“Men’s Ministry isn’t part of the vision of our church. We have other priorities.”
You are not alone if you have heard this kind of comment from your pastor or church leaders.
Some churches are outright against men’s ministry, and others simply allow it to exist but never promote or celebrate the ministry. Whether blatant or subtle, what do you do when your church doesn’t want to do men’s ministry?
I will call out the elephant in the room up front: Yes, I am a pastor writing this article, so you may think I already have a bias. But it is important for you to know that I was just a guy sitting in the crowd each Sunday for most of my career. I’ve experienced similar challenges and have interacted with probably thousands of other men who are frustrated with their church and its lack of men’s ministry.
Change Your Definition
Most of the frustration men have about their church not wanting to do men’s ministry is rooted in a poor definition of what men’s ministry is. For many, men’s ministry is a men’s program. You want certain events, small groups, work projects, etc. Programs are not the same as ministry. Programs are a means to do ministry, but they are certainly not the only means. Ministry happens when you love people and point people to Jesus.
Every place where you find a man is an opportunity for men’s ministry.
Are men allowed to serve in your church? Are men in small groups (even if they are groups for men and women)? All these places are opportunities for men’s ministry. When you look at “ministry” instead of “program,” there is probably more men’s ministry happening in your church than you realize.
Spend Time Understanding
Your pastors and church leaders sincerely want to help people. If you don’t believe that, then you need to spend some time hearing their heart. Your church has limitations and cannot do every program, but I am sure they have thought about how the church can best help people. Spend some time trying to understand how the church is taking steps to disciple people and why they chose this strategy.
Pray for your pastor and church leaders to have God’s wisdom to know what is best for the church, and then behave like you believe God is answering your prayers even if you don’t agree with every decision.
If you are reading this article, I will assume you are either a frustrated man looking for a men’s program or a frustrated leader who wants to lead a men’s ministry.
To every man frustrated because your church isn’t providing a men’s program, I would say this: stop complaining and spend more energy looking for opportunities to become like Jesus. The apostle Paul once told Timothy, “Train yourself for godliness.” (1Timothy 4:7). Stop waiting for the church to cater to your desires and take ownership of your faith journey. You don’t need to be in a man-specific program to grow as a disciple of Jesus. Look around your church and get connected with men in other ways.
To every leader frustrated because you want your church to support you in leading a men’s ministry, I would say this: look in the mirror. I am saying this in love: you might be the reason your church doesn’t want a men’s ministry. Your church leaders may see some character or spiritual maturity issues that are a concern. The problem may not be your pastor but your spiritual health. Look in the mirror and take steps to become more like Christ yourself.
Start to Minister to Men
Stop waiting for a program to be set up, and start ministering to men. Here are some practical ways you can do this:
- Go out for coffee with some guys. Ask this question: “How can I pray for you?” Listen and then pray for them.
- Get a list of men and regularly text them to check on their life and faith.
- Start serving at church with some men. This puts you in a place where you are on a mission together and allows you to build a relationship with them.
- Join or lead a small group in your church and intentionally get to know the men and invest in their lives.
- Find hobbies that you share with other men. There are many places for you to connect with men – including men who are not yet believers and need someone like you to introduce them to Jesus. Go to these places and get involved.
In most cases, there are good reasons why your church doesn’t want to do a men’s ministry program, but it does not mean your church is against men’s ministry. Reframe your perspective and take steps to fulfill the mission God has called you to accomplish in helping men follow Jesus.