Last weekend I started a three part series on Discipling Men in Small Groups. If you missed Part 1, I encourage you to read it right here.
In Part 2 are Seven Initial Necessities for Getting and Keeping Men involved in our small groups (derived from Rick Howerton’s original list of six, here. )
If you have a heart for men and a concern for the strength of our families, churches and modern Christianity in general, consider how you might implement these steps with the men of your small group.
Seven Necessities for Getting and Keeping Men in Small Groups
1. When listing the goals of a small group never use the term “intimacy.” This will make most men cringe, and run!
2. When working on a group covenant/agreement together, make certain the men in the group are engaged in the conversation. They may remain silent for a while, but they need ownership of the covenant in order to commit to it. So, engage them. Ask for their input; what they like or dislike about this agreement and commitment. They will only sense ownership if they are given the right to push back. And when they do, they will be pleased to commit to something worthwhile.
3. Give the men in the group more time than the females in the group to begin revealing who they really are. Men are apt to talk in facts and clichés for a long period of time before ever giving an opinion about a biblical passage or unveiling what’s going on in their personal lives. Don’t rush it. If you want to speed up the process, subgroup into two groups – a men’s subgroup and a women’s subgroup. Men are more open to talking about their life situations, struggles, and sins when women aren’t listening in.
4. When deciding on social experiences suggest things the men in the group get excited about. Go camping, fishing, hunting, paintballing, to a ballgame, etc… When a group leader suggests experiences like these the men in the group subconsciously recognize this group is going to work for them.
5. Cast a missional vision that makes a real difference in the world. When we make community the supreme purpose of small groups, it leaves men wanting, we rarely get it anyway, and we almost never make an impact on the world. But, when we champion accomplishing a mission together, men are invigorated by the challenge, the group impacts the world, and the entire group experiences true Christian community like never before.
6. Take pleasure in sarcasm and laughter. We men are notorious for turning a meeting into a brawl, harassing one another and laughing at one another. Don’t let this get out of hand but don’t demand the environment of a wake either. If you give men freedom to laugh and tease early in the meeting they will seldom be angry or disappointed if you ask them to calm it down during the Bible study and prayer times.
7. Unless everyone is in agreement, don’t demand homework from group members or that they read a book. Few men are readers and even fewer are willing to do homework. This will be possible in time but not as the group first starts meeting together.
Are you on the right path toward fully engaging the men of your group?
Please notice that these seven “necessities” do not suggest or imply a lack of commitment, winning them with entertainment, or cheapening the value of the church family. Much the opposite, men long to commit to something meaningful and bigger than themselves. And, you, the small group leader and shepherd of biblical truth and community, offer just that opportunity!
In the next post, Part 3 of this series, we will get into the specifics of discipling men.
Blessings on your homes,
P.S. We have scheduled a LARGE Men’s Breakfast on Saturday morning, 4/2/11, 8:30-10:00AM. Pastor David Pritchard will be speaking on the future of Men’s Ministry at LCCC. *The ladies will be away at the Women’s Retreat. There WILL be free childcare offered at the church!