Establish a Tradition
by Bryian Doyle, Director, Iron Sharpens Iron Men's Conferences
Every Church is Unique: Develop an entry-level event that will be a tradition.
When men and women think of the men's ministry of your church, what comes to their mind?
The answer to this question will help you understand if any event is building a tradition. It could be anything depending on the size, demographic and culture of your church. When an event develops a tradition, men and their families put it on their calendar before the marketing begins. Some examples of traditions might include:
1. An annual men's retreat. I know of one church that has a winter ski retreat for men from Sunday to Wednesday. They rent out a beautiful chalet, hire out a wonderful chef, bring in a quality speaker and go skiing every day!
2. Sportsmen Dinner. This will draw men from inside and outside the church. Men bring wild game to grill and hear from a celebrity sportsmen.
3. Monthly Men's Night. First Monday began at Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts a number of years ago and has reproduced itself many times over across New England. Men come out for dinner and a speaker who will address the theme for the year. First Monday makes it easy to remember the date!
4. Weekly Morning Meeting. Men's Fraternity is an example of a local church based resource that helps churches take men through a men's curriculum. There are also gatherings of men like the New Canaan Society in Connecticut and Thank God Its Wednesday (TGIW) in Missouri that bring men together from multiple churches each week for breakfast and a speaker.
5. Semi Annual Thrusts. Some churches want more than an annual retreat and have had success at four to six week thrusts. These ministry thrusts allow a church to tackle one theme for several weeks. These short term thrusts also have a clear end point.
6. Service Ministry. Several churches in Colorado and New Hampshire have begun a team based ministry to single moms and widows. Men serve those in need but also develop meaningful relationships with a team of like minded brothers in Christ.
7. Small Groups. Churches all over the country have developed a variety of effective small group ministries for men using a variety of resources. These weekly groups of 4-7 men might meet together for a couple of years before birthing another small group of men.
8. Iron Sharpens Iron Men's Conferences. This conference has become the feature event each year for many churches. Men's ministry leaders develop a game plan to build up to the one day men's conference, maximize the conference experience, then capture the momentum that the conference brings to the men and to the ministry.