1. Relationships – Proverbs 27:17 – “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” –Men grow spiritually through relationships with men in whom they can trust and become authentic with, thus making true and reproducing disciples.
2. Influence – Salt and Light –Matthew 5:13-14 –Men are the ultimate influencers.
3. Intentionality – Becoming and Winning –1 Corinthians 9:19-22 –Men must intentionally place themselves in environments where lost men hang out, building trust and then winning them to Christ.
Men today are looking for a “safe place” to experience community with other men and thus develop authentic relationships that are meaningful and lasting. This becomes the incubator for Kingdom Growth. We call it creating a “hunt club” atmosphere in the local church. Most churches do not offer this environment for men; therefore, men in the church stagnate in their spiritual development. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Prov. 27:17). This is the principle, and the local church must provide that non-threatening environment for this “sharpening” to happen. The traditional coed Sunday School class is a prime example of what generally happens to most men. They show up with coat and tie and sit in a room with other men and women they hardly know, expecting more Bible knowledge to transform them. The men generally never open up and express their true feelings. The presence of women in that environment makes most men very uncomfortable, especially when deep relational or spiritual topics are discussed. Therefore, one critical aspect for establishing a life-changing men’s ministry is to have a non-threatening, safe place where men can hang out together and be themselves. This builds trust, friendship, community, and a family atmosphere where men can bond and grow together as spiritual leaders.
Men need to realize and accept the fact that God has created them to be more like roaring lions rather than meek little lambs. Remember, Jesus was described as both. What the church in the past has attempted to do is try to transform men to be more like little lambs, and thus, the mark of a good Christian man in the local church is just being a “real nice guy” (Wild at Heart by John Eldridge). Robert Lewis, in Men’s Fraternity, calls him the “feminized man.” In South Carolina, we are creating a vision that empowers men to involve themselves in Kingdom Growth in two ways: 1) by building authentic relationships with other men and becoming a “band of brothers,” fighting together against the kingdom of darkness (Prov. 27:17), and 2) intentionally building relationships with lost men for the purpose of pointing them to Jesus (1 Cor. 9:19-22). Many men today are waking up to the fact that God can use them to reach their hunting buddies, their fishing buddies, and their golfing buddies for Christ. They are beginning to engage themselves in “lion” kinds of activities such as “Wild Game Suppers,” bass tournaments, skeet shooting competitions, and golfing excursions – just to name a few. We attempt to encourage and challenge men to intentionally find a group of men with whom they can get involved and become a missionary in that group, such as joining a deer hunting club for the purpose of being “salt and light” in and among those men.
When Jesus said: “You are the salt or the earth and the light of the world,” (Matt. 5:13-14) He was talking about influence and that is what men do. Men are the ultimate influencers for good or for evil, because lions influence and lambs don’t. We challenge and motivate men to become “salt and light” among a group of men with whom they can have an eternal impact. This might include their work place, their neighborhood, or their recreational pursuits.
In summary, the vision for men’s ministry for the local church in South Carolina is to challenge, motivate, and inspire men to grow spiritually through authentic relationships with other men with Jesus Christ at the center (Prov. 27:17), and to intentionally build trust with non-believers to the point they can win them to Christ (1 Cor. 9:19-22) by the influence of “salt and light” in their life (Matt. 5:13-14).
Building a Life Changing Men’s Ministry by Steve Sonderman, Bethany House
The Man in the Mirror by Patrick Morley, Zondervan Press
Wild at Heart by John Eldridge, Nelson Publishers
Waking the Dead by John Eldridge, Nelson Publishers
Men’s Fraternity by Robert Lewis, LifeWay Christian Resources
The Man that God Uses by Henry and Tom Blackaby, LifeWay Christian Resources
Top Gun: Basic Training and Discipleship Training by Steve Sonderman, Top Gun Ministries, Elmbrook Church, Inc.
The Measure of a Man by Gene A. Getz, Grace Products Corporation