In part one of “Getting Guys”
we said some of the hooks for attracting and discipling young men include a ministry that features danger, fun, challenge, greatness, brotherhood and mentoring.
So how do we go from theory to practice? How do we implement these qualities in our own unique church/ministry setting?
Below are listed a few guidelines, followed by concrete ideas that you can start with right away.
1- Be unique. Each ministry is unique. God has blessed you and your ministry with exactly what you need as far as people and resources to accomplish what He wants. What this means is, don’t spend too much time looking around at what other groups are doing. Spend more time looking to Him in prayer. He will show you both direction and resources. Be patient, pray deeply.
2- Get a team. Kids, adults, a sympathetic dog–whoever you can find to help you pray and consider how to implement guy things into your ministry. Obviously you want to grab a few guys for their input. But this can sometimes be a frustrating process, because most guys are not thinking along those lines. If you can get a few men, great–they’re just bigger boys. Use the reflection questions from part one to do some brainstorming.
3- Short term commitment. Ask your team to commit for a weekend retreat, three meetings, twice a month for two months or whatever you think will get the ball rolling, but give a definite end time. If it’s a good team and you work well together, you can agree to continue meeting when you reach the end of your original commitment.
4- Share the ownership. Get guys involved as quickly as possible in the process. They’ll be great champions for ideas they own. See yourself as coach, cheerleader, mentor and “process steerer” more than leader.
Some of these might not work in your context or situation. Some might not be bold enough. Some you can implement right away, others will take some preparation and deeper planning. They’re meant to give you an idea of “what could be,” so tweak appropriately to make them fit your ministry situation.
Also, keep the ladies in mind as you come up with ideas to make sure they’re not totally excluded. Generally, if your ministry is interesting to guys, it will be to girls as well. But make sure you ask the “How will this fly with the girls?” question from time to time in your planning.
Ideas to make worship…
1- Foreign worship- Take your group to worship at churches of different cultures. If you’re pretty much an all white church, go to an all black service. Let your group experience how Hispanic Catholics see God, how first generation Asians worship in their native language or what worship in an urban mega church or small country church looks like.
2- Blind worship- Blindfold the guys and assign someone to guide them for the Sunday morning experience. Debrief them afterwards and ask them what they noticed differently about worship. Ask the guides what it was like to have to watch over someone and help them with the experience.
3- Drag a friend to church- Have everyone bring an unchurched friend to worship. Go to lunch afterwards and debrief the experience with the friends. Plan ahead some interview questions about how they, as outsiders, perceived coming to your church.
1- Sermon cartoon strip- During the sermon, have your guys draw the sermon as a cartoon strip. It can be simple or elaborate, but no words. Afterwards have them share their creations, highlighting the major
points of the sermon.
2- Surprise the worship team- Bring refreshments for the worship team. Grab coffee or treats for the pastor, music people and anyone else who usually show up early to set up for church.
3- Go high tech. Offer to do a movie version of the Scripture readings, announcements or even prayer to be played during the service.
1- Greet & meet challenge- Tell your group they need to greet and meet three people they don’t know and find out one interesting fact about each one. Give them little pieces of paper to write down the names of the people they meet and the facts. Encourage them to do this a few weeks in a row or maybe the same week once a month.
2- Prayer challenge- Show up early to pray for/with the pastor and those leading the service.
3- Sermon application challenge- Challenge your guys to take sermon notes and think of how the Word they hear on Sunday can apply to their lives during the week. Provide the sermon notes sheets with a few starter questions and an application challenge at the bottom, such as, “One thing from today’s worship I feel the Holy Spirit is saying to me right now is…”
Appeal to Greatness-
1- Great service- Get guys to commit to serve before, during or after service in an appropriate capacity. A lot of churches leave this to the adults, but offer a “youth month of service” or ask the older folks to mentor some of the youth as readers, ushers, greeters and the like.
2- Great goals- Challenge guys to set goals and keep track. How do they feel the Lord is leading them to grow in the area of worship this year in attendance, participation, serving, leading etc.? Have them write their goals down and then send them progress checks during the year. Highlight and encourage any progress publicly.
3- Great movements- Have your team design a movement plan. This is simply looking over who’s involved in your group and asking, “What opportunities are there for this guy to move forward in worship participation and how can we encourage him?” the goal is to make sure you have opportunities and appropriate invitations for non-attenders to attend regularly, for regular attenders to become participators, for participators to become leaders.
1- Check in prayer- Have guys meet for five minutes before or after worship to check in and pray for each other on a weekly basis. This encourages them to be regular in worship and keeps them connected in a simple but significant way.
2- Tag team message- Work with three guys and the pastor to deliver a “tag team” message. Ask the pastor to design it so that each guy presents a brief portion of the message. This is a great hands-on opportunity for the pastor to share how he goes about preparing a message.
3- Team service- Get your guys to serve in worship as teams of two or three. Whether it’s setting up or cleaning up, ushering, music or whatever ways fit your worship, get them to serve in teams to encourage one another and hold each other accountable.
Ideas to make Bible study…
1- Go onsite. If the passage is about the disciples catching fish, hook up with a local fisherman and hit the beach. If it’s about Satan tempting Jesus at the top of the world, take a hike to the highest point around. Retell the manger story in an old barn with real smells and real animals. You get the idea.
2- Deep sharing and application questions- Sometimes dangerous is simply allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Guys want to share their deep thoughts and feelings, too. Don’t be afraid to include deeper questions like, “What sin is weighing you down right now?” or “What destructive habit do you feel God leading you to address in your life this week?” The Gospel says that no matter how bad the sin, how deep the pain, how destructive the behavior, Jesus Christ has given, is giving and will ultimately give us total victory through His life, death and resurrection. Allowing guys to bring their shortcomings, failure, hurts and fears in the context of God’s Word helps them to understand and appreciate the Gospel that much more.
3- Going public- Hold Bible study in a public place, like a coffee shop, restaurant or local hangout. Stick a “Free Prayer” sign in the middle of the table and see what kind of interaction you get from people.
1- Tag team- Have three or four guys present the Bible story or lesson as a team, each guy getting to speak for only 10 seconds. They get to read the passage and have one minute to figure out who says what, then they’re on. The point isn’t to get it perfectly straight but to get them to process and then share under pressure.
2- Sculpture Messages- Give each person random art objects. As you walk through the study, have them create an art piece that represents the point of the study. They can either create individual pieces or work together in small groups or one large group.
3- Fill in story- Read the passage “Mad Lib” style. Make two photocopies of the passage, then white out a number of adjectives, verbs and nouns on one of the copies. Ask students for random adjectives, verbs and nouns and write them in as they call them out. Then have one of the guys read the passage. Next, read the passage again, asking the group if they can guess the correct words for each of the ones you blanked out.
1- Life Issues- Do a “Challenging Life Issues” study and go right after the topics we are most uncomfortable talking about. Include guys in picking the topics and figuring out how God’s Word applies in each topic. Get your students to do the research and help design the discussion format.
2- The Great Debate- Similar to #1, take tough topics and assign one side of an issue to a team and the other side to another. You can give them a week to prepare or set it all up for one meeting. Have students
help design the “rules” of the debate and how to score it.
3- True or False?- Present a number of sayings that our society and culture accepts and challenge guys to spot the untruth and explain why. See if they can come up with ones they hear a lot at school or among their peers, then challenge them to research Scripture for doctrinal guidance.
Appeal to Greatness-
1- Great teaching opportunities- Ahead of the Bible study time, ask one of the guys to read the passage and explain it in his own words during the study. Before anyone opens their Bible, ask the guy to share and answer any questions anyone has. If he forgets something, or is wrong about something, invite someone from the group to share. Thank him for his willingness to risk, then have the group open their Bibles and look over the passage together. This works best with Bible stories and narratives.
2- Great in God’s eyes- Do a Bible study series on what it means to be great in the eyes of God. Focus on different Bible “heroes” and why we consider them great. Spend some time looking at what Jesus said about being great and how that applies in the context of their lives as His people.
3- Celebrate greatness- Set up a system of recognizing and rewarding Biblical greatness. Young men are already surrounded by the race for greatness in the eyes of the world and usually the recognition and rewards are apparent. What about God’s view of greatness? Did someone serve in a great way, show great faith, love in a great way? What’s an appropriate way to celebrate that with your young men?
1- Bulls in the ring- In football, we’d make a circle and stick one guy in the middle. The coach would call out a number and that guy would run full speed and hit the guy in the middle trying to knock him down. This version is more spiritual than physical. At the end of Bible study, pick two or three guys to face the group. Everyone else can ask any question about the study, the Bible passage or how it should apply to life and the guys need to come up with an acceptable answer. If they don’t, they stay in the middle. If they do, pick another team.
2- Discipleship triads- Meet with three guys for Bible study once a week for six to nine months. Ask them to read Scripture each week and come prepared to discuss it. The core of your time will be in each person
answering three questions: “What do you think God is saying to you in this passage?” “How do you think God is leading you to respond to what you have read?” “How can we pray for you?”
3- Team leadership- Work with a team of two to three guys to design and lead a Bible study. Walk them through each of the steps you take in picking, designing and writing the study. Once you have modeled it for them, challenge them to do it on their own.
Want some more ideas in the area of activities, serving, outreach and missions? Do you have something you’ve done that someone else would benefit from? Share them in the comments below to help us all in our common challenge of getting guys to come and follow Jesus.
Published September 2013