Last year’s speaker for MMR 2017 was Dr. Jeff Iorg. He has a book titled, The Case for Antioch: A Biblical Model for a Transformational Church. The main goal of the book is to encourage churches with a case study of the church in Antioch, a place where Christian churches saw many significant firsts, and from this study to learn how to be transformational in our own churches.
I bring up his book in the context of this blog because he states that to grow a healthy, transformational church you need to emphasize reaching men.
Dr. Iorg gives five suggestions.
- Design worship services and church activities with men in mind. Dr. Iorg suggests having specific representative people in mind and when designing the service. Thinking of the representative individual ask, would this person like this, be attracted to this, or be challenged and grown by this. You probably want a teenager as one of these representatives, maybe a mom, in our church you would absolutely need a senior adult. But in every setting have a representative man included in this group. Pick a man’s man. A man who looks like the men you need to reach.
- Train men to lead in public settings. You should start with the little stuff, things like having them lead a prayer in service, or having them help with the offering. If they never start on these small tasks you can be pretty confident they will never go further to teach a class, lead a ministry or mentor a newer believer in their walk.
- Create a process where men train men. Whether instruction in basic Christianity like spiritual disciplines, or tougher tasks such as church conflict resolution, men learn better from men. I know someone out there will start screaming sexism or believe this is just more evidence that masculinity is broken, but I believe it is a part of God’s design. But either way you will get better results if you realize it and work with it than ignore it.
- Develop some ministries that are just for men. Be careful on this point because in some people’s minds, things of interest to men must include things contrary to Christian behavior. There are a multitude of recreational pursuits which are of special interest to men, so find one that fits your men. I would of course suggest attending MMR2018. It is a great time of fellowship, food, recreation, and more that is designed for men. Recognizing the need for these events is why we started this retreat.
- Design ministries for men to impact boys. Begin the training for Biblical manhood while the young men are preteen or even younger. The world is already training them to be worldly men, so don’t delay is showing them better alternative.
Drawn from the book The Case for Antioch described above, in the chapter titled Leaders and Followers. In my edition, the section on men is on pages 151-156.