Our world is in trouble. Crime rates continue to rise; abortion is a method of birth control. Homosexuality is an alternate life style; adultery is a common occurrence. People are living life without moral direction. Jesus saw the people of His day as lost sheep and felt compassion for them because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd. Turning to His disciples, He said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into the harvest field” (Matthew 9:37-38). Workers were scarce in Christ’s day; they are scarce in our day.
This discipleship training manual was created to provide the local church with a process for developing men into mature disciples of Jesus Christ so they can labor in the harvest field of men’s souls. It is designed to be systematic yet reliant on the Holy Spirit. Our vision is to see every man we influence make a commitment to serve God at home, at work, and in the church.
Ministries that serve God contain certain common qualities and traits. These common qualities and traits provide a model that godly men can use to help build up their local church and see lives changed for the glory of God. The three main elements of effective ministry are:
Deepen a man’s relationship with God – Matthew 22:37-38
Develop a man’s relationship with men – Matthew 22:39-40
Disciple a man’s life for service – Matthew 28:18-20
Twenty years ago, my mentor challenged me to a life of discipleship. He invested countless hours helping me grow in my relationship with God by teaching me principles for kingdom living and training me in the basics of the Christian life. I find myself going back to those early lessons and am amazed at the continued relevance it has for impacting lives. The application has changed slightly, but the principles remain the same.
This manual focuses on three critical areas for making disciples: becoming a new man in Christ, developing godly character, and freeing people held captive by the world, the flesh, and the devil. Each area contains ten training modules. Each module includes objectives, a companion Bible study, tips for mentoring the disciple, and methods for evaluating effectiveness. It is intended to be a resource for local church leaders who want to develop men into mature disciples. It is not exhaustive by any means.
The purpose of this manual is to provide the local church with a basic process for making disciples out of men. God is in the business of changing lives, and He uses men to accomplish this. I thank Him for this blessing every day.
Form Your Team A few years back I was leading a Bible study with three men. To stimulate their thinking, I asked this question: “If you had three months to live, what would you do with your life?” The first individual to speak was single. He said, “I would give away all my possessions and use the money in my bank account to fly to the deepest jungle in India to share the gospel with an un-reached people group.” The second man was married and had a family. He said, “I would do two things. First, I would ensure my home is in order and my immediate family taken care of. Then, I would sit down and list all my family members who were not saved and create a plan to share the gospel with each one of them.” The third man, who was also married, said “I would move my mother-in-law into my home.” Stunned by his answer, I asked “Why would you do that?” He replied, “Because that would be the longest three months of my life.”
Granted, this story brings a chuckle. But there is a truth to the question and wisdom in the answers. Suppose you had three years to live, what would you do with your remaining time? Jesus faced the same question. He knew His time on earth was limited. So, what did He do? To find the answer to that question, we need to take a look at the Gospel of John.
In John 1, we find John the Baptist giving the first real testimony of who Jesus is. The next day, two of John’s disciples decided to follow Jesus. Seeing them follow Him, Jesus asked them, “What do you want?” They replied by asking, “Where are you staying?” Jesus begins His ministry with a few simple but powerful words, “Come and you will see.”
Andrew went to Simon his brother and claimed to have found the Messiah. He then brought him to Jesus. The next day Jesus found Phillip and said to him, “Follow me.” Phillip then found Nathaniel and told him about Jesus. Nathaniel reacted with disbelief. Phillip’s answer to Nathaniel is a classic case of mentoring and discipleship. He said, “Come and see.”
While the principles for ministry in this chapter are numerous, I want to point out the importance of finding like-minded men who are seeking truth and desire to make an impact in the world. After meeting Christ and finding out He is the Messiah, they shared this truth with their friends and family. Sharing a personal testimony and living an exemplary life still bear the greatest fruit in showing men how to follow Christ.
Exercise Principles of Teamwork
Teamwork has been a matter of concern to organizations and groups of people throughout history. In recent years, interest by leaders to get as much out of their teams as possible has fostered all sorts of experiments and testing of new methodologies. The world wants to maximize the effort produced by its work force so it can accomplish more work in the marketplace and thereby gain or maintain its economic welfare. Christian organizations should expend effort at maximizing its work as well. The focus of a men’s ministry is to produce lasting fruit and make an eternal impact in the harvest fields of the earth.
There are three key areas of interest for a men’s ministry leader as he seeks to build a ministry: understand the roles and functions of team personnel, cultivate a relationship process whereby men develop a brotherhood with other men, and focus on a clear purpose as a ministry to men. Each area should facilitate a process for building stronger male relationships. Throughout these areas, it is critical to build deeper interaction.
Establish Team Roles
Teams are groups of people. All groups of people banding together have a need for direction, motivation, and guidance. Christian men, who want to make a difference in their community, require them as well. Leadership, teamwork, and partnering serve to create a team. If a ministry applies the principles for each area, it is more likely to be effective in achieving the overall mission purpose. Creating a solid team will achieve more than merely creating followers. Jesus and His small band of men transformed their society and changed the course of history.
Direction: They focus team activities and behaviors on desired common outcomes
Motivation: They encourage appropriate team effort to accomplish desired outcomes
Guidance: They provide information that improves the ability of a team to accomplish the desired outcomes
Service: They serve people in an effort to achieve desired outcomes
Men’s Ministry leaders operate using two basic strategies:
Use what exists and make things work to the best possible scenario by:
Giving direction through clear goals and specific objectives
- Demonstrating respect for pastors and ministry leaders
- Keeping his word and commitments
- Operating without hidden agendas
Share participation by:
Reaching out to those in need and providing for their welfare
Contributing ideas and making men’s ministry suggestions
Involving other men as much as possible
Here are suggested steps to create a ministry team.
Pray, pray, and pray some more. Ask several men if they would like to meet and pray for men (Luke 6:12-13; Matthew 18:19).
Fish for men. Make contacts through evangelism, Bible studies, prayer meetings, worship, conferences, cell groups, and fellowship meetings. Share your passion for men’s ministry and love for God’s Word. Look for men who respond with a kindred spirit (Mark 3:13).
Challenge each man to give his life to an objective that is realistic and attainable yet big enough and exciting enough to warrant giving his whole life to it.
Build the team through joint activities: men’s breakfasts, prayer meetings, Bible studies, evangelism, work projects, recreation, fellowship, worship, cell groups, and conferences.
Develop the team as a unit while maintaining personal man-to-man training and fellowship.
Use each event as an opportunity to meet new men and grow the team. Pair up key men so they are meeting with other men for mutual accountability, encouragement, and growth.
Focus all activities and events so they fulfill the mission, vision, and guiding principles of a Christ centered men’s ministry.
Involve the pastor in as many activities and ministries as his time will allow.
Pastors have a dual role. In addition to providing all the functions of a shepherd, they also partner with ministry leaders and other church ministries.
Pastors help church ministries by:
Maintaining a spirit of openness so ministry team members and ministry leaders can openly share opinions, ideas, and information
Demonstrating respect for others so that all ideas are considered fairly, and so that differences between ministries do not become sources of conflict or suspicion
Ensuring all ministries act responsibly and contribute fully to the work of church ministry
Ensuring each ministry contributes to the overall mission of the church