RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–No matter how hard men’s ministry leaders wish, they cannot produce a church full of God-fearing, God-loving men by just snapping their fingers, two leaders said. They must have a strategy.
“One of the most important parts of your men’s ministry strategy is finding ways to attract men to your group,” said Mel Cornillaud, director of men’s ministry for Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport, N.C. “You have to establish entry points into your program.”
Cornillaud, along with Danny Singleton, minister of pastoral care and men’s ministry for First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga., led several sessions of a men’s ministry track during Discipleship and Family Week at LifeWay Ridgecrest (N.C.) Conference Center, June 29-July 5.
In a session on “Developing a Strategy for Men’s Ministry: Providing Multiple Entry Points,” Cornillaud and Singleton, representing small and large churches, respectively, gave workshop participants ideas about how to get men to join the ministry and mission of the church — and keep them there.
“A lot of people say, ‘Our men’s group is stagnant. It’s the same guys, the same stuff all the time, and we want to attract more men, perhaps younger men, to our group,'” Cornillaud said. “Sometimes, what churches have is a men’s club and they’re not getting men involved in ministry and missions outside the church.”
One of the most important reasons to have a men’s ministry group “is that men want their lives to be productive, to have meaning and purpose,” Cornillaud said. “Men represent a tremendous, greatly untapped resource to assist the church in changing and influencing our world for Christ.”
A balanced men’s ministry represents four biblical mandates, he said:
— evangelizing men to salvation and church membership.
— establishing men to spiritual maturity.
— equipping men for ministry.
— extending men on mission.
“Men, regardless of what they tell you, want to be in the game,” Cornillaud said. “And a men’s ministry gives them a way to develop God’s way.”
According to statistics, he said, if a man is the first in his family to accept Christ, 93 percent of his family members will follow his example.
“If we are going to change the families, the church and the world, we’ve got to start with our men. If we bring men into the fellowship of believers, 93 percent will follow.”
Men’s ministry leaders have to be inventive and imaginative in bringing men into their group, Cornillaud said.
“Men have interests that may not include attending your church at first, but may include fishing or golf or construction or volunteerism.”
Some of the ways Cornillaud gets men into his group include:
— monthly nine-hole golf scramble and fellowship
— annual pier fishing tournament and fish fry
— Super Bowl party with halftime testimonies
— witnessing seminars
— two by two home visitations
— Monday night Bible study
— annual Promise Keeper conference
— small groups for prayer and/or accountability
— active men’s ministries, such as handyman team, disaster relief/recovery, Habitat for Humanity, county jail ministry, youth boot camp, state prison ministry
— mission trips to other countries
— father/son campouts and father/daughter banquets
— wild game dinners
— garden ministry
Meanwhile, Singleton said providing multiple entry points for guys to join his men’s ministry program is his passion, but keeping them there, and integrating them into the ministry of the church is even better.
“The challenge is taking a guy and putting him into well-balanced ministry. Entry points is a monstrous concept in our church, but we have to have a strategy for moving someone from uncommitted to fully devoted.”
Singleton has developed a model where, ideally, men who join a men’s ministry program eventually feel a sense of brotherhood with others in the group. In his model, Singleton moves men from isolation, to gathered, to experiencing, to revealing, to belonging, and finally to brotherhood.
“Some men feel isolated. They may be lost or disengaged or disenfranchised, hurt, angry with God or with the church or just immature,” he said.
When they are asked to join an event, they wonder what they must invest, Singleton said.
“They ask, ‘What do you want from me?’ But we don’t want anything from them, we want something for them.”
Once a man is gathered into group through an event, such as golfing, fishing or a seminar, Singleton said the man begins wondering, “OK, I’m here, but what’s this all about?”
“It’s hard for them to embrace the truth that we don’t want anything from them because they live in a carnal world where everybody wants something from them,” he said.
The next step in Singleton’s model is experiencing. “He’s … asking, ‘What’s this all about?’ Every time there is an event, there should be an experiencing God moment. So that now, he’s saying, ‘Wow, did you see that or hear that?’ That speaker was in my face challenging me about sexual morality.'”
Next, the man moves to revealing. “He tells things to another man or a group of men he’s never told anyone else,” Singleton said. “He’s letting you into his life, and now you’re a steward of his vulnerable heart. Now you have to disciple him in love, not butcher him with the Bible.”
As he moves up the stairs of spiritual progression, Singleton said the next step is belonging.
“He doesn’t ask questions anymore, he makes statements. Now all the sudden, he belongs.”
And the final step, Singleton said, is brotherhood.
“In 1988, I was isolated,” Singleton said. “And somebody brought be to a gathering. I didn’t jump from isolation to brotherhood. Somebody helped me along this progression. In everything we do, we have to have a mindset to take our brothers along this spiritual growth continuum.
“And that happens because we are intentional, because we have a strategy,” he said.
Discipleship and Family Week at LifeWay Ridgecrest (N.C.) Conference Center and LifeWay Glorieta (N.M.) Conference Center are sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.