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Four Critical Needs of Men

Understanding men and the needs of men will help churches implement healthy men’s ministry.

We live in a high-speed culture that will lead us to believe that faster produces better. This relentless pursuit of speed and efficiency has come at a great price. It's like a man who decides to run two miles a day to get in shape. He knows that he can cover two miles if he runs from point A to point B, but the problem is that he finds short cuts along the way. He can trim five minutes off his two-mile run because he's taking these short cuts ... but he's really not running two miles! He may think he's achieving his goal, but he's selling himself short. His health continues to suffer because he's cutting off the necessary mileage that will lead to maximum impact.

Four Critical Needs of Men

Too many times men pursue shortcuts that lead to temporary satisfaction. This pursuit has produced an ideal landscape for the enemy to wreak havoc on men, marriages, and families. Men are simply not fit for the spiritual battle that is raging around them, and the casualty rate on the front is growing at an unprecedented rate.

The key to victory is a vital connection to the church. If the church produces men prepared for battle, it will stand victorious with the King. Those men will stand victorious with that King. God is in the business of transforming shepherd boys into mighty warriors, and He is using His church to do that.

Understanding men and the needs of men will help churches implement healthy men's ministry.

1. Men need to connect

Men need a vital connection to the body of Christ, the church. Churches must find a way to get men involved through experiences that provide the context for authentic relationships with other men. Most men find that their time is primarily spent with other men through the context of work. Sometimes their work environment is healthy and sometimes it's not. The battle against temptation can rage in the workplace with peers. Business trips, workplace issues and social functions can test a man's resolve when his peers and neighbors have lost their moral compass or have no moral compass at all.

A group of men meeting regularly, that do life together can help hold each other accountable. Knowing that another man is a phone call or text away helps give the strength to overcome a potentially bad decision.

The fact that one knows that another man is praying for him can give the support needed to overcome temptation.

2. Men need to be healthy to be leaders

Every man must get on track to become healthy. The process of authentic discipleship and accountability allows men to take inventory of their spiritual, emotional, and physical health allowing God to bring healing and restoration to their heart, mind, soul, and body.

Men want to succeed at work and be respected in the home. Men want to be leaders. It's in a man's DNA to work and get the job done. From the beginning of creation God gave man the gift of work (which ultimately turned to a curse after the fall). During this time God gave man dominion over all the earth. However, we learn quickly that sin neutralized the ability of a man to lead effectively.

When Adam was right with God, his leadership was perfect. When he was separated from God, his leadership was fragmented and diluted.

God gives men the power of the Holy Spirit and the promise of His Word that they can grow and become more like Him. Jesus gives men the ability to become healthy and be the leaders that God intended from the beginning. An intentional process of discipleship that promotes health and gives leadership opportunity to men is invaluable to the church.

3. Men need to be taught leadership

Men need intentional biblical leadership development. They need to be trained by leaders to become leaders. There has to be a process in the church that allows healthy men to learn how to lead. Most churches don't have an effective intentional men's mentorship or leadership coaching program.

If a man is lucky, he can sometimes find a seasoned, godly man who will meet with him on occasion to share an ounce of wisdom born out of his life experience. In professional sports, we see the beauty of the coaching tree. Great coaches who have made it to the top inevitably develop other coaches who get the same opportunities they had. The secret to this is not just the success they have on the field. The reason these coaches become equipped is because of the countless hours of study and preparation that take place off the field under the leadership of a champion. To become a leader you must learn from a leader.

4. Men need to be challenged

Every man needs a mission. Once a man has entered into the spiritual path and process that results in discipleship and leadership development, he must be challenged to serve. As men go through the process of getting healthy and strong, they will understand God's Word and their responsibility associated with it.

It is much like boot camp. All of the challenges each soldier experiences in his training are for the purpose of being a victor in battle. A man that takes this spiritual path will quickly realize that the purpose of the process is not for simply getting through the process. The purpose of this path is to challenge and prepare a man to be victorious in life's spiritual warfare.

Sleeping Giant: intentional men's ministry

Kenny Luck (pastor to men at Saddleback and creator of Everyman Ministries) identified these needs over a decade of helping churches implement intentional men's ministry. Through Sleeping Giant, he provides a process that helps churches get men on a personal intentional spiritual pathway that addresses these needs. This leads me to champion the vision of the local pastor and his need for men who will help implement that vision. The Sleeping Giant process can be implemented by any church through its current discipleship structure (Sunday School and Small Groups). This is done without having to develop a totally different sub-group or ministry effort that competes for the time of men and the attention of the pastor.

The Sleeping Giant process teaches men to follow Jesus Christ and band together to serve Him. In this process, they create more than a ministry; they form a conduit for a powerful movement of God's spirit in men's lives and the church!

In Luke 5:4-7 we find a great example of God working in the lives of men:

" ... He said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.' ‘Master,' Simon replied, ‘we've worked hard all night long and caught nothing! But at Your word, I'll let down the nets.' When they did this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets began to tear. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them; they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink."

In this story, a small group of men were tired, weary, and skeptical when they had an encounter with Jesus Christ. They not only listened to His instructions, but they obeyed them as well. This led to the catch of a lifetime and the beginning of a group of men whom God would use to change the course of time and history. Every church needs men like these. The time is now to implement a process that puts men on the pathway to effective leadership and ministry. The stakes have never been higher.

To join the community of men and churches, we invite you to follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lifewaymen and Twitter at www.twitter.com/lifewaymen. Links to videos, articles, and other resources and events can be found at the Lifeway Men home page.

This article is courtesy of Deacon Magazine.

Jason Ellerbrook is the director of Adult Training and Events | LifeWay Men at LifeWay Christian Resources.
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