10/26/2009 7:00 AM
In this final part of this series (if you missed them, here are part 1 and part 2) I'll offer some tips for engaging men in educational settings, in a quick list form. As with any ministry, there is no one approach or ministry that will work in every setting or with all men. This list hopefully will get you thinking about your own educational ministries—both what you're already doing and what you could easily add.
- Use physical educational methods. Give men opportunities to be active.
- Don’t call your Sunday morning learning opportunities “Sunday school.”
- If something is going to be longer than 60 minutes, consider adding an “intermission” in the middle. Likewise, remember that men tend to have shorter attention spans than women.
- Don’t be afraid of competition.
- Encourage mentoring relationships with youth, young adults, and new Christians.
- Emphasize projects more than programs.
- Give men opportunities for greatness. Allow them to receive praise and recognition.
- Recognize that many men fear that someone in the church is going to “indoctrinate” their children or turn their boys into wimps. So, seek a high quality of communication with parents, and invite men to see what the classroom environment is like, to alleviate their fears.
- Embrace modern technology.
- Pursue excellence and quality in every part of your educational ministry, and help men to see it.
- Teach about the “strong” qualities of Jesus, Paul, the disciples, and other biblical men.
- Be aware of the ways language can be perceived differently by men and women. Notice what terms you emphasize, for example.
- Put a high priority on ensuring you have male leaders in your educational ministries.
- Be clear about the vision of your church and your educational ministries. Communicate it! For example, if you start a new small group ministry, be sure to explain what its purpose is.
- Let men learn through personal discovery, hands-on experience, and object lessons.
- Encourage questions and challenges to the “party line.” Be forthright.
- Expect and don’t try to shy away from dialogue, give-and-take, and argumentation within the classroom.
- Give men a call to action. Challenge them to actually do something during the week.
- Tell and use great stories with men (e.g. helping them to identify Christian messages in film).
- Start with real life (i.e. emphasize a Bible-to-life approach).
- Emphasize life transformation rather than moral improvement.
- Be sure to answer the questions that men are asking. Gorsuch & Schaffer (note: it's from a 1994 survey, so this list may be somewhat dated) suggest these are the top faith questions for men today:
- What is true manliness?
- What is success? The real bottom line of life?
- How do I deal with guilt feelings?
- What is male sexuality? Is purity possible for the modern man?
- How can we nurture family life?
- What is Christian leadership? How is it developed?
- What are the basic disciplines of the Christian man?
- What ministry skills need to be developed? How?
- What is biblical business conduct?
- What is integrity? How is it developed?
- Be sure to use masculine imagery, language, and examples in your teaching.
- Be aware of the ways the needs of men are being addressed by other denominations and para-church organizations—in both positive and negative ways.
- With young men, one of the most important things you can do is to just be there alongside them.
- Develop adventure ministries.
- Utilize cyber ministries, especially with younger men.
- Use the “I-Go: Identify—Invite—Invest” method
- Use the “Together in Ministry: Listen—Select—Empower” model
~ by Tim Gossett
Get The Daily Voice in your inbox
Subscribe to The Daily Voice, our free weekly email.