By Jeffrey W. Bennett
Do you know guys like my friend Matt? You start talking about
ministry, missions or evangelism and you can almost anticipate their body
language. Quick nodding, shrugging, the trailing of eyes. They want to fulfill
the Great Commission, but, they explain, they just don’t have the time or the
skills to do missions work and evangelism. They have plenty of excuses for not
participating. They work 60 hours a week. They’re not handy with a hammer.
They’d rather not approach complete strangers to inflict religiosity. Or, they
might argue, their wives “take care of that department.” Churches are full of
young men who aren’t quite sure where or how they fit in when it comes to
reaching others for Christ.
Like my friend, many men are extremely
busy and may not be as involved with activities in the local church as they’d
like. Until recently, I’ve been guilty of the same omission. While raising a
family, going to graduate school and concentrating on a career, I’ve focused on
doing things under my own power and giving what’s left over to the Lord.
The emphasis on wrong priorities can cause us to work under our own power to
shape our service instead of letting God develop our spiritual lives.
You may have noticed many young men filling our pews and Sunday school
chairs. They love the Lord, are faithful in attendance and tithing, but are
noncommittal in teaching, serving or volunteering for missions. However, they
support their wives’ service in the nursery, children’s programs, choir or
other ministries. They may even stay home with the kids while their wives
attend to these critical ministries. However, men aren’t made to sit still and
watch things happen. Nor is that God’s purpose for them. The Lord is looking
for men to carry out his mission and lead others to Christ.
Look around and observe the conversation. Chances are men are talking about
work, clubs, school or other organizations. Men want to belong, and it’s
important to show how involvement in missions and belonging to a church body
fulfills the Great Commission, satisfies their need for organization and helps
develop savvy leadership skills. You probably already have powerful programs at
your church just begging for men to get involved.
So, how do we tap into this pool of talented young men? How can we show them
how to be obedient to God’s call while successfully balancing their lives at
work and home?
Like my friend, many don’t realize their spiritual gifts are needed. I
have a lot to offer, but how are my spiritual gifts valuable? Others have
natural abilities they may not be aware of. I’m not really good at
anything, and I doubt the church can use me.
An important step is mentoring young men to help them identify their
spiritual gifts. Leading a Bible study on spiritual gifts and having
participants take a spiritual gifts inventory is a great way to help men
discover their own gifts.
In addition to spiritual gifts, you’ll want to help them discover their
natural abilities and how they fit into ministry. Here are some questions to
help identify natural abilities as well as interests and how they apply to
ministry in the church.
What motivates you? How and where do you spend your spare time?
What natural abilities do you have? In what areas are you most
What do you do on the job? Do you enjoy your work?
What skills would you like to learn? What ministries are you interested in?
Is there a specific group of people you’re drawn to (internationals, senior
adults, college students, children, etc.)?
There are several resources for helping people identify spiritual gifts and
showing them how their gifts as well as abilities fit certain types of
ministries. On Mission recommends SHAPE (Saddleback Church) and Next
Level (NAMB, www.nextlevelleadership.com).
One secret to successful men’s involvement is matching their abilities with
needs in the church. When you can take a man and pair his vocational skills
with a specific need, it lifts him up and affirms him even more as a man called
by God, set apart by God for a purpose.
Announcing a need and waiting for volunteers to sign up may not be the most
effective way to get new people involved. Volunteers tend to be the same people
who have stepped up countless times before. Intentional recruiting—matching
skills with opportunities—provides a proactive and positive solution to helping
young men answer the call.
Travis is a self-starter and owns his own business. He’s using his
organizational skills to coordinate a men’s Bible study at work. Bill was an
engineer for 30 years before he retired. Today he’s leading construction teams
to help rebuild a community devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
Effectiveness comes from linking men with ministries that fit them.
Once men realize how their skills benefit the mission, they’ll provide a
powerful boost to the mission needs. In the Army, we called such an opportunity
to increase effectiveness Force Multipliers. In the church, these multipliers
are leaders, repairers, team builders, teachers and businessmen. Many are
looking for a place to belong.
Mount Zion Baptist Church in Monrovia, Alabama, has programs perfect for
involving men. Their missions and service opportunities range from simple tasks
to complex, program management. Mount Zion Baptist also uses the Acts 1: 8
Challenge as their missions strategy. With that in mind, here are some great
missions opportunities for men.
Jerusalem (the local community). Upward Basketball provides
tremendous impact to local missions with a Bible-based program. Sports
ministries need Christian coaches, referees and volunteers who can share
testimonies during half-time. Sports ministries provide plenty of opportunities
for young men to influence lives.
Also, Royal Ambassadors, AWANA, TeamKIDS and other mentorship programs
continuously seek teachers, substitutes, leaders or assistants. It doesn’t
require much homework, and what the children learn may impact them forever.
Judea (state). Short-term mission trips within your state
are a great way to get men involved in ministry. Our church has been building
and repairing homes a few counties away. A lot of work and ministry is done in
a very short weekend. Teams have a critical need for people who can organize,
lead construction projects or maintain budgets. Labor skills—like cleaning
yards, building ramps, replacing toilets or repairing roofs—are easy enough to
teach to those who have little or no experience in these areas.
Samaria (North America). Recently Mt. Zion Baptist met
Katrina Relief needs on the Gulf Coast. The missions committee identified
hurting communities and within two weeks a scout team narrowed our focus to a
town in Mississippi. A team ministered to hurricane victims by providing meals,
helping with cleanup and rebuilding homes. Not only did laborers join in, but
those less skilled with hammers who had a keen eye for project management, risk
assessment and prioritization pulled it all together.
The ends of the earth. Our church has planned mission trips to Ukraine and
Guatemala for the coming year. Members will evangelize, provide sports
training, lead Sunday school lessons, join medical teams and teach
organization. These types of missions require recruiting people with specific
skills. However vast and untapped resources exist with talented young men who
are sports enthusiasts, teachers, engineers, leaders and medical
Remember my young friend who had not been active in ministry? I later asked
him about using his medical equipment repair skills for an upcoming medical
mission trip. Though busy with family and grad studies, he’s adjusting his
schedule to go on mission in 2007.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get to the task of channeling the ocean
of talented men in our churches. They’re ready and willing to work with the
The local church is vital in changing lives within the community, the state,
the continent and to the ends of the earth. Jesus thought it was important
enough to recruit, organize and train men to go out and point people to God.
Let’s use the same commitment He demonstrated to welcome all into mission
An innovative way to introduce men to the concepts of ministry and missions
on the local level is through Men@WORK groups. The idea is simple, but the
impact can be transformational in your Jerusalem.
Have men organize in groups of three. They will visit each other’s homes on
alternating weeks, participating in a brief devotion before tackling a honey-do
list or home improvement project together. Each time the men meet, they
alternate to the next home.
The fourth meeting is designed for a brief devotion and then a ministry
project for the church or a church member. The project could be something the
pastor needs help with. The pattern begins again the next week with a brief
devotion time at the first man’s home, followed by tackling his next project.
The group alternates to the next two members’ homes the following meetings for
more brief devotions and more projects. The eighth meeting, following the brief
devotion, is a mission project outside the walls of the church—something to
reach out to the community.
The idea is not confined to home improvement. It can work with hunting,
fishing, golfing, reading or movie groups—any activity men want to pursue
together for the purpose of fellowship and sharpening each others’ skills for
ministry and missions.
The idea is supported by the book Men@WORK available from NAMB customer
service, $8.99, ($6.95 for orders of five or more), ISBN 1593120419. Order by
calling 866-407-6262 or visit www.namb.net/catalog.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC