If you drive down the street in most cities, it feels like life is getting back to normal when you see the number of people out shopping and exploring. But church life is far from back to normal, and there is no definitive answer to when or if “normal” will happen again. If your church has been able to relaunch Sunday morning worship services, you have probably noticed a much smaller number of people gathered than before COVID. How can you develop a men’s ministry plan for this new reality? Should you?
Yes, You Should Have a Plan
Yes, you should absolutely have a plan for your men’s ministry. The rest of society is adjusting to the impact of COVID, and so should we. Your men need to stay close to Jesus so they can love and lead their families well, and so they can have a greater impact in their workplace.
There are some basic assumptions I am going to make in this article:
- Some men and their families will be ready to return to in-person worship gatherings this fall, but a large number will not.
- Men have varying degrees of comfort when it comes to in-person gatherings (and the rules that go with them) or using digital tools at their disposal.
- Men have varying degrees of availability because of the current demands of work and family for many of them.
- You have access to a list of men who have been part of your church community and how to contact them. If you do not, then you should start to build that list right now.
- Our goal is not to make men busier, but to help men become more like Jesus. We do not need men spending a ton of time in men’s ministry activities. We need more men living like God designed them to at home, work, church, and in the community.
- Make sure you have a Leadership Team in place and trained. One man trying to do this on his own will struggle (and is also not really biblical). Check out our Men’s Ministry Leadership Training options to help you do this.
- Be prepared to develop both an in-person plan and a digital plan.
- Meet as a Leadership Team to begin to pray for the men in your church.
Elements of Discipleship
- Daily Training. If a man wants to train himself for godliness, he needs to have a daily connection with God.
- Ignite a man’s heart. Everything starts with what is in our hearts. You need to have intentional efforts to speak to the heart of a man and help him come alive about what it means to be a man of God.
- Equip his mind. The Bible says we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. In order to be different, we need to learn to think differently. You need intentional efforts to help men think differently.
- Engage his hands. The Christian faith involves action and practicing what we have learned. We are designed to be people who bear fruit with our lives, and discipleship means getting men doing something that will shape their life to be more like Jesus.
- Give him space to process. Men need time and space to process what they are being taught. Discipleship is a marathon and not a sprint. The best way to process is to be relationally connected with other men so that iron can sharpen iron.
A Suggested Framework / Plan
1. Establish a regular communication plan to your men
- Using your database list, create an email and social media plan to keep men informed of what is happening. I would suggest this be sent out once a month.
- For significant activities you plan, there should be a phone plan to contact men and remind them a few days to a week before your significant activity.
2. Daily Training
- Create a list of resources your men should access to help them stay connected with God’s word on a regular basis. Communicate this challenge and list to men in every single monthly communication you have. Here are a few ideas:
- The Bible App has great devotionals for men from a wide variety of sources
- Sign up for the Promise Keepers Canada / Impactus daily devotional for men
- Encourage men to bookmark www.Impactus.org and come back to it daily for new teaching on a wide variety of men’s issues.
3. Ignite a Man’s Heart
- Plan a men’s event that will speak to men’s hearts. In our Leadership Training, we recommend several different types of events for in-person gatherings. For the purposes of this article, I am going to share a couple of ideas to do this digitally.
- Send your men a video clip or a full sermon that is designed to challenge or encourage them as men.
- Invite your men to attend a Live, Online Event. Promise Keepers Canada / Impactus will have two of these events scheduled for the fall of 2020. They will be no more than one hour in length and can be viewed live or at a time that works for your men after the live event.
- If you set a time where everyone is viewing the video at the same time, then plan for a 30-minute Zoom conversation immediately after in order to give men some space to process what they have heard. Ask them to identify one goal for their own life as a result.
4. Equip his mind.
- Plan a men’s event that will equip men in a specific area of life. This will require a little more intentionality and commitment from the men. Our Leadership Training provides ideas for in-person equipping events. Here are a couple of ideas to do this digitally.
- Plan a Zoom workshop one night. Ask the men to commit 2 hours one night where they can be trained in a specific area of life. Zoom is a great tool because it has the ability for breakout rooms where the men can interact virtually.
- Host a Facebook group. If it is difficult to get men into one place at one time, then consider how a Facebook group could be used. Facebook allows you to have Live Video at times but also allows men to come and go on their own schedule and pace. They can interact, or the quiet types can simply observe and learn from others.NOTE: Promise Keepers Canada | Impactus has the ability to provide workshops for your men via Zoom. We also provide a workshop via the Facebook group method each month. You could sign up the men from your church for this group and “attend” together.
5. Engage his hands.
- This one might be more challenging in the age of COVID and the restrictions we are facing. The big idea is to have an event of some kind where men are either serving others or getting men to reach other men who do not know Jesus.
- Partner with your church to identify needs in your community and have a serve day for the men.
- Backyard BBQ challenge. Men sign up to cook their favourite meat or meal via BBQ, and other men travel in a smaller “circle” together to visit and taste-test the food. (This all depends on COVID restrictions in your community). Have a final gathering where all the men come together (physically distanced) and enjoy a dessert while hearing a man share his testimony. Men should be challenged to bring non-Christian men with them to this.
- Share a Video Challenge. Find a video of someone’s testimony and challenge men to share it with others who are not believers. Whoever shares the most wins a prize. Then, have those same men invite those same people to an online Alpha course (or some other type of course you can use to introduce people to Jesus). Promise Keepers Canada | Impactus has some great testimony videos to share from This Is Me TV.
6. Give him space to process.
- Following each event, plan some type of 4 to 6 week follow up for the men to process what they have learned. Use this as an opportunity to connect men with longer term groups your church may already have.
- For example, following the Hands event, you may want to run an online Alpha program. Following a Zoom workshop where you equip men’s minds, you may want to continue the conversation on that topic for the next 4 to 6 weeks with additional Zoom meetings.
- Each week, ask men to set one goal for themselves that they can begin to build over the coming week. Ask them how they did in achieving their goal the following week.
- Utilize different platforms for your groups:
- In-person groups that are practicing physical distancing
- Meeting via Zoom
- Conference calls for those who do not have the technology for Zoom
Pick the Right Issues:
One of the keys to success in this plan is to make sure you select the right topics and issues to address for men during this season. There are normal issues all men need to work on in all seasons of life, but COVID has raised other issues to the surface. You know the realities your men are facing right now, but here are some issues I can see:
- What is in men’s hearts: Our view of success, the need for control, fear, anxiety, lust
- Equipping men: marriage issues, spiritual leadership as a dad, time, priorities, money, depression, anger
- Engaging his hands: seizing the opportunity for spiritual conversations in a world asking questions, getting out of the comfort of staying home in order to serve others in need
- Develop regular communication to challenge and resource your men for daily spiritual training
- Plan at least 3 key events for your men during the year focusing on one of the heart – head – hands of discipleship.
- Provide follow up and space to process in the company of other men following each event. Some men may not attend an event and only attend your groups. That is fine too!
- If you would like help developing your men’s ministry or a better understanding of how to execute this plan, check our Free Leadership Training 101 course with 1 hour of consultation.
The goal is a regular deposit into men’s lives to keep them pointed in the right direction.