Luke 10:29 NRSV – 29 and wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
More and more I am hearing from a number of dedicated men who are eager to either renew the men’s fellowship in their church or to start something new. In each case the common question is asked that goes something like this: “Ok, I’m ready to get going – now where do I start?”
Actually, that is a wise and good first step, to ask for directions! As a baseline I love to parrot what Dr. Pat Morley often shares which is: “Your system is perfectly designed to deliver the results that you are getting.” Simply put, this means that your current situation is a direct result of what you’re already doing. If you want different results then the process or system itself needs to be adjusted.
Starting from that point then, we know that what we don’t want to do is to repeat things that are not working! Let’s call that Step 1. If men are not turning out for your present activities then let’s try something else.
Step 2 is to identify something new or different to add to our process. This is actually a lot easier than it sounds. We have in this step an opportunity to get some great input from God. Referencing the above scripture we’ll begin to learn just who our neighbor is! We’ll do this by taking a closer look at our own neighborhood.
Get together with a few interested men and ask them to take a look around your community. You are looking for things that need attention. By looking closely at your immediate environment you will begin to see your neighbors in a new way. As you identify needs, you are really developing a new ministry list.
Take this list and through prayer & discussion come up with one, or perhaps two top items. Then develop a plan to address these needs.
I recently met with a group of inner-city pastors who have a heart to change their neighborhood. Using the above process they identified the number one problem as crime. Digging deeper they learned that most of the crime was being committed by young men. A further look showed that these young men did not have a father in the house, and they did not have jobs.
So this group decided to start by developing a way to connect with these young men and provide them with a Christian adult male who will mentor them. The employment need is being tackled by connecting the young men with local training resources to help them get a job. Their immediate short-term goal is to get them in healthy mentoring relationships and get them a job. The long term goal is to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
Your community has unique needs & God will show you exactly which one that He wants you to address. In turn, with a new and well defined mission you will find that men in your church will step up and join in. That in turn forms the nucleus of your future men’s ministry!