A men's event should not just be a church sponsored men’s event. The planning and preparation should make sure that the event is distinctively masculine. Here are a few ideas to help that happen:
Men Only. It is tough to pull off an event that is distinctively masculine when both men and women attend. I was asked to speak at a regional men's event a number of years ago in Connecticut. I arrived early and connected with a couple of friends who were hosting the event at their church. It looked very organized and they were expecting a good crowd. As I spoke to the sound engineer, I realized that there were quite a large number of women around the church. I commented that it was very nice of the women to volunteer and support the men's event. He shared that actually some of the women had asked if they could attend the event and the leadership had said it would be all right. I pointed out to him that the program of the day specified 'men's summit'. He hedged a little but his reply was that the leadership had opened up the event to men and women. We had a good half day together but there was very little masculine about our time together. The worship was sweet, the hall was pretty, and I had to change my message. Most women understand that there is a time and a place for men to come together. They know the special dynamic that exists when sisters in Christ gather and they recognize that a similar dynamic is true when brothers in Christ gather. There is no secret agenda and men are not conspiring to take over anything. We just want to hear from God and sharpen one another so that we can become His man.
Content. The reason I had to change my message that day is because it can be inappropriate to teach on some topics in a mixed setting. In 2001, Vision New England Men's Ministries surveyed men across the Northeast and found that 63% of men claim that sexual temptation is their number one temptation. This is an example of a topic that is distinctively masculine, it is inappropriate to have any kind of significant men's gathering and not talk about a man's number one temptation. It is equally inappropriate to address the topic in the same way when men and women are gathered together. I have seen men confess sin and cry out to God in repentance when they feel safe in a masculine environment. The church must provide these entry level events for men.
Setting. Promise Keepers has reminded us that men worship differently, connect to other men differently, and respond to God differently when the event takes place outside of the church. A man shows up at a basketball arena wearing a polo shirt and a ball cap. He picks up a pretzel and a soda and finds a seat in section 221. He knows this place as he comes here to watch the local team a couple of times a year. He stretches out and waits for things to get started. His guard is down and he brings all of his masculinity with him into this place.
A men's event can be distinctively masculine inside the church. It may be helpful to move your event into the fellowship hall or the gym and out of the sanctuary. The very simple goal is that a man will bring all of his masculinity with him when he attends the event.
Adapted from Brian Doyle, Director, Iron Sharpens Iron Conferences. Used with permission.