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Men’s manual takes sweat out of starting new outreach

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–In 1857, a Manhattan layman used sweat, stamina and sheer determination to start a spiritual revival among men that swept the country. Today, leaders at LifeWay Christian Resources want to make it a little easier for churches to develop a men’s ministry program.
That’s why they’ve compiled a how-to discipleship manual — “Drawing Men to God” — that provides a “biblically based model for reaching men and practical tools for starting and evaluating men’s ministry in a local church,” said Sid Woodruff, men’s ministry specialist at LifeWay.
“We want to assist churches in the development of a men’s ministry that meets men where they are spiritually and leads them to become fanatical in their love for Jesus Christ,” said Woodruff, who compiled the manual.
Quoting history from “What God Does When Men Pray” by Bill Peel, Woodruff said that in the mid-1800s church janitor Jeremiah Lamphier advertised a prayer meeting in Manhattan that drew six men. Fourteen men showed up the next week and 23 the week after. Eventually, after hard work by Lamphier, the prayer meeting grew into a full-fledged revival that endured until the end of the century.
“When the movement began to die down, some Baptist men acted to keep it going and in 1926 the Southern Baptist Brotherhood Commission was formed to fan the flames,” Woodruff said.
However, in the mid 1990s, the Brotherhood Commission was merged into the new North American Mission Board (NAMB), and messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention gave LifeWay the assignment for men’s ministry. Mission education and mobilization with men is a NAMB assignment, with the two agencies working cooperatively.
“When I started working at LifeWay in 1997, I got with men from all over the convention who shared the dream of developing a men’s ministry that would integrate evangelism, discipleship, ministry and missions,” Woodruff said. “We wanted to create a manual that would help churches give visionary leadership to men’s ministry.
“I believe God can use a mobilized army of praying men to bring about spiritual revival that is so desperately needed in America today.”
In Drawing Men to God, Woodruff writes that “a church of any size and location can have an effective men’s ministry if it follows several basic biblical guidelines.”
These are:
1) Partner with God, the pastor and other men and surround the ministry with prayer. “Connecting men to God, the pastor and one another is vital,” Woodruff writes.
2) Propose a written, biblically based purpose statement. “Search the Scriptures together,” he suggests, “to define the goal for your men’s ministry.”
3) Prepare leaders. “Healthy men’s ministries have a leader-training process and do not launch new ministries until they have godly leaders who are called and prepared to direct them,” Woodruff writes.
4) Plan a balanced ministry that meets needs and develops disciples. “This ensures that you understand your men’s needs and plan a course of action that helps them work and move together toward the goal.”
5) Provide multiple entry points and pursue participants through relationships. “Men have different interests, pressures, schedules, incomes and spiritual maturity. Draw men and keep them involved through common interests and relationships with each other.”
6) Promote times to celebrate God’s victories and to kick off new ministries together. “Throughout the Bible, God’s people prayed for one another and celebrated God’s victories together. Men’s ministries should do the same.”
Woodruff said four types of men can be integrated into a men’s ministry program. They are: 1) the lost who don’t know Christ; 2) those who have made a profession of faith but aren’t growing in the Lord; 3) the serving Christian or those men who have taken the next step toward spiritual discovery and growth; and 4) the go-to-the-world man or the guy who is comfortable evangelizing a lost world to Christ.
“The key to men’s ministry,” Woodruff said, “is to find out the purpose of the church and mobilize men to help carry out that purpose.”
To order Drawing Men to God at $12.95 (ISBN 0-7673-9077-6), call 1-800-458-2772 or e-mail customerservice.com.

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  • Terri Lackey