A strategy for turning men into a driving force behind your church’s mission
Most pastors dream of having a strong and vibrant men’s community that drives the mission and vision of their local churches. But this dream rarely becomes a reality because most churches have no compelling vision for men that is articulated, visible and connected to a meaningful process in the church context.
So it’s no surprise that men remain affiliated versus activated in the local church. This sad reality is on the church, not on the men. Men like clear targets they can hit—but the church hasn’t painted the target!
On the flip side, it is possible to have strong vision, a defined process that helps men see the vision, and solid outcomes that make men stakeholders in the ongoing success of the church’s mission. Men long for that kind of significance!
After 23 years of ministering to men, I tell pastors they have a “sleeping giant” in their congregations. It’s called men. All it takes is a resonating strategy to awaken the giant and move men from being affiliated to activated for God’s purposes.
At Saddleback Church, our Sleeping Giant strategy is also known as the “men’s pathway.” It’s a four-step process that starts with an invitation to simply get started.
The Sleeping Giant model emphasizes getting guys “in” with other guys who share a personal commitment to become better men and grow spiritually. Getting in could take the form of a weekly men’s group, or men from a church couples group meeting on a separate day of the week. It could be some guys from work having coffee once a week. It could be men meeting at church or at a conference to connect with other men who seek God’s purpose for their lives and relationships.
Men are like icebergs, in the sense that they reveal only the tip of who they are and what is happening in their lives. But underneath the waterline of their lives are a host of issues producing enormous stress and pressure morally, relationally, maritally, professionally and emotionally. That reality and the needs reflected by it are why this second step resonates.
In the relational safety a group setting provides, men seek after health in their own character and relationships. This involves an open discussion of temptation and compromise (moral health), their view of women and marriage (marital health), leadership in the home (family health), and how masculine friendship and accountability work (relational health).
True health in these core areas is the difference between an authentic and a synthetic leader. More important, the Bible requires core health and strong leadership in these categories before being selected for church leadership (see 1 Tim. 3:1-5).
The Get Strong step prepares men for deployment into their ministry in the church and their mission in the world. This is the “if any man would come after Me” moment for each man (see Matt. 16:24).
It is intentional. It is on purpose. But most important, it is in context as the next meaningful step in the progression. You shouldn’t have to plead or coax men at this point. They know they’re called. Resources and relationships in this phase center on strong spiritual formation, which leads to strong spiritual expression of the Great Commandment and Commission.
The first steps in the process (Get In and Get Healthy) defined and met the core needs of men in the community and congregation. The next phase (Get Strong) captured the motivation created by transformations in men’s lives with a forceful vision and call to spiritual growth.
After men are fully trained, only one call is left.
The last and most natural transition is to deploy these men to serve the church and aggressively share the gospel. Each man needs to take up his post in the kingdom. In this phase, it’s time for each man to Get Going.
In the Sleeping Giant process, a trained “God’s man” is responsible for ministry, reproducing leaders, and replacing pastoral staff in the execution and delivery of ministry to the people. Men getting in, growing healthy and strong, and going into God’s purposes—isn’t that the dream of every pastor?
Kenny Luck is the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church and the founder of Every Man Ministries. His latest book is titled Sleeping Giant: No Movement of God Without Men of God (B&H Books). For information about men’s ministry resources or to learn how the Sleeping Giant men’s pathway will work in your church, visit everymanministries.com/church.