Calvary Pastors This post comes from Calvary Chapel Pastors

In my last post on “Men’s Ministry Basics” I discussed the importance of setting the framework in our churches for healthy men’s ministry. I also outlined what we do with the men in our church in regards to our ministry. So, before you read this post, read part one! Since my Basics post, I have been asked how I practically facilitate a conversational study with so many men. So, let me follow up this week with a few more men’s ministry basics that may be helpful…

– Open the doors an hour early and have the coffee and food ready. We always have food (usually pizza and a large vegetable tray), for the first part of most meetings. It is not uncommon for us to have half of our men in the door a half hour ahead of time…

– We start and end in prayer! We stand up, with our arms around each others shoulders, in a large circle. I don’t know how this got started but it has been used by God in a powerful and demonstrative way…your arms will fall asleep but it’s worth it. 

– We also set our chairs in a large circle…Having 30-60 men in rows just doesn’t seem to work for us. Being able to make eye contact with each other is an important component to sharing the Word of God. Our roundtable discussions last for approximately 45 minutes…

– As I facilitate the group conversation, I try to cultivate a setting with the men where they can share without feeling stupid or embarrassed. The old adage is true that no comment is a dumb comment…Be respectful.

– If it takes a while to get the conversation started don’t be tempted as the leader to start preaching…Always have a few men that you can call on at the beginning if the study starts cold. I like to wrap things up at the end of the study.

– I regularly say “great insight” or something affirming at the end of anything that a brother shares. I do all that I can to encourage conversation, not kill it. If (on the rare occasion) a man says something that makes me scratch my head, I still affirm him. Then I may throw it out as a question to the guys by saying “I appreciate your thoughts…what do you guys think about that?”. This is a great way to sharpen each others Biblical beliefs.

– We don’t allow arguing or debate but we do encourage a civil “point/ counterpoint” discussion. Were not afraid to ask tough questions either…Men need to know why they believe what they believe. Oftentimes the men will explore either side of a text or issue but if it does get heated, I pull the plug and regroup quickly. I Keep it positive as much as possible and shift gears (if things get tense) with a little humor.

– What do you do when a man talks on and on (and on)? If what he is sharing is very insightful, sometimes you let him roll for a while. Other times though, you have to use the one word that helps bring an end to their sharing and it is “amen”. People even do this to me when I preach! If another brother wants to continually jump into the conversation, sometimes you have to say “Hold on a second, let’s hear from some of the other guys”. If you can redirect in a gentle way it will be painless.

– If a brother persists in using the study as a platform or he has an agenda to promote his strongly held beliefs, you have to deal with it or they will hijack your meeting. I handle these matters privately as much as possible…

– Having said all of that, we strive to make the group mentality as if we are all in the trenches together, watching each others backs…not taking shots at each other. No legalism is tolerated but exhortation and gracious confrontation is greatly encouraged. If a man needs special attention in prayer, we will take the time to lift him up to the Lord as a group.

– Ultimately the goal of a conversational group study is to get the men reading through their Bibles together. As the men study and interact with each other, God does a wonderful work.

– We like to do BBQ outreaches twice a year with our men. We set aside the time to grill one pound porterhouse steaks and we invite all of our friends and co-workers for a night they won’t soon forget. Lately we have been filming men’s testimonies and showing them at our outreaches. Needless to say, the testimonies have a powerful effect on all those who attend. Having annual outreaches with your men’s ministry keeps the men on mission.

– Lastly, I have received notes from many who read this blog on facebook and by email. It has been great getting to talk with some of you who lead men’s ministry in your churches (shout out to Vinny in New Jersey)!! Blessings to you men!!

continue reading the views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of Calvary Southampton

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