Wherever I go in the country – the world for that matter – I get the same question.
“What are men looking for in the church today?”
Sometimes it comes out as “What can we do to keep the men of this church?” Sometimes the question sounds like “How can our church reach more men? There is no easy answer to this issue but there are definitely some things I have learned about men over the years, and things we all can do to more effectively cultivate a ministry to men.
The overriding principle is simply this: The relationships you develop are more important than the events or programs you put on. A man is looking for an environment that is consistent with who he is as a man and a place where he feels comfortable belonging and becoming the man God wants him to be.
Men are looking for relevance
Most men in our society today do not see the value of going to church because it is not speaking their language and it is not addressing the issues they are facing. In general, we are answering the questions they are not asking, and not answering the questions they are asking, such as:
- What is true masculinity?
- What is success?
- What is male sexuality?
- What does a healthy marriage look like?
- How can I raise my children to be successful?
- How can I be a man of integrity in the workplace?
- How can I be a leader in the home, church, workplace and world?
- What is my purpose in life?
Here’s the application: take some time this week to sit down with another man in your sphere of influence and dig into the Bible to see what biblical manhood looks like. I suggest starting in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (in the NASB). How does Paul define what it means to “act like men”?
Men want to be involved in a cause greater then themselves
If I have learned one thing during my years of ministry to men, it’s that men want to be involved in something driven by a compelling vision. They want to be involved in something bigger and grander than themselves!
For example, when Steve Jobs was putting together his original team of engineers for Apple Computer his challenge to them was, “We are going to put a dent in the universe through the development of the personal computer.” I think most people would say, lofty as that challenge was, they have accomplished their goal; our world is a different place because of the personal computer.
Friends, Apple Computer’s goal is nothing compared to what the church is called to do. We have the mission of partnering with God to put a dent in the eternality of the cosmos. In fact, the church has the greatest and most far reaching mission in all of creation, and we should not be bashful about calling the men in our communities to join this adventure.
“Make no small plans for they have no ability to stir men’s blood.”
— Daniel Burman, chief architect after the Chicago fire
Men want a shot at greatness
Men want a shot at being great, at being successful. I have never met a man who wanted to be a failure or a loser. Men want to win. They want to be heroes on the journey God has called them on.
Here are two ways you can do that:
- Encourage Your Men in the Gospel – Men are beat up all day long and they need a good cheerleader (this is you!) When they take a step of faith, when they say “no” to sin, when they serve effectively—encourage them. When they screw up, when they fell weak, when they’re buying into lies – encourage them. I use email, newsletters, public messages or phone calls to cheer my men on and appreciate them.
- Give Them a Vision for What They Can Become – Most men do not know what “greatness” looks like in the eyes of God. They need a model or picture of it. On a regular basis we can paint that picture—discuss it, imagine it, make it concrete—and then release our men to fulfill that vision.
Here’s the application: Cheer on 5 different men in your sphere of influence this week. Encourage them with a verse, pray with them (virtually or in person), acknowledge their success. Just see what happens when the men in your community are energized by the message of Christ’s good news this week.