Joshua's Men: Developing Future Leaders

Joshua's Men
Joshua's Men will celebrate its 30th year in January. (

January 2017 will begin the 30th year of an intensive leadership development process called Joshua's Men.

In 1987, I launched the first group of seven guys having no idea that nearly 30 years later, hundreds of churches and thousands of men would have gone through the program. Many churches have been leading Joshua's Men Groups for years.

It's so cool to experience something God chose to put His favor upon, and I had little to do with it except to obey His voice when He asked me to start the first group.

There's nothing new under the sun, but God ignited a spark within me to develop next-generation leaders. At the time, I served on staff under John Maxwell, and of course he was doing an incredible job developing the leaders who were leading. God asked me to begin to develop the potential leaders, to find the ones not yet leading and invest in them.

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Before I continue and tell you a little about the actual process, I have good news for you. The entire curriculum, including a recent MP3 where I talk about how to start and lead a group is available to you for freeJoshua's Men is available on 12Stone's Free Resource Website. What's included:

  • Overview, How Tos, FAQs, Mission Statement
  • Intro Packets: 12 months of leader guides, participant guides and supplementary material

You can get all the depth and detail you want as you look over the material, but I'll give a brief overview in this post.

The Process

Joshua's Men is a one-year leadership intensive. It's a transformational process that results in more and better leaders in your church. That's the simple and clear vision, to invest in and develop more leaders.

It's not a discipleship group. It's a leadership development process, even though much of the material deepens their spiritual walk. From a three-day fast in January to understanding what servant leadership is truly about.

Over the years, church leaders have chosen to use Joshua's Men for both potential leaders, and to develop the leaders who are currently leading.

The idea is not one of "the more, the better." Leadership development is not like a church service where we want to see every chair full. You select a small group. If you have a large church, maybe two or three groups. Start small. Most churches start with one.

Joshua's men is designed for married men, ideally ages 25-40. However, that's a guideline not a hard and fast rule.

The Rhythm

Each group meets once a month for four hours and tackles a different topic each month, each topic with a leadership bias. The topics range from spiritual life to marriage and family. There is a different book each month, including projects, study guides and how the prayer partner system works.

There are also two retreats—January and June. In those two months, the retreat takes the place of the regular meeting. The communication retreat is always a highlight where the guys each deliver an 18-minute message and are coached by the rest of the group! It's a fantastic experience. All leaders must learn to communicate better, starting with their families to their colleagues at work. That's an example of the emphasis for one month.

Get Started

You can start a Joshua's Men group any month you like but I recommend January. If you are interested, start now. Start thinking about who you would invite and try to have the group formed by Thanksgiving. Then have your Kick-Off Retreat in January.

I strongly encourage you to review all the material before to select and invite even the first guy.

Life Changing

I wish we had time to sit down over a cup of coffee so I could tell you stories for hours about the guys I know who have gone through "J-Men." So much life change! And equally as encouraging, stories about the guys who lead a group! Whenever you connect a catalytic leader, with a group of hungry guys (who have potential and want to be there), and add the Holy Spirit to the mix, I've never seen it not work. Lives are changed for good! One of my favorite things is listening to the wives of the guys tell how their husbands have changed as leaders in their home, at work and in the church!

I'm fired up to start year 30 in just a few months!

Dan Reiland is the executive pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as executive pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as vice president of leadership and church development at INJOY.

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