Welcome to our next Leadership Tip where we discuss some of the most pressing issues you will face as a leader of men in your church and community. Today, we are going to address how to lead men who do not want to be led.
What do you do when men have no interest in attending your men’s ministry activities?
Let me start by asking an uncomfortable question. Why don’t they want to attend? As a leader, the easy temptation is to answer this question by pointing out the obvious lack of spiritual commitment your men have or else they would be showing up. But let’s be honest – there are many reasons why men aren’t showing up and lack of spiritual commitment is only one of those reasons.
It’s easy to judge, but it’s more difficult to find out what is really going on.
For example – Is it possible the men have no interest in attending because they are too busy trying to apply what they already know about being a follower of Jesus? Of course, as a leader you might respond by suggesting how important it is for men to keep growing and you’re right. But we will come back to that.
It is also possible the men have no interest in attending because what you’re doing is simply not interesting enough for them to take time out of their schedule to attend your activity. Part of the reason I’m not a fan of a monthly men’s event is because it’s so easy to lose the spark of creativity that will keep things interesting for a guy. Maybe you have only one age demographic in your men’s ministry leadership team and what you’re planning is only interesting for guys like you. Maybe what you are doing is interesting but your promotion of it isn’t and so nobody is motivated to attend. Whatever you are doing needs a well rounded plan and strategy.
Always remember – you are there to serve the men and so discern how to best serve them while staying faithful to the mission of making disciples of Jesus.
There’s a third reason I have experienced where men don’t want to attend anymore and this one is the most significant opportunities for you as a leader. Many men don’t feel the need to attend anymore because they’ve learned everything you have to teach them. Don’t feel bad about this – this is not a negative. In fact, it is a positive that you could almost “graduate” some men out of your men’s ministry.
Here is the opportunity – instead of letting these men go, ask them to stay as coaches or mentors to other men.
When a men’s ministry is only for the consumer then you will have men rotate through. But you will keep some men engaged by giving them an opportunity to invest in the life of other men. This is an incredible gift for you as a leader, but it’s not something that naturally happens. Men will wait for you to ask them to do this so make it part of your leadership culture.
Discipleship is a journey that requires activity and pauses for reflection and application.
Your men’s ministry needs to give men space to jump in and jump out so they can accomplish these things in their life.
As the Bible teaches us – don’t grow weary in doing good because, in due season, you will reap if you don’t give up.
Men do need to keep growing, and they need you to keep reminding them of how important this is. But they also need you to provide different paths and rhythms to help them get there. It’s important for men to have access to both in person and online tools they can use depending on the season of life they are in.
In our Men’s Ministry Leadership Training and Coaching, you will learn how to create these paths and rhythms. I want to encourage you to access this training and to also connect with a Men’s Ministry Leader Network near you.
Discipleship is not only a journey, but it is a partnership.
Just because men are too busy to attend your men’s ministry activity does not mean you are unable to influence their lives. As a men’s ministry leader, understand that there are other ministries in your church that are influencing the lives of men. That’s good news! You don’t have to do this alone, but you are partners with others in ministry to reach and develop men. Take some time to encourage those who are leading other forms of ministry that are also helping to reach men. As a men’s ministry leader, send a text or note of encouragement to thank those leaders for all they are doing to help invest in men’s lives as well. The discipleship of men is not exclusively for the context of men’s ministry – it is an entire church initiative.
As you continue to invest in men’s lives, I want to encourage you to keep going. Not every man will come, but every man who does come is a man God wants you to invest in. Do it well. God bless you as you continue to serve Him and your men.