is a prescription for failure. Replace it with, “If you personally invite them, they will come!'Click To Tweet
5) Spiritual Growth
If you’ve been hanging around us for a while, you know we don’t EVER want you doing any kind of event or activity without offering men a next step—and not just any next step, but the right one. We call this “capturing the momentum,” and it fuels spiritual growth in your ministry. What is the right next step for the men you engaged?
We recommend you follow up your launch activity with a short-term, heart-oriented study. Your ultimate goal is making disciples who love Jesus, and we believe that’s best done within the context of intentional, spiritual friendships so include plenty of time for discussion and connection among men in small groups.
Add in opportunities for them to experience and enjoy things together along the way, as well as share their stories.
THE BIG IDEA: Making disciples who love Jesus and share deep, spiritual friendships is the ultimate goal of men’s ministry.
BONUS! A Men’s Ministry Jumpstart
We’re grateful that God has placed the desire in your heart to reach men, and if you were wondering how to start men’s ministry, we hope this article has provided you with a plan!
But some leaders we work with want to go one step further; they want a plan to jumpstart their men’s ministry. They want to know, in detail, exactly what to do to accomplish these five steps, and they want to start discipling men right away.
We designed GO: Jumpstart Your Ministry to Men to help your church RECRUIT new leaders and cast vision, PLAN a simple event to LAUNCH your men’s ministry, ENGAGE men in small groups with provided curriculum, and CONNECT them to long-term growth opportunities.
In the words of Patrick Morley:
“The GO Box is a men’s discipleship action plan designed to give you a quick win—a strategic way to engage your men that you can implement right away. It condenses the very best of the Bible-based principles in our highly acclaimed No Man Left Behind Model, the backbone of our leadership training.
“GO promises to jumpstart a new level of intensity and intentionality for men’s discipleship in your church. On behalf of the entire Man in the Mirror team, we are thrilled to co-labor with you for your church, your men, and their families—for the glory of Jesus Christ.”
You can learn more about this resource on our website. We hope it will be a game changer for your church, as it has been for others.