Leading a men’s ministry is a challenge. If we truly understand that challenge, we are likely to feel intimidated and overwhelmed. The good news is that the Lord wants your ministry to succeed more than you do. Do you believe that? He alone has the wisdom to advance your men’s ministry.
Recall that Jesus challenged a ragtag, uneducated bunch of followers to go and change the world. And they and those who followed did exactly that. Granted, they did not understand what was involved in the Great Commission, nor did they understand just how they were to do it. The same is true for us. Our task is critical. It is challenging. We are under the same orders. The Lord has called us to make disciple of men.
The task of establishing, maintaining and advancing a men’s ministry can be stated in simple terms. Communicate the message in understandable ways, model the behavior you wish to see repeated, encourage personal growth, and challenge others to become part of the solution. In order to do this we need to answer two questions:
- Where do we begin our efforts to reach men? With all the options available this is a "must know."
- How can we sustain our ministry as we attempt to grow beyond our present situation?
Jesus modeled a response to both questions. In doing so He established two powerful principles which we can use in guiding our own ministries.
Focusing Your Ministry. The first principle is the "Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria Principle". It states that the best way to have a large impact is to begin by focusing our energy and resources at the local level and moving to broaden the base of activity as the ministry matures. It has geographic, cultural, and relational facets and implications. It is a way of ordering our lives. We need to define our Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. Consider these questions:
- What is my ministry's Jerusalem?
- Does this pertain to me in geographic, relational, or cultural terms?
- What is closest to me and is within the reach and scope of my calling?
Jesus asked us to begin with a manageable assignment. From that base we are to considering our Judea. As we reach and disciple those in our Jerusalem, they will be equipped to help reach our Judea. As the ministry grows, it will then be positioned, staffed, and equipped to move onto our Samaria. Our Jerusalem may be the men in the church who will form the core team. They are the ones with whom we must build relationships and into whom we must pour our lives. Remember, start by identifying your own unique Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
Recruiting Your Team. The second principle is the "ordinary men" factor. Any organization or initiative built on the efforts of "superstars" is in jeopardy if the superstars defect. It cannot be sustained unless superstars continue to be available – which they aren't. However, ordinary men are available everywhere. They are not only available, but more importantly, other men identify with them. We need to build our ministries using everyday guys who are willing to use their gifts to advance Christ’s Kingdom. Few men see themselves as giants or superstars. Beware if they do. Superstars are often temperamental, demanding, and rely on their own skills rather than on doing it with God's help.
Jesus selected common men to handle an uncommon task. He created a model that others could follow. If He built His ministry using 12 scribes and Pharisees, we might assume we need to recruit from the religious elite. Jesus demonstrated that He could build a successful ministry team with a few ordinary men. These men and those who followed impacted Judea, Samaria and the world. As you begin to assemble your team, seek ordinary men who are eager to be involved.
Applying these two principles can be liberating. They are of immense value in determining how and where to begin the mission which God has given you. Spend some time praying about the scope or your Jerusalem, where it is, and where it is not. Move out strategically into your Jerusalem and allow God to reveal opportunities there. Spend time alone with Jesus and ask him to give you eyes to see the ordinary men around you who can be developed into a team that can meet the challenges in front of you. Ministry will still be challenging. No one promised that it would be easy. But it is the best possible way to begin. Remember that the results are in God's hands. He is committed to men’s ministry! You can begin and begin well?