Another multi-million dollar church sprouts out of the ground in the face of economic crisis and adversity. The new building sits high and mighty against the rolling hills and towers over the interstate that passes by it’s front door. Hours of meetings and hundreds of “cash calls” from the membership brought the new building-project to fruition.
Meanwhile… the neighboring community accepts another dad into unemployment, another child skips meals, and single mothers are crushed under the weight of too many jobs and not enough opportunity.
Really? Is this what Jesus Christ had in mind? He said, “Go make disciples”, not to go make buildings and programs. Do we really think that God is impressed with our temples? Even a superficial understanding of God’s Word teaches us that He sent Jesus Christ to hang on the cross – in order that you and I become the temple. Why all the one-upsmanship? Why build more buildings? Perhaps we aren’t being taught the basics of Christianity.
I’ve seen some really great shows and some really cool buildings where the word of God was taught. I’ve also sat in a 20×20 room with a group of men where the spirit of God flooded the small space. So let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that shiny new buildings are indicators of God’s blessing.
Men’s ministry also falls into the same trap of “bigger is better”. Ministry programs and concepts come and go and will continue to be molded around our current culture. Whether you plug in the latest buzz-word, build a ministry around a cool concept, or bring in the big speakers and motivators…ministry will always be – ministry. Nothing can replace the original model of men’s ministry… and that is “relationships”.
When studying the blueprint of ministry, Christ’s teaching – every red letter interaction in the New Testament shows an example of what ministry should look like. And if you want to assign a “sex” to our ministry, then the ministry of Christ is the original men’s ministry program.
Here’s how He did it…
As the lead man in the ministry program, Jesus reached out to guys by going to where they worked and lived. He called them out and started investing into their lives. There was no time to drag them to committee meetings about building “stuff”… they were busy trying to show other men what authentic relationships looked like.
Let’s face it… men stink at building relationships and that’s why men’s ministry generally sucks. Perhaps, this is why men prefer to construct buildings – to evade the awkward and hard work of building relationships. Relationships take time and effort – and sacrifice. If we minister like Christ, then we can’t give up on a guy because he doesn’t want to be in our “club”.
Supercharge your men’s ministry by teaching the guys how be relational. The real work happens one on one, and it takes tons of time and energy. Buildings can’t solve your failing ministry problems – but building relationships certainly can turn the ship.
A word of advice to churches…stop building structures and start building relationships. Take your capital campaign monies and hire a man who is willing to go all in for your men. There’s more than enough research available to prove that as men engage in the church and faith building – the generational impact on children is profound. If men follow God… the families follow God.
Kill the building program, stop crafting the “perfect men’s program” and get someone in charge of building relationships with men. From there, you can help dad find new jobs, help children eat, and help single mothers breathe.
And as a bonus – your church will expand into the streets – because it has nowhere else to go! And isn’t that where we need to be?
It’s simple… do what Christ did.