Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Men's Ministry Sucks
Last Saturday, I went to a local men's ministry breakfast. I was asked to speak while guys were chewing on lukewarm eggs, burnt bacon and other somewhat delicious(?) foods. Not surprisingly, attendance was small. 6 to 7 guys. The leader of the group seemed frustrated and discouraged. He has poured himself into men's ministry. He really wants it to work. When you lead men's ministry week after week, month after month and only a few guys show up, it can be very discouraging. In my opinion, men's ministry is the bastard child or the ugly kid at the dance in most churches.
Usually enthusiastic dudes will come back from Promise Keepers or some other big time men's event chock full of ideas about how they are going to start or pump up men's ministry at their church. Their enthusiasm is removed quickly by pastors or other church leaders who look at them and say,"We've done that before" or "That will never work" or "We don't have the money for that!" That kind of discouragement will never make anyone want to run up Hamburger Hill.
Then comes another challenge. How in the heck do you motivate men to do anything other than scratch themselves? Men are pooped. They have been asked to do things for everyone and they are completely worn out. Weeknights are tough because men just gave everything to their jobs and they have nothing left. Weekends? Are you insane? Soccer games, honey-do lists and the Patriots. Don't you dare ask them to do one other thing on the weekends. They are already being forced at gunpoint to go to church.
Here is yet another challenge of men's ministry. Lack of leaders. I've experienced it and I saw it last Saturday morning. One or two guys have a passion for men's ministry. They lead. They facilitate. They organize. They promote and market. They invite. They get really, really burned out. Guess what? These men who have a passion for men's ministry and actually do the work are the few, the proud and the brave. If these men's ministry leaders get hit by a semi or eat something bad at the church potluck, the men's ministry will die a quick death.
Pastors and church leaders, if you have a man who is passionate about men's ministry, support and encourage him. If there is a men's ministry event, show up. Don't treat men's ministry like it's a pain in your backside. Find some money in your budget to support men's ministry. Take some cash out of the women's ministry in your church. Women's ministry has always had more than enough support and encouragement at most churches. Prioritize men's ministry for a change.
I have noticed that men are gathering in other places. There is a Panera near my home. Ever since the place opened up, I have seen a group of 4 to 5 men who meet for coffee, bear claws and conversation nearly every Saturday and Sunday morning. They call themselves the "Old Farts Club". What is it that drives men to Panera, Lowe's, Home Depot or the local bar and not men's ministry events. On Sunday afternoon, I couldn't believe me eyes. There is a new Philly Cheese Steak place that just opened and it was slammed full of men. Yelling, Screaming, Cheering on their favorite football team. I don't know about you but I don't remember men enthusiastically yelling, cheering, screaming or having an actual, authentic good time at most church or men's ministry events.
What the heck can be done about men's ministry? Can it be saved or will it continue to suck?
Would someone please pass the eggs?