Consider this question:
When men and women think of the men’s ministry of your church, what comes to their mind?
The answer to this question will help you understand if any particular event is building a tradition. It could be anything depending on the size, demographic and culture of your church. When an event develops a tradition, men and their families put it on their calendar before the marketing begins! This is a critical factor in your men’s ministry turning the corner to long lasting fruitfulness. Some examples of traditions might include:
1. An annual men’s retreat. Fall retreats are great but I know of one church that has a winter ski retreat for men from Sunday to Wednesday. They rent out a beautiful chalet, hire out a wonderful chef, bring in a quality speaker and go skiing every day!
2. Sportsmen Dinner. This will draw men from inside and outside the church. Men bring wild game to grill, eat together, make noises together and hear from a celebrity sportsmen.
3. Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conferences. These Northeast conferences have become the feature event each year for many churches. Men’s ministry leaders develop a game plan to build up to the one-day men’s conference, maximize the entire conference experience, then capture the momentum that the conference brings to the men and to the men’s ministry.
4. Weekly Morning Meeting. Men’s Fraternity is an example of a local church based resource that helps churches move men systematically through a men’s curriculum. There are also gatherings of men like the New Canaan Society in Connecticut and TGIW in Missouri that bring men together from multiple churches each week for breakfast and a speaker.
5. Semi-Annual Thrusts. Some churches want more than an annual retreat and have had success at four week and six week thrusts. These ministry thrusts allow a church to tackle one theme for several weeks. These short term thrusts also have a clear ending point.
6. Service Ministry. Several churches in Colorado, California and New Hampshire have begun a team based ministry to single moms and widows. Men serve those in need but also develop meaningful relationships with a team of like minded brothers in Christ.
7. Small Groups. Churches all over the country have developed a variety of effective small group ministries for men using a variety of resources. These weekly groups of 4-7 men will meet together for a year or two before birthing another small group of men.
8. Monthly Men’s Night. First Monday began at Grace Chapel in Massachusetts a number of years ago and has reproduced itself many times over across the Northeast. Men come out for dinner and then hear from a speaker who will address them along the theme for the year. First Monday makes it easy to remember the date!
Traditions can be weekly, monthly or once a year. What they are sure to be are memorable!
Your ministry to men needs variety – but never at the expense of building a tradition.
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