I’ve always loved men’s ministry. From the time I was about 9 years old, my father always took me to the monthly men’s breakfast at our church. It was way different from “Sunday School” or “church”. Men working in the kitchen, a hearty meal, and then someone from out of town would share a few words. It was kind of like an indoor camping trip.
As I got older, I began to be burdened for men’s ministry. I couldn’t see any fruit. Monthly breakfast after monthly breakfast. Not only were there no chips flying – we weren’t even swinging the axe!
I set out to change that. I got this idea for a skeet shoot. Men like to blow things up. Men like to be outdoors where they can smoke, chew tobacco, and pass gas. This will be GREAT!
I went to my church with a flyer and asked permission to post them above the urinals. They thought it was a bad idea. First, the idea of serious communication in the restroom wasn’t on their radar and was somehow “dirty”. Second, this event did not have the “official” blessings of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Undeterred, I printed up some business cards. They were that safety orange color that smacked of masculinity. I handed some out – very discreetly – at church. The day for the event came. It hadn’t rained in weeks, but it made up for it that day. My plans were being washed away with the deluge. I went to the farm where the skeet shoot was to be held. Three things happened to my amazement:
- about 75 people actually showed up
- my phone was ringing constantly asking when the event would be rescheduled
- it stopped raining
We had a GREAT time. Men from many area churches showed up. I had no idea how they found out about it. Unchurched men showed up. WOW – we’re on to something! A leadership committee was formed to organize future skeet shoots. We met weekly. At the next event, attendance DOUBLED! More meetings. We arranged for a life flight helicopter to land at the event. Dog training demonstrations. Arm wrestling competition. Chain saw demonstrations. Food – lots of it. Hayrides for the kids. Are you getting the picture? TESTOSTERONE! I don’t know how many attended, but I’m gonna guess near 500!
More meetings. We set aside time for a speaker to do a short sermon after the meal. We arranged for an offering to help defray costs. We set up “greeters” so mingle and hand out tracts.
The next event was well attended, but the excitement just wasn’t the same.
The event after that was even less attended. Specifically, no unchurched men showed up. The decline continued.
Well, everything was fine until we “churchified” it. I’m sorry – I truly am. I wish I could give you a better report. But we had no choice. To get the churches on board (you know, with the money), we had to give them something. They wouldn’t support a skeet shoot, but they would support an outdoor “church” event.
I won’t devote any more words to how we have feminized church. Maybe in another episode. My heart grieves and I hope that by sharing it, somehow the message will get out that we’re failing to reach men. In fact, we’re pretty much driving them off.
But there was something else wrong. Not institutional. Personal. Folks, those skeet shoots were the zenith of my personal “men’s ministry”. Today they lay in ruins. They went down in flames.
Here’s the problem. No, my problem. I set out to do great things for the Lord. I actually got off to a good start. My plan was working. My plan. Not God’s. You see, God never asked me to do any of this. I just thought it was a good idea and asked God to bless me in my good works. I’ve learned from my mistakes. I hope you’ll learn from them too.
That’s what I think. I’m interested in your thoughts. There’s lots of ways to hit me up so let me hear from you.
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