In the 5+ years that I’ve been directly involved with men’s ministry leadership, it’s often disheartening to see a general lack of interest from Christian men in any type of spiritual focus on them. Books have been written on it (Pastoring Men by Patrick Morley is an excellent read), and men’s ministry proponents are regularly confounded about why men aren’t engaged more. Often, the average Christian man sees that attending a Sunday service is adequate…that is if he even makes that effort to even go on a regular basis. Most will fail to recognize the need to fellowship with other guys, encourage one another, and talk about Biblical topics that pertain to males. And when low interest occurs, churches frequently drop their men’s programs, leaving more of a spiraling “catch-22” situation.
The thing is, we all have to realize that men’s ministry is essential. It’s desperately needed. The presence of a specified ministry just for guys should be a cornerstone discipleship arm of any church, providing a space for men to grow spiritually, build meaningful relationships with one another, and serve their community. However, despite the many benefits, the numbers who are involved are dwindling. Why exactly? Here are the top three theories about why men aren’t involved in men’s ministry at church, written from a Christian perspective.
Lack of Relevance
Many men feel like the topics discussed in men’s ministry aren’t relevant to their lives. They can charge through life and their jobs, tend to their families, veg out with some Netflix or sports, and, if their wives ignore them, secretly indulge in porn later. Sure, they may understand a bit about God and the fact that Jesus has taken care of the “higher level” spiritual needs on the cross, but these men just don’t see the bulk of religion applying to their everyday lives. Or suppose they are interested in coming together with other guys and discussing various “serious” topics. In that case, they may be more interested in practical matters like financial management or politics rather than solely spiritual topics.
As Christians, we need to make sure that our men’s ministry shows what true discipleship is for men – that they need to surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ in every area of their lives. We need to show them that the Bible is not only relevant in their lives but crucial to follow in every aspect. And while many Christian men (as mentioned above) may have an understanding and a minimal faith about Jesus taking care of the “high level” problem of sin in their lives, we need to show them more of how sin has saturated every part of this world why we as believers need to go to war against sin, as well as to trust the Holy Spirit to lead us and change our hearts for God.
Lack of Authenticity
A lack of authenticity is one of the biggest reasons why men don’t get involved in men’s ministry. I get it; we all like to act tough, unphased, and cool as a cucumber by not showing big signs of weakness in front of other guys – especially among men we hardly even know! And many men feel like they have to put on a front and pretend to be someone they’re not when they attend church or a men’s ministry event. This can be especially challenging for men dealing with issues like pornography or substance addiction, financial struggles, or relationship problems.
As Christians, we must create an environment of authenticity and vulnerability in our men’s ministry. We need to be open and honest about our struggles and invite other men to do the same. We need to show them that we are all sinful beings, even the “best” and “toughest” of us guys, and we all need the grace and forgiveness that only Jesus can provide. When men feel like they can be themselves and won’t be judged or looked down upon, they are more likely to get involved in men’s ministry and experience the transformational power of community.
Lack of Engagement
Finally, many men may not be involved in men’s ministry because they simply haven’t been invited or engaged. Churches may assume that men will naturally get involved in men’s ministry, but that’s not always the case. Just because you have an advertisement slide in your church’s video “pre-roll” video doesn’t mean a stampede of fresh new faces will come plowing your doors at the next men’s function. Men may be hesitant to attend events or join small groups if they don’t know anyone or if they feel like they won’t fit in.
As Christians, we need to actively engage men in our men’s ministry. We need to reach out to them, invite them to events, and create opportunities for them to connect with other men in our church. Personally, I have found that no other method will work, as well as walking up to another guy and personally interacting with him, and inviting him to join the next men’s meeting. That is the number one way of getting men involved! By making men’s ministry a priority and intentionally engaging men, we can create a community of men committed to growing in their faith and supporting one another.
If you feel like men’s ministry has been a flop in your church, take and apply the above advice. Let’s commit to creating a vibrant and impactful men’s ministry in our churches!