Do fewer events and do them better- much better.
Enthusiasm and success can often lead to excess. I have seen this in my own church and in hundreds of churches across the Northeast. A team of men put something on for the men in their church and the men actually come! The organizers are surprised (shocked) at the turnout, and they immediately organize several other similar events. Sooner or later the men stop coming and what was once a true entry level event for men associated with the local church has turned into a small group of the same men.
The most common example of this is the monthly Saturday breakfast. In 1994, I called 110 churches all over the New England Region and asked them two questions.
The first question was: "Do you have a men's ministry?" 102 out of 110 churches said yes.
My second question was: "What does it look like?" 78 of the 102 said 'men's breakfast'. Most of these were one Saturday per month.
When I had the opportunity to dig a little deeper, I found that in most cases, fewer than 20% of the men in the church on Sunday morning would ever come to one of these monthly breakfasts. Because New England churches are relatively small, this meant that many of these monthly breakfasts had ten or less men. A few observations on the Saturday morning breakfast followed by a few suggestions:
1. Ten or less men is a large 'small group' and not an entry level event for men.
2. Once a month happens pretty quick in a man's schedule.
3. These breakfasts are cooked by a couple good guys in the church who are willing to get up a little early, (white toast, eggs of some sort, coffee)
4. There is usually very little content and most months aren't connected to the previous month.
5. It is hard to plan and prepare something very good every month.
1. Let the monthly group of men meet monthly but don't promote it.
2. Have a quarterly breakfast that you really promote to every man.
3. Find a gifted cook, male or female, or go hire a caterer!
4. Bring in speakers and develop an annual theme.
5. Find a different champion for each quarterly breakfast. One event per year.
A small adjustment brings the following changes:
• you do fewer breakfasts
• the ones you do are better because less ongoing labor is involved
• the monthly men can continue to meet
• a true entry point is born
Adapted from Brian Doyle, Director, Iron Sharpens Iron Conferences. Used with permission.