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Understand Your Pastor's Heart for Men

Most pastors want to have an effective men’s ministry. He may have even beaten his head against that wall for years trying to get men more involved.

What he is looking for is strong leaders; men who understand the challenges and opportunities involved. He is looking for men who do not give up when the going gets tough or the results do not match expectations.

He knows the men in the church and can advise you on forming the leadership team. He wants to be included because growing spiritually healthy men is important to the health of the church. He also wants men’s ministry to mesh with the vision and ministries of the church.

He is looking for men who can effectively communicate goals and strategies in terms that your men understand. In other words, this is a ministry for men and needs to be conveyed in masculine terms.

Very likely, he will need to allow strategies and ideas to percolate before attempting to implement them He will look for options and alternatives. He understands that the Lord will guide you through success and failures to a ministry that works. He will want to keep numbers and names in front of you to help focus your efforts.

He will want to ensure that the leadership team has caught the vision: why you need to reach men, how men in the church are doing, the kind of men you want to produce, and what constitutes success and how to measure progress.

He picks up quite a lot in terms of the challenges men face, such as marriage, family, work, service and ministry, and what resonates with men in general.

You will need to establish a continuing dialog with your pastor outside of the leadership team meetings. That way you can gain insight into where he is coming from and the two of you can develop a mutual understanding on the direction the ministry needs to take. When you meet, be sure to find out how much time he has allotted for your meeting. During your time together:

  • Ask him how the ministries of the church are doing and how he sees men’s ministry contributing to the health of the church.
  • Discuss ways to encourage men to build relationships.
  • Share your thoughts about getting men into small groups for Bible study.
  • Discuss ways to help men understand the gospel.
  • Discuss ways to build men up as Godly men for the home, church, workplace, and community.
  • Discuss ways to integrate men into the existing ministries of the church.

Understand Your Pastor

Your pastor works hard to be an effective leader. The demands are unbelievably diverse: a variety of public communication, private counseling, working with ministry leaders, encouraging volunteers, administrating an organization, performing marriages, baptisms, funerals, attending committee meetings, and much more.

In fact, he may tell you, regretfully, his own family often takes second place. People want him to lead a balanced life and take care of his own needs in "principle." But in "practice," when it's their mother in the hospital, their vision for the church, or parents or their children who need counseling, they really expect him to drop everything and pay attention to them. You can’t blame them; I'm sure you would feel the same way.

Balancing everyone’s requests is a real challenge. For example, someone brings him an idea, but often acts like he had nothing else to do but drop everything and embrace their idea. Sometimes they do not do a very good job explaining the idea, nor do their homework, nor find others who would support their idea, nor have a plan. In fact, your pastor may often feel that all they want to do is dump the whole idea on him and be done with it. They think he is the professional so it's his job. Pastors are men too, and they all feel this way sometimes.

For the most part, people are dependable. However, there are those who fail to carry out their commitments. It is as though their word to the church is the first thing that gets cut. What is worse, they wait to the last minute to let him know or do not even bother to tell him.

You need to understand that there are days, or even weeks, where your pastor feels that all he is doing is going from one crisis to another.

Support Your Pastor:

Pray for your pastor. Think the best of his motives. Help him see that you are serious about reaching your men. Show him that you will carry through on what you start.

And by the way, you will have more clout with him if he sees that you have a track record of actually ministering to men yourself.

Remember, your pastor wants to see the men of the church energized. By working together with him, you will accomplish much more than either of you can do alone.


1.    Does your church need a more effective disciple-making ministry to men? Why or why not?

2.    Why do you think many people expect the pastor to be the one to do the ministry?

3.    Pastors, does this article accurately reflect how you feel? Why or why not?

4.    Laymen, which of the offenses mentioned have you been guilty of, and why?

5.    What would be a practical "next step" for you to take if you want a disciple-making ministry to men in your church?

Adapted from “An Open Letter to Laymen from a Pastor about Men’s Ministry” by Patrick Morley. ©2001. Patrick M. Morley. All rights reserved. This may be reproduced with proper attribution for non-commercial purposes.