What is missing from most men’s ministries? To sum it up, I would say “intentionalism”.
In literary theory, intentionalism is when you judge a piece of literature by the intent the author had for it. For example, when reading Shakespeare, you would ask, “What did Shakespeare intend for us to take away from this play?” The opposite of this approach is functionalism. Functionalism is when you take away whatever meaning you want from a play. Both have their place in works of art, but not when it comes to scripture. When we read scripture, we need to ask what God intended. When we read the words of Jesus, we need to ask what Jesus intended by those words.
For example, when you read the words of Jesus, you could ask, “What is it that Jesus wanted for His followers? What were the intentions of his teaching?” While there is plenty of debate, there is one theme that runs through much of Jesus’ teaching. It is the conclusion of His teaching in the Gospels:
Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.
Making disciples is the intent of Jesus’ teaching, and Evident Grace Fellowship wants to enable our men to do just that. For those reasons, we have reshaped the men’s ministry and are relaunching it on July 14th. Here is what to expect.
Where and When: The men will meet quarterly. Our first gathering will be at Gordon’s home (enter the basement through the back door) from 9am until 12pm. If you need directions, reach out to Gordon at [email protected] or call him at 919-412-8161.
Men, if you can’t make our first get together, but you would like to be a part of the intermeeting get togethers (explained below), just email Gordon at [email protected].
Sample Men’s Ministry Gathering
Gathering: 30 minutes
Purpose: Men rarely jump into intimacy or comfortability. This gathering time is a time where men can grab some food and coffee and catch up. Following this casual time, our leader/moderator will walk the men through checking in with high’s and low’s. This will serve a very similar function as the prior Bushiban structure.
Setting Purpose: 5 minutes
Purpose: Our leader/moderator will outline our expectations for each gathering as well as the resulting expectations to follow in the following months. Men are encouraged to meet these expectations.
Talk: 30 minutes
Purpose: Each gathering, our speaker will address a topic from a biblical perspective around one of four areas: faith, fitness, family, and finances. The message is intended to be fiercely biblical, gospel-rich, inherently challenging, and practically tangible to the Christian man status quo.
Sample Topic: What’s at stake when we are financially unfaithful. In this, there would be a talk surrounding several key passages about financial obedience. For example, I have used this outline (not my own) before:
The Responsibility for Planning: Without planning based on biblical values, goals, and priorities, money becomes a hard taskmaster and, like a leaf caught up in a whirlwind, we get swept into the world’s pursuit of earthly treasures (Luke 12:13-23; 1 Tim. 6:6-10).
Financial planning is biblical and is a means to good stewardship, to freedom from the god of materialism, and a means of protection against the waste of the resources God has entrusted to our care (Prov. 27:23-24; Luke 14:28; 1 Cor. 14:40).
Financial planning should be done in dependence on God’s direction and in faith while we rest in Him for security and happiness rather than in our own strategies (Prov. 16:1-4, 9; Psalm 37:1-10; 1 Tim. 6:17; Phil. 4:19).
The Responsibility for Discipline: If our financial planning is to work, it will require discipline and commitment so our plans are translated into actions. We must follow through on our good intentions (Prov. 14:23). Financial faithfulness is an important aspect of complete, well-rounded spiritual growth and godliness (2 Cor. 8:7). But godliness requires discipline (cf. 1 Tim. 4:8; 6:3-8).
Good intentions are useless without plans that translate them into actions. The Corinthians had indicated their desire and willingness to give and had even been instructed on planned giving (1 Cor. 16:1-2), yet they had failed to follow through on their good intentions (2 Cor. 8:10-11).
The Responsibility for Stewardship: Financial faithfulness ultimately flows out of the recognition that everything we are and have belongs to the Lord (1 Chron. 29:11-16; Rom. 14:7-9; 1 Cor. 6:19-20). Life is a temporary sojourn in which Christians are to see themselves as aliens, temporary residents, who are here as stewards of God’s manifold grace. All we are and have—our talents, time, and treasures—are trusts given to us by God which we are to invest for God’s kingdom and glory (1 Pet. 1:17; 2:11; 4:10-11; Luke 19:11-26).
The Responsibility for Working: One of God’s basic ways to provide for our needs is through work—an occupation through which we earn a living so we can provide for ourselves and our families (2 Thess. 3:6-12; Prov. 25:27).
The money we earn is also to be used as a means of supporting God’s work and helping those in need, first in God’s family and then for those outside the household of faith (Gal. 6:6-10; Eph. 4:28; 3 John 5-8).
Guided Group Questions: 10-15 minutes
Purpose: Refining any loose thoughts remaining from the talk as well as guiding the men towards breaking up into one on one conversations. This should be prepared ahead of time while also making room for organic follow ups. The speaker will provide a list of questions for the breakouts. These questions should be talk specific and also personally applicable. There should also be guided prayer topics.
Breakouts: 30-45 minutes
Purpose: Diving deeper into the talk while also establishing a relationship between the two men. Note: if there is an odd number of men, the leader/moderator evens that number out. The leader/moderator determines these groups of two.
Expectations: These men will open their time in prayer. If they don’t know each other, they will spend a few minutes getting to know each other. If they do know each other, they will catch up. After a few minutes, they will work through the questions with each other. Finally, the men pray together and establish their get together times and places. It is greatly encouraged to leave that meeting with the next get together on the books.
Conclusion: 5 minutes
Purpose: To bring the men back together, thank the host, and remind the men of their commitment before the next meeting.
Purpose: To deepen relationships among the men in the church while growing them in their relationships with Christ.
Expectations: The men will meet 3-6 times between men’s quarterly meetings. The encouragement is to meet at least every other week. These groups of two will officially end at the next men’s gathering, but they can of course continue if desired.